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What Causes Your Nails to Split? 5 Secret Things

Have you ever wondered what causes your nails to split? Nail splitting is by far one of the most common nail problems my clients come to me for. Usually, their nails start to grow, but end up breaking and splitting once they get a little length. They try using a nail strengthener to fix it, but that does nothing for their weak nails and causes their nails to break even more.

However, once I help my clients understand the source of their nail splitting, they make the right changes so the breakage stops and they have healthy natural nails. So today, I’m going to break down the 5 secret causes of your nail breaks so you can stop it.

1. Excess Water Getting into Your Nails

So if your hands are constantly in and out of water throughout the day, this causes them to get wide when they are wet and narrow when they are dry. This constant change in your nail shape is what causes your nails to be weak and more prone to peeling and splitting.

This is why it is so important to protect your nails from absorbing too much water by wearing a thin coat of clear polish. This will block some of that water absorption so your nails don’t keep splitting and peeling.

2. Rough Salon Job

Remember when you went to the nail salon and they used a tool to file off your gel nails? Well, let’s just say they filed so far down that they end up removing your natural nail layers. This is why your nail plate is not only splitting but is also thin and sore as well.

Want to know where to go from here, I recommend taking my 2-minute nail health quiz to know why your nails are breaking and what to focus on to fix it so your nails can bounce back after the salon.

what causes your nail to split

3. Vitamin Deficiency

Nail health is not just about what you put on your body but in your body. Nutritional deficiencies like iron and vitamin D can cause your nails to grow weak from the base of the nail.

That is why having a healthy diet with leafy greens is essential for having a healthy nail bed. But if you struggle to eat vegetables, taking a multivitamin can help prevent these vitamin deficiencies as well.

4. Dehydration

Having healthy nails has to do a lot with how much moisture your nails are getting from the inside. If you notice that you have brittle fingernails, this could be a sign that your body is not getting enough water.

Water moisturizes your nails from the inside and lacking it causes your nails to split and become very weak. So if you think you are not drinking enough water, then it is a good idea to keep a bottle of water by your desk so you can sip on it throughout the day.

what causes your nail to split

5. Underlying Health Issues

When your nail plate splits vertically, this is a sign of underlying health conditions. Remember, nail growth starts from the nail matrix at the bottom of your nails. When you have vertical split nails, something is affecting the way your nail grows. This can be for a variety of reasons: a thyroid problem, fungal infections, permanent damage from acrylic nails, iron deficiency, etc.

The best way to address a vertical nail split is to talk to your primary care doctor. They can run tests to see whether underlying medical conditions are the cause.

What is Your Body Lacking When Your Nails Split?

Your body can be lacking iron, vitamin D, or water when your nails constantly split.

How do I Stop My Nails from Splitting?

The key to stopping nail splitting is to protect your nails and to make sure your nails are getting what they need to thrive inside and out consistently. If you notice your nails are very dry and are exposed to a lot of water, then I recommend that you use cuticle oil and protect your nails with clear polish from absorbing too much water. Curious about what oils will help your nails thrive, then check out the 8 best oils for nail growth here.

What Next?

If your nails are weak and peeling especially after going to the salon, then I invite you to take the 2 minute nail health quiz. It will tell you what is happening to your nails and what to focus on to fix it.


Does a nail hardener help strengthen your nails?
I don’t recommend nail hardeners. This is because hardeners make your nails hard and not strong. This causes them to break even more over time.

Can a skin condition cause nail splitting?

Yes, if you have eczema or psoriasis, it can affect the condition of your nails.

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