Reasons for split nails

Written by tonya yirka
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Reasons for split nails
Healthy nails reflect a healthy body. (affection image by Lars Christensen from

Found on toes and fingers, the nail composes the exposed portion of a keratin-based body that projects out from a root. This root is covered by the nail fold, and the nail itself extends out on a nail bed. Abnormalities such as thickening, discolouration, ridges, grooves, beading, curved ends, unusual shape, lines, softness, shininess, cracking, peeling, and splitting indicate various health issues. Splitting nails have many causes.

Nutritional Deficiency

Lack of vitamins A and B and calcium deficiencies all contribute to brittle, splitting nails.

<p> "See References 1" claims that split ends, along with pitted red spots and frayed ends, indicate psoriasis, a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin C, and protein.

Damaged Nail Bed

The nail bed lies under the nail and contains the nerves, blood vessels, and melanin-producing cells. For normal nail growth, the nail bed must be smooth; otherwise, the nail may split and continue to split. One solution is to keep the nails short.


Extensive or frequent exposure to water causes the nail to swell and then shrink when dry, resulting in brittle nails that split easily.

Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D of the Mayo Clinic "See References 2" suggests keeping nails dry by using gloves that are cotton lined when cleaning or washing dishes. He also advises against long soaking of nails.

Poor Hygiene

Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. "See References 2" also recommends keeping nails trimmed in a gentle curve with rounded tips. Use moisturising lotion after removing nail polish and washing hands.

<p> "See References 1" recommends occasionally soaking fingertips in heated almond oil for about 15 minutes.

Harsh Nail Care Products

Harsh nail-care products such as those used in a beauty salon can result in split nails.

Limit the use of nail polish remover and do not use any nail polish remover containing acetone. Keep manicures to a minimum, and between appointments, touch up the nail polish rather than remove it.


Brittle nails, or onychorrhexis, often manifests as the nail splitting vertically. This condition can be hereditary, and Hooked on Nails "See References 2" suggests using paraffin or oil treatments to rehydrate the nail plate; they also advise contacting a doctor to check for disease.


Harsh chemicals such as commercial solvents and household cleaning solutions can produce nails that split. Again, using cotton-lined gloves for these projects is recommended.

Detergents and Soaps

Frequent and prolonged use of detergents and soaps dries out nails, causing them to split.

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