The Best Products for Peeling Nails

Washing-up gloves protect thin, peeling nails.

Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

File thin, peeling nails under a long list of genetic curses like wispy-thin hair and skin that freckles at the first caress of sunlight. The primary thing to remember about peeling nails is that they're more manageable when kept short and routinely filed. Rather than investing in a variety of specialty nail care products, take a cruise around the aisles of any well-stocked drugstore or market. The best products for peeling nails are far more inexpensive than you might think.


Gloves: They're not too glamorous, but you gotta get 'em. Repeated water exposure and subsequent drying puts the hurt on brittle, peeling nails — add harsh detergents and cleaners into the mix, and you've doubled your trouble. Slip on cotton-lined rubber gloves before you take to watery tasks like dish washing and toilet scrubbing. Wear them whenever you perform gardening chores, too.


There's no need to purchase spendy cuticle creams. Invest in a good moisturizer that's beneficial for both your hands and nails. Lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids or lanolin are a good bet. Treat your nails to a moisturizer several times throughout the course of the day, and take particular care to rehydrate your fingernails after they've been exposed to water or whenever you've just used nail polish remover. Rub moisturizer into your hands and nails at night and put on cotton gloves before you slip under the covers for even deeper conditioning. When you're lotion pump is sputtering near empty, simply rub olive oil into your nails and cuticles instead.


Thin, peeling nails can benefit from a single coat of clear nail hardener or nail polish with nylon fibers. But avoid those with toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde, chemicals that can dry out your nails and cuticles even more. Acetone-based polish removers are also damaging to fragile nails. Use an acetone-free remover — and use it no more than once a week. If your nail polish chips, touch it up rather than going for a complete do-over.


Thin, peeling nails are rarely caused by nutritional deficiencies, so making changes in your diet probably won't wow you. Nor will gelatin, that age-old home remedy, give you rock hard nails. Some dermatologists say that there's one daily dietary supplement that might be helpful: 2 to 3 milligrams of biotin, one of the B vitamins that encourages healthy skin, nails and hair. Biotin works around 33 percent of the time, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, and it takes about six months before you may start to see stronger nails emerge. However, chat with your doc before adding any supplement to your diet.

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