5 Tricks For Dealing With Peeling Nails

Aly Walansky
Nail file

Carmen MartA-nez BanAs/Getty

Our hair and makeup may be the first thing someone notices from across a room, but it’s our hands that make an impression when they come over to say hello. Dry, scaly, peeling nails can be a major turnoff, and no amount of pretty polish is going to make that situation go away. There’s lots we can do though to protect our nails, and much of it is a lot like what we do for our hair and skin!

Protect your hands:
Our hands spend a lot of time in water and around harsh chemicals. Wear rubber gloves whenever you wash dishes and/or use household cleaners, says dermatologist Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael of Radiant Skin Dermatology and Laser. Nails are very porous and can absorb water before we know it. If your nails are peeling, this may mean water has gotten in, and aside from peeling, you may soon be dealing with nail infections or fungus.

Stay hydrated:
The change of seasons can be brutal on our hair, skin and nails. Drink plenty of water so you are hydrated from the inside-out. Also use a moisturizer containing alpha hydroxy acids or lactic acid, says Delee-Michael.

MORE: How to Stop Biting Your Nails: Tips From Someone Who’s Been There

Take your vitamins:
Take a multivitamin containing B-complex vitamins and biotin, says Dele-Michael. If your nails are peeling or brittle, it could potentially mean you need more iron in your diet, so make sure the multivitamin contains that as well. Iron-rich foods like spinach are also a great bet (for your diet as well)!

Limit gel manicures:
Gel manicures can be incredibly addictive, but try to give your nails a break now and then. The acetone soaks we need to use to remove them can make our nails dry and brittle over time (not to mention that time under a heat lap to put that gel on in the first place)!

See your doctor:
If none of this works, it may be time to see your doctor, says Dele-Michael. Skin conditions, infections, exposure to chemicals, repeated wetting and or stress can cause your nails to peel. A doctor may need to evaluate and determine the cause so remedies can be figured out.