How to stop fingernails from peeling

Written by lynn burbeck
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How to stop fingernails from peeling
A woman filing her nails (fingernail filing image by Jaroslav Machacek from

When fingernails are not well taken care of, they can begin to peel or become brittle and cracked. While these conditions can make your fingernails look unsightly, they are generally easy to fix. The key is to begin pampering your fingernails and to keep them protected from harsh conditions so they can heal and strengthen properly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hand moisturiser
  • Rubber gloves
  • Olive oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Vegetable oil

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  1. 1

    Apply a thick moisturising lotion several times a day to rehydrate your nails. Take care to massage the lotion into each fingernail and cuticle.

  2. 2

    Protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves each time you wash dishes or do other types of housework that will expose your hands and fingernails to chemicals or moisture. Repeatedly wetting and drying your nails removes the laminate finish on the nail's surface and can cause them to peel.

  3. 3

    Apply olive oil or petroleum jelly liberally to each fingernail and cuticle prior to bathing. The warm water will help your fingernails absorb moisture and remove excess skin from around the nail bed.

  4. 4

    Keep your fingernails unpolished at least a few days per week so they have a chance to breathe. If you do wear nail polish, opt for a natural nail polish remover that is more gentle than traditional chemical polish removers. These can typically be found in the health and beauty section of natural food stores, in cosmetic stores or online.

Tips and warnings

  • Peeling nails can also result from a lack of linoleic acid in the diet. To increase your dietary intake, add vegetable oils to salads or cooked vegetables.

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