What Causes Your Nails To Split - And How Can You Prevent It?

Manicures and nail art are a pretty common form of self-care, and that's amazing. A fresh set of nails can make you feel better almost instantly. You can change them up however much you want, in frequency and design. Nothing is off the table, from the most minimalistic designs to bringing the cluttercore trend to your nails if you're super creative.

Nail health, on the other hand, might not be talked about enough. If you regularly get your nails done, meaning doing anything other than keeping them neat, you're most likely causing them some form of stress.

Maybe your nails have gotten frail; they don't grow or are splitting constantly. The damage is reversible in a lot of cases; however, not all of it is necessarily caused by getting your nails done. If you have a health condition or a disorder that manifests through your nails, it can be harder to prevent nail damage. Still, there are ways to promote better nail health.

Why are your nails splitting?

According to Healthline, your nail strength might not be up to par as a result of underlying medical conditions such as infections of the nail bed, psoriasis, and certain diseases affecting your organs. Nails reveal a lot about your health, and you should listen to what they have to say. Dermatologist and nail specialist Dana Stern, MD, tells Men's Health, "Certain nail changes can indicate issues with the kidneys, infections of the heart, anemia, lung disease, and even exposure to certain poisons."

However, nail splitting specifically is a fairly common nail problem and can occur as a side effect of smaller issues. Healthline reports that it can be caused by long-term exposure to moisture or biting your nails. Diet also plays a role in your nail strength, as nails are made out of protein. Hence, a nutritional deficiency might be causing your nails to split.

An external injury you might have sustained can also cause nail splitting, but so can psychological trauma. A traumatic event can hinder nail growth, causing the formation of ridges across the nails, which can further make them frail and prone to splitting. According to board-certified dermatologist and nail specialist Chris Adigun, MD, "These lines usually become apparent about three to six months after the event."

Preventing nail splits

After you've identified why your nails are splitting, take appropriate action to boost their strength back up. If you have a medical condition of any kind, listen to your doctor's instructions on how to take care of your affected nails.

In case of a nutritional deficiency, adjust your diet. For a zinc deficiency, eat more whole grains and legumes, and for an iron deficiency, amp up your intake of spinach and fish. Also, certain supplements can aid in nail health, but consult with your doctor first.

As for the external approach, consider giving your nails a break. Losing the acrylics for a bit and letting your nails breathe can be a great start. Use a good moisturizer for your hands, and don't forget to take care of the cuticles as well. Avoid cleaning up or doing garden work without protective gloves. If possible, refrain from biting your nails and the skin around them. It's probably not going to happen overnight, but your nails will get stronger over time if you take proper care of them. Great nails don't happen by chance!