One of the first things people notice about you is your fingernails.
If you want to make a good first impression, you need to keep your nails in good health and moisturize them regularly.
But it can be a struggle to keep your nails healthy when they’re dry, cracked, and peeling.
When you have peeling fingernails, there’s a lot you need to keep in mind to avoid doing further damage to them and allow them to heal faster.
It’s best to avoid wearing nail polish for at least a couple of weeks until your nails are healthy again.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some causes of peeling fingernails, at-home remedies you can try to repair them, and preventive measures you can take to avoid damaging your nails in the first place.
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Causes Of Peeling Fingernails
Peeling fingernails are usually caused by external trauma to your nails, but they can also be attributed to a systemic condition or a sign of a pathological process that’s occurring inside your body.
Since it takes about 6 months for your fingernails to grow fully, you can experience nail abnormalities months after any damage was done.
Prolonged exposure to water is one of the most common causes of peeling as water can dry out your nails.
Some other causes may include:
- Engaging in activities that are harsh on your nails
- Peeling or picking your nail polish
- Overusing your nails
- Using false or acrylic nails
If you can’t pinpoint the cause of your peeling fingernails, one thing you can do is to try and compare your fingernails with your toenails.
If only your fingernails are peeling, then it’s a sign of external trauma, but if both your toenails and fingernails are peeling, this can indicate an internal cause, such as a vitamin or iron deficiency.
Home Remedies To Treat Peeling Fingernails
Wondering how to treat your peeling fingernails? Home remedies can help.
Let’s take a look at four things you need to do at home to fix your dry and peeling fingernails.
1. Use Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover
First and foremost, if you’re wearing nail polish, avoid using a regular nail polish remover.
Instead, opt for an acetone-free nail polish remover that you may find at any drugstore.
Take a break from applying any more nail polish and let them heal for a few weeks.
Acetone can dry out your cuticles, which is why it’s best to avoid it and prevent further damage to your nails.
Try not to peel any nail polish from your fingernails as you’ll end up stripping away a layer of your nails in the process.
Be very careful when you’re applying the nail polish remover and make sure you’re rubbing each nail very gently with cotton balls until the polish is removed.
Apply a moisturizer afterwards to rehydrate your nails.
2. Soak Your Nails In Warm Olive Oil
Another effective remedy you can try to treat your peeling nails at home is to soak them in warm extra virgin olive oil for around 10 to 15 minutes every day for at least a month.
This will moisturize your nails and cuticles and heat will help speed up the absorption. Carefully massage the oil into and around the nails and cuticles until it’s fully absorbed.
After a month has passed, you can limit this activity to twice a week.
Oils are more effective than creams as they can seep into the nail bed and lock in the moisture a lot longer than gels and creams.
3. Apply Cuticle Cream
You can also consider applying a cuticle cream to nourish peeling nails and dry cuticles.
Massage the cream into your nails and cuticles every night before going to bed.
Cuticles are prone to drying out from excessive hand washing, so you need to give them extra protection or they’ll crack and split and increase your risk of nail infection.
Preventing Peeling Nails
There are many preventive measures you can take to avoid peeling fingernails. Here are a few:
- If you’re in the habit of wearing false nails, you should be extremely gentle when you’re removing your nail coatings and avoid pulling or scraping them.
- Take proper care of your nails by filing them into a rounded shape. If there are any sharp points on the sides or tips of your nails, they’ll be more likely to break and split.
- Regularly buffing your fingernails can also make them look healthy, but you must make sure you’re buffing them in one direction only. If you use a back-and-forth buffing motion, you’ll end up thinning your nail plate and increase the chances of peeling.
- Since exposure to moisture can cause peeling nails, you should wear gloves when you’re doing household chores like washing the dishes, gardening, and cleaning. Cleansing agents and detergents can be very harsh on your nails and cause them to split or dry out. Gardening can also be quite damaging for your nails.
- Another way you can protect your nails is by applying a thick coat of clear nail polish, preferably one with nylon fibers, as they can help strengthen damaged nails.
- It’s also advisable to avoid using your fingernails as tools to open jars or pick up items as that can weaken them. You should try using the pads of your fingers instead.
Since prevention is better than cure, you should take proper care of your nails, keep them moisturized, avoid overusing them as much as possible, and wear gloves when you’re doing household chores.
It’s also recommended to wash your hands with a mild cleanser that will not only sanitize your hands, but also lock in the moisture.
If it’s too late, and the damage has been done, try the abovementioned home remedies to treat and repair your dry and peeling nails.
But if your nails are starting to bleed, it’s advisable to consult a doctor to identify the cause of your peeling fingernails and find a more effective treatment.
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