Cracked. Peeling. Brittle. If any of these words describe your current nail sitch, then you need to read on! We’re digging into the top 6 causes of nail peeling, so you can get your nails healthy, strong, and nail-wrap-ready!
1. Excessive hand washing
Ok, let’s start with the obvious. Peeling nails are often caused by too much moisture or too little moisture. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic so excessive hand washing is unavoidable. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage!
If you’re repeatedly wetting and drying your hands, make sure you’re moisturizing after and massaging your hand lotion directly into your nails with care – bonus points if the formula contains Lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids which are star ingredients for skin renewal and nail health. Cuticle oil can also help keep your nail beds healthy and can prevent those pesky hangnails!
2. Hand-washing dishes & household chores
If you find yourself washing dishes by hand, one of the easiest things you can do to prevent nail damage is to wear protective gloves! When nails are submerged in water for long periods, they become soft and pliable resulting in peeling and “bendable” nails later on.
You’ll also want to wear gloves to reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals and detergents in your soaps and cleaning solutions that may irritate your skin and prolong damage. Lastly, don’t use your nails as tools! Tasks such as opening soda cans, picking off price tags, and opening jars should be avoided at all costs!
3. Overdoing gel manicures
Are you gel-obsessed? While gel polishes provide instant gratification by drying on-demand and never chipping, the removal process is far from pleasant on your nails. The arduous in-salon process involves soaking your nails in a chemical-laden nail polish remover that can irritate and weaken your nail bed.
If you can’t make it into a salon for removal, chances are you’ll end up picking off your polish at home and causing further damage! Try pressing pause on gel manicures for at least a month and see if your nails improve – in the meantime check out our healthy & safe nail wraps to satisfy your need for a dreamy mani!
4. Filing your nails wrong
Filing your nails too aggressively or in multiple directions can cause major splitting. Make sure you are using gentle movements in one direction only and never buff back and forth! This slight adjustment will result in healthier nails in no time!
5. Vitamin deficiencies
Certain vitamin deficiencies such as Vitamin B7 (more commonly known as its water-soluble form Biotin) and Iron can also cause brittle nails. Research has shown that when taken orally Biotin can prevent nail peeling and nail damage when taken at the recommended dose of 2.5 milligrams daily.
Brittle nails can also be a symptom of iron deficiency so it’s important to regularly get your blood checked if you think this might be a potential cause. To combat these deficiencies, make sure you’re consuming lots of iron-and biotin-rich foods like spinach, lentils, avocado, cauliflower, and eggs.
Aging is inevitable and plays a critical role in the appearance and health of nails. Clinical studies, like this one by Canadian Family Physician, have shown that older people have an increased rate of nail changes including peeling nails, brittle nails, and nail fungus.
While you can’t turn back the clock, you can focus on prevention by wearing protective gloves, moisturizing your hands often, and eating a nutrient-rich diet that promotes collagen production and provides enough iron for optimal hair and nail health.
If you’re suffering from peeling nails, know you’re not alone! According to Harvard Medical School, 27% of women have brittle nails, medically defined as onychoschizia. The great news is that brittle nails are often caused by certain lifestyle factors and are not a major indicator of serious underlying health concerns. If your nails do not improve over time and with proper care, a trip to your dermatologist can always point a pretty finger in the right direction!
You can also check out our blog post on how to strengthen brittle nails for more information on keeping your nails in tip-top shape!