Prevent Your Nails From Peeling With These Tips

Nails are more than just a pretty surface for painting. In fact, they can be a key indicator of your overall health. Brittle nails are a common problem faced by over 27% of women, according to Healthline. One particular side effect of brittle nails is peeling. Repeated washing and drying, nail polish remover, household cleaners, age, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, and more can cause brittle nails.

However, there are two types of brittle nails: soft and brittle or hard and brittle. Soft and brittle nails have too much more moisture, whereas hard and brittle nails lack moisture. Soft and brittle nails break off easily and start peeling once the layers of the nail plate dry out, according to LeChat Nails educator Anastasia Totty (via Byrdie). Hard and brittle nails are often caused by nails becoming dried out due to frequent washing and drying or chemicals.

Trauma such as picking at your nails, picking off polish, or ripping off acrylic nails can also be the cause of your nails peeling. Ensure you check your toenails as well before deciding the cause of your brittle, peeling nails. If your toenails are also peeling, without the same exposure as your fingernails, it could be a sign of something more serious happening internally. Peeling nails is not a condition we should aim to treat, but rather prevent. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to ensure your nails never get brittle enough to peel.

Take a multivitamin

While you can attempt to eat nutrient-dense foods full of iron and biotin to help nail strength, we understand that somedays this can seem impossible. To supplement, taking a multivitamin can improve overall nail health. These will work together with your food to keep your body functioning in tip-top shape. Vitamins and minerals like B12, C, biotin, folate, iron, and zinc will improve overall nail health, per Struthealth. If you are looking to also improve the shine of both your hair and nails, fish oils and collagen are great options.

Get fewer manicures

While seemingly tragic, fewer manicures can be the key to preventing nail peeling. Manicures dry out the nail bed with harsh chemicals, whereas leaving the nails natural allows them to breathe and cells to regenerate faster. We know cutting off manicures cold turkey can be a big change for some. If you choose to still get manicures, take longer breaks between them, and be sure to apply moisturizing products to your nails and cuticles often (via the American Academy of Dermatology Association).

Soak nails in essential oils

Speaking to Byrdie, Michelle Green, M.D., recommends massaging essential oils, such as coconut or olive oil, into the nails to form a protective barrier and enhance your hydration. This hydration is not only great for preventing dryness; it also provides antioxidants to help protect the nails and improve overall nail health. Simply soaking your nails in olive oil can provide them with a dose of vitamin E, omega-3s, and more, too.

Buff rough edges

One form of nail trauma that can cause your nails to peel comes from having rough nail edges that easily get caught on fabrics. If your nails get caught on fabric and rip, it can cause an uneven nail surface, which can lead to even more peeling. However, buffing your nails will smooth down the surface. To buff your nails, you should use a four-sided buffer and hold the buffing side parallel to your nails while working it across the surface in an "X" shape (via Naio Nails). Don't buff side to side, as this can worsen the peeling.

Avoid biting your nails

One of the most common forms of nail trauma is actually caused by ourselves rather than outside factors. Your mother probably told you to quit, but you just couldn't resist. You guessed it: Biting your nails is one of the most common reasons your nails may peel. Nail biting doesn't directly cause pilling, but it can cause hangnails that ultimately rip off and leave half-peeled nails. Overall, nail biting is a nasty habit that can cause infection, spread germs, and even harm your teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you quit, however, your nails can heal and become healthier.