Onychoschizia is the medical term that refers to split, thin, soft or brittle fingernails. When nails become dry or brittle, the layers of keratin they’re composed of begin to separate. Splitting occurs for many reasons, ranging from medical conditions to long exposure to water or chemicals. Soft nails typically indicate that the nails are receiving too much moisture. Nails that appear dry or are peeling suggest too little moisture. By implementing the following suggestions, you can prevent your nails from splitting.
Things You'll Need
Fill a small bowl with olive, canola, sunflower or other vegetable oil. Vegetable oils hydrate the nails and help prevent splitting.
Submerge your fingernails into the bowl of oil. Allow them to soak for 15 minutes.
Remove your fingernails from the oil. Wash your hands with warm water and gentle soap.
Pour a dime-sized amount of lactic acid- or urea-based moisturizer on a cotton ball. Lactic acid- and urea-based moisturizers bind moisture to the nails.
Rub the entire surface of each fingernail with the damp cotton ball.
Allow five minutes for the moisturizer to dry. Reapply the moisturizer after washing your hands or at least twice per day.
Trim your fingernails with quality nail clippers a minimum of once per week. Keep your nails short and rounded to prevent splitting.
File any rough edges on the tips of the fingernails with an emery board.
Apply a thin layer of clear base polish onto your nails. The clear coat will help nail polish adhere to the nails and prevent splitting.
Add plenty of biotin-rich foods, such as carrots, almonds and milk, into your daily diet. Biotin is absorbed into the nails; it will help keep them from splitting and add strength.
Take a multivitamin, especially if you’re suffering from a mineral deficiency.
Increase silica in your diet. Eat up to four cups of fresh leafy, green vegetables or green beans each day.
References and ResourcesMother Nature: Brittle Nails
FitDay: 8 Foods Rich in Biotin
Mayo Clinic; Is it possible to prevent split fingernails?; Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: Brittle Splitting Nails