How to cure soft peeling nails

Updated November 21, 2016

The condition and appearance of nails are not only a part of grooming and beauty, but also a sign of your overall health. Soft and peeling nails can be caused by environmental factors, a side effect of medication or even an underlying medical condition. Find out what's behind your problem and treat it before it causes any more trouble. Curing soft and peeling nails involves supporting and fortifying nail health from the inside and out.

Have a full physical examination by your primary care physician. Make sure to tell your doctor about your nails and that they are peeling and soft. Discuss possible underlying medical conditions which would cause such symptoms. Mention any medication you're taking to determine if soft, peeling nails is a known and common side effect of any medicines you routinely take.

Wear rubber gloves when you do housework or expose your nails to chemicals or water. Having your hands submerged in water for extended periods of time will soften your nails and make them peel. Wear protective gloves when washing dishes, washing a car, washing the dog or even gardening. Use gloves when cleaning to protect your nails from chemicals that could compromise nail strength and cause bending after repeated exposure.

Keep your nails filed down to a manageable length, extending just a quarter-inch over the end of your fingertip. Make sure edges are rounded and smooth. Apply nail strengthener or a clear top coat in a nail-strengthening formula containing gelatin to help improve nail strength and health. Reapply the polish every two to three days or according to the manufacturer's directions for application and use.

Take vitamins known to help improve nail health and strength. In addition to a daily multivitamin, take vitamins such as biotin and Vitamins A, B and D. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water per day and eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit and protein, all of which will help your nails get stronger.


Avoid having acrylic nails put on until your nails have got healthier and you have determined a medical condition is not the cause of soft and peeling nails.


Use caution when trimming, filing or cutting nails, especially if your nails are soft and peeling due to chemotherapy as you must protect yourself against infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail file
  • Clear-coat nail polish
  • Rubber gloves
  • Biotin and other vitamins
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author