How to Fix Thin, Peeling, and Cracked Nails

Some people are obsessed with self-care and taking care of their bodies. One thing that seems to be often overlooked by everyone is their nail health. Yes, your nails need love and care too! They are just like any other part of your body, like your hair and skin. One of the most tell-tale signs of poor nail health is if you have thin, peeling, or cracked nails. Brittle nails can be a sign as well. 

There are many people who believe getting regular manicures is the way to fix this, but, as you’ll learn later in the article, that may not be the best solution. Instead, regular maintenance of your nails at home, along with supplements and your diet, are the best ways to improve your nail health. 

A better alternative to acrylic and gel manicures is using Clutch Nails instead. Our press-on nails are super easy to use, and we have tons of amazing styles, like these Wild Child nails, which are perfect for spring and summer. 

Ease Up On The Gel Manicures

No one wants to hear this, but we’ve got to be the bearer of bad news. You should probably stop with the weekly gel manicures because it’s probably the reason your nails are thin and cracking. 

People claim that gel manicures strengthen your nails, but that’s actually not the case. People think that because their nails grow more quickly with gel polish that it’s making the nails stronger. It’s true that gel protects your nails, but it also makes them weak. When you get your gel polish removed, you will probably notice your nails break quickly if you don’t get another gel manicure right away.

Your best bet is to just get a gel manicure every once in a while or alternate between gel and regular polish. If you find yourself getting them all the time, then you should do a nail reset. 

Take a month off with no manicures of any kind. Trim your nails down to a short, neutral length, and apply cuticle oil daily. You can file them and buff them as well to make sure they are nice and smooth. Then, after the month is over, try only getting a manicure once a month, and then you can resume your regular schedule if you really need to. Sometimes, like our skin, our nails just need to breathe! 

Take Supplements to Help Nail Health

One of the best supplements you can take for your nails is collagen (it’s also amazing for your skin and hair). Collagen is made up of essential amino acids, which act as building blocks within our bodies. 

If you’ve tried everything under the sun and still haven’t seen results, then increasing your collagen intake could be the key to improving your nails, along with multiple other aspects of your health. If your body lacks sufficient collagen, your nails may break or crack easily. And, you may also see brittleness in both your nails and hair, which can lead to cracking and peeling. 

Everyone ages, and we can’t stop that process from happening. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen levels start to decline over time. And while we can't stop the depletion of collagen from happening in our body, we can try and offset it by eating the right foods and taking the right supplements. If you take collagen supplements daily, then after a while, you may see stronger and healthier nails. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, and taking it in a supplement form can help to ensure you get enough protein. Protein is essential for the growth of your nails. 

Protect Your Nails From Everyday Activities

You might not realize it, but basic everyday activities might be responsible for your nail issues. Anything that involves using your hands also, by default, involves using your nails as well. For example, one of the biggest culprits of nail issues is doing the dishes. If you find yourself doing the dishes daily, your nails are probably suffering. 

The good news is, there is a very easy fix: wear rubber gloves. These will protect your hands from chemicals, soap, and hot water, which can all lead to nail damages. This goes for other household cleaning tasks, especially ones that involve using chemicals such as cleaner or bleach. Always wear gloves to protect your skin and your nails because the chemicals will affect both over time. 

Another activity to be aware of is gardening (or yard work or any outdoor work). Digging in the ground, using your hands to plant things or pull things out, and getting dirt in your nails are all things that can affect your nail strength and health. Again, it’s as simple as just protecting your hands. Make sure you wear thick gardening gloves for any outdoor work you do so that your nails don’t come into contact with anything. Wearing a thick glove is also a good way to protect your polish from chipping if you have your nails done. 

Eat Food to Help Nail Health

You know the saying you are what you eat? Well, it’s definitely true. If you want to be healthy on the outside, you need to be healthy on the inside first. One great way to improve your nail health is by eating the right foods. There are a lot of foods that are good for strong nails because nails need nutrients (especially protein) to grow. You want to be eating foods that contain essential nutrients that work to combat free radicals. 

Free radicals include things such as pollution and UV light, which cause damage to our bodies. Specifically, free radicals cause damage to our skin, hair, and nails. By building a strong foundation from the inside out, you will be able to protect your body and strengthen the overall health of your nails and other parts of your body. 

So, what foods should you be eating to prevent brittle, peeling, cracked nails? Any foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, protein, and other healthy fats are perfect for not only your body's overall health but, more specifically, for your nails. Foods that are rich in these nutrients include foods such as avocados, sweet potatoes, flaxseed, fish oil, fish (especially salmon), lean meats (chicken and turkey), leafy greens like kale and spinach, nuts such as cashews and almonds, coconut oil, and other similar foods. Basically, you want to eat foods that are protein-rich and nutrient-dense. 

Don’t Pick Your Polish

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: do not pick your polish. This goes for any type of polish or fake nail. Just leave it alone until you have it removed at the salon or do it safely and properly at home. Especially with gel polish, peeling off your polish can cause nails to be very weak. If you peel off your fake and acrylic nails, that could be even worse and cause breakage. 

We know it can be tempting, especially with gel polish, if it chips or starts to peel. But trust us, even doing it once can mean disaster for your nail health! If you really want it off, then you simply need to soak your nails in polish remover. This goes for both polishes and fake nails that are attached with glue. Soak them until the glue dissolves with fake nails or until the polish starts to peel with gel. You can also take cotton rounds, soak them in nail polish remover, and then press them on top of your nails and wrap it in foil. Let that sit for a while, and the polish should come right off. 


Now you know some of the causes of thin, peeling, and cracked nails and how to fix them. The good news is, most of the time, these issues are caused by an external factor that can be easily fixed, such as wearing gloves when using cleaning chemicals. Also, letting your nails breathe and taking a break from the nail salon is another way to help your nails heal and reset. Basically, protecting your nails should help to stop these issues. If you are doing everything right and you are still having issues, then you might just have weak nails. 

If this is the case, then supplements and eating foods that are rich in healthy fats and protein might help you see better results. After you help your nails heal and you are ready to start having your nails done again, think about using Clutch Nails as an alternative. Our press-ons give you salon-quality nails at home but are better for your natural nails. 


How to fix peeling nails | Medical News Today 

Peeling Nails | Healthline 

Cracked Nails: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention | WebMD 

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