If You're Nails Are Peeling, Here's How You Should Treat Them

You may not realize it, but your nails can reveal a lot about your general health. So, if you've noticed that one or more have started to peel, there's a reason for it. Commonly referred to as onychoschizia, peeling nails can often be a precursor to medical conditions like anaemia or thyroid disease, according to dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. (via Shape). But more often than not, peeling nails are a result of trauma, peeling nail polish, filing too much, or wearing acrylics, per Byrdie. It can even occur from overexposure to water and chemicals, Nail Dystrophy notes. 

According to Healthline, it takes around six months for a fingernail to grow fully, meaning that whatever caused your nail to peel could have occurred months earlier. So, while it may take a little trial and error to figure out exactly why your nails have started to peel, thankfully there are plenty of remedies that will rectify the problem in a short period of time.

Keeping an eye on your diet can benefit your nails

One of the first port of calls is taking a note of your diet. If you're lacking in iron and biotin-rich food "like avocados, whole grains, eggs, cauliflower, and lean meats," this could be the reason why your nails are peeling. A boost in vitamins can also help strengthen your nails, specifically vitamins A, C, and E, according to cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green (via Byrdie). 

Outside of diet and vitamins, you can also keep your nails healthy and peel-free by moisturising them. "Massaging essential oils such as coconut and olive oil into the cuticle and nails creates a protective barrier by offering hydration," Green also recommends. "This also locks in moisture to prevent brittle nails and dry cuticles." According to Nail Dystrophy, oils like jojoba "can easily penetrate the nail's surface plate, taking vitamin E molecules inside with them."

And above all else, "keeping nails trimmed as short as possible helps resolve the peeling of the nails more quickly as it results in less trauma to the nail," dermatologist Caren Campbell, M.D. told Shape.