A split nail is usually caused by physical stress, nutrient deficiency, or wear and tear. Split nails can be a problem, especially if you work with your hands.
Although split nails are completely normal and sometimes unavoidable, there are ways you can prevent split nails in the future.
Here we explain what might be the cause of your split nail, how to prevent them, and when to see a doctor.
Split nail causes
A split nail is characterized by a crack forming in your nail. Nail splits can be horizontal, across the nail’s tip, or vertical, splitting the nail in two.
Common causes of split nails include:
Moisture can cause nails to become weak and brittle. Long-term exposure can cause the skin around the nail to soften.
The nail itself becomes brittle making it easier to break, bend, or split. Overexposure to moisture can occur while doing dishes, washing hands, or repeated nail polish use.
Picking or biting
Many people have a habit of picking their fingernails and toenails. Picking or biting is usually a result of an anxiety issue.
Picking or biting your nails can cause stress to the nail and result in a self-inflicted split or broken nail.
An injury may be a probable cause for a split nail. Crushing your nail tip or bed can result in your nail growing with a ridge or split-like appearance.
Injury and weakening can also happen with fake nails.
Fungal, bacterial, or yeast infections in the nail bed can change the texture of the nails, resulting in weakened and split nails.
Psoriasis can affect both the skin and the nails. Psoriasis can cause the nail to thicken, crumble, or split. Up to 78 percent of people with psoriasis are estimated to experience nail issues at some point.
Certain diseases may cause nail health to decline which could contribute to nail splits.
Diseases that may contribute to split nails include:
- thyroid disease
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- skin cancers
How to prevent split nails
While there’s not much that you can do to fix a split nail, there are ways you can prevent your nails from splitting in the first place.
Here are some tips for preventing split nails:
- Keep your nails clean and healthy.
- Refrain from keeping your hands or feet in water for long periods.
- Use moisturizer on your nails and cuticles.
- Use nail hardening products if necessary. (Shop for some online.)
- Don’t bite or pick around your nails.
- Refrain from using nail polish remover.
- Don’t rip or pull your hangnails.
- Take supplements such as biotin with permission from a doctor.