How Do I Treat My Peeling Nails?

Tips for Caring for Your Nails

Nails on hands
Creative RF/RunPhoto/GettyImages


I have read your article on nail peeling and how to resolve the issue. I can promise you that I have tried all that you have suggested and truly take care of my nails. This has not stopped the peeling process.

My toe nails have never had this problem and my hair and bones are healthy, so I am baffled by my nails. I have tried many topical treatments that have promised miracles and have even tried drinking Knox gelatin daily as one person recommended.

So far my nails are still peeling.

I have to constantly keep a top coat or strengthener on them so that they don't catch on things or get too thin. Advice?

Rachel - ID


Hi Rachel, thanks for the question. I'm sorry you are having such issues with your nails. Seeing it's not affecting your toe nails, I'd likely assume it's not a dietary issue, although if you think it might be, a trip to your doctor for some blood work would be a good place to start.

If everything is fine health wise, it is important to ask some questions — How often your hands are in water? How often are you using chemicals or cleaning products? What exactly is getting used on your hands and how often? Sometimes we don't think about how the things we do every day and the products we use affect our nails. If you're frequently submerging your hands in water for whatever reason (washing dishes, work related responsibilities, etc.) then I would suggest wearing gloves starting today!

It's not ideal, but it really is the best way to keep your hands and nails healthy. Also, cleaning supplies contain chemicals and can immediately dry out your nails and hands, so be aware of that, and protect your nails when you use these products. Wear gloves when you clean your home, too.

I would suggest you buff your nails on a regular basis so that they won't peel as easily.

I love the 4-in-1 nail buffers, and I actually just found a 7-in-1 at the Dollar Store that works just fine!

Lastly, I know you said you're using a topical treatment and hardener. Are you using one specifically for peeling nails? If not, definitely look into changing your polish. The ones for sensitive and peeling nails contain more soothing, less harsh ingredients that may just help solve your problem. And be sure to take off the polish once a week for a day to give your nails a chance to breath.

Here are a couple of options that you might want to try:

And I always recommend using a little bit of oil on the nail beds. You can use nail/cuticle oilolive oil or whatever oil you have in your kitchen. Just a dab on each nail, rubbed in, will give your nails nourishment and hydration. If they're brittle and dry, this will do wonders!

Lastly, I'm sorry you're going through this. It's hard when your nails don't look nice and strong. (I have a nail that always breaks way down in the nail bed, no matter what! I always think the break will be the last break, but it breaks again.) In your search for healthy looking nails, please don't turn to acrylics or gel nails to fake the healthy look because this will turn your already damaged nails into even more of a disaster.

Also, once again don't be afraid to contact your doctor as well. A quick blood test might give you all the answers you need. Sometimes these issues are simply a problem with a mineral deficiency, and knowing that would make the problem easy to fix.  Good luck!

Updated by Hanah Tetro