Fingernails Keep Splitting? Here’s What To Do

If your nails are always dry, they’re said to be brittle, and when this happens, a split is bound to happen. Dry, brittle nails are the major causes of split nails. How then can you prevent your nails from getting dry? You’ll find out soon in this article.

Most times, when I’m asked questions like “why do my fingernails keep splitting,” The first thing I’m forced to ask is, how often do you expose your hands to moisture?

Do you use nail hardeners regularly? Or the most obvious one, do you pick at your nails? Those are the first question you want to answer about why nails are splitting. In this article, we will learn what makes the fingernails split and how to fix that.

Having said this, let’s look at what nail splits are.

What Is A Split Nail?

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A nail is said to split when its subjected to stress or lacks some essential nutrients. When nails split, they snag. That is, they catch or injure everything that they come across.

A split nail is a type of nail condition that occurs when fingernails or toenails develop splits in the nail plate. The most common cause of a split nail is physical stress and trauma to the finger or toe, though there are several other causes that may lead to a split nail. A split nail generally has a rough texture and may appear lighter than the rest of the nail.

Why Are My Fingernails Cracking and Splitting?

Nails usually don’t split anyhow. So what causes them to split then? Nails crack or tear when they’re subjected to external pressure or trauma. Although they are various reasons why healthy-looking nails may suddenly become dry and split, the obvious of them all is constant exposure to water.

If your nails are constantly splitting in the same place or down the middle. Then you may be doing either of these. Below are just a few of the numerous causes of split nails.

  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Overexposure of hands to water
  • Trauma
  • Nail Hardener
  • Chemicals
  • Using harsh detergent
  • Health issues
  • Nail Polish Remover

1. Nutrient deficiency

It is no longer a rumor that the best way to grow your nails fast and strong is by eating healthy. So if you do not eat the right diet that contains the proper nutrient in the right proportion, your nails are bound to rift.

So if your diet is lacking any of the essential vitamins such as vitamin C found in oranges, iron, and minerals, your nails might tear every now and again.

2. Overexposure of hands to water

It is no longer news that when hands are submerged in water for way too long, nails lose their strength.

And when this happens, they’re bound to tear. This best explains why cleaners are the dominant group of people with onychoschizia.

3. Trauma

During a snag, the pressure from that physical contact can hurt a lot. When this happens, your nails are likely to split.

4. Nail hardener

As you may already know, nail hardener adds some layers of coat to the nails to make them stronger. Why this might not make necessary calls for alarm, continuous usage might render your nails dry.

5. Chemicals

Certain nail care products like nail polish are known to contain a lot of these harmful chemicals. So when you apply or wear polish too often, it dries out the oil on your nails and renders them brittle. And when they do, they may drift apart.

6. Using harsh detergent

This is another cause of split nails. During washing, we tend to make use of these chemicals as cleansing agents.

Unknowing to us, they don’t only cleanse our dishes or clothes; they also strip our nails off it’s moisture, thereby making them extremely dry and liable to split.

7. Heath challenge

Underlying health problems or challenges like Psoriasis, onychomycosis, or diabetes can also lead to brittle or split fingernails.

8. Polish remover

Acetone, being a major player in the nail world, contains elements that may cause your nails to become brittle. If you must use nail polish remover, be sure to go after those that are free from those chemicals.

Types Of Ripped Nails

There are a lot of cracks in nails, but for the sake of this article, we shall be looking at just two.

Vertical Nail Split

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When there is a rip from the free edge of your nails down to the middle, such a tear is referred to as a vertical or longitudinal split.

Nail Splitting Horizontally

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A nail is said to rift horizontally when the division cut across the nails horizontally or sideways as seen in the above picture.

What Causes Vertical Ridges and Splits in Fingernails?

There are a thousand and one reasons why fingernails split but what I’ve found out over the course of growing and keeping nails as a lifestyle is that nails split when they’re subjected to external stress, health challenges, poor diet, or trauma.

Onychorrhexis, otherwise known as the vertical split, is the condition that occurs when fingernails tear down the middle.

How to Stop Fingernails From Splitting

Fingernail Keep Splitting

Split nails aren’t something to be happy about but there’s always something you can do to remedy it. So if you’ve been looking for ways all over the internet to actually nail it for good then search no further because I’ve done the hard work for you already. Below are distinct ways you can deliberately adopt to prevent and stop your fingernails from splitting now and again…

One of the obvious ways I’ve found pretty effective is by keeping your nails moisturized always with moisturizers ( such as DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dry Skin Duo) coconut oil, argan oil, or castor oil.

Other ways you can adopt to prevent your nails from rifting apart include;

  • Eating healthy
  • Avoid nail biting
  • Moisturize more
  • Wear gloves
  • Keep nails medium-long
  • Using polish free from chemicals

1. Eat healthily

If you nail tears at regular intervals, be sure to include food rich in vitamins or protein in your diet.

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You can eat more vegetables like broccoli, and spinach which is rich in vitamins. You can also take more whole grains, egg York, nuts, etc. to strengthen and keep your nails in shape.

2. Avoid biting your nails

If you want to see improvement in your nail health? Then you should stop biting your nails now.

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Biting your nails will not only render and makes your nails prone to splitting, but you may also ingest a lot of harmful bacteria into your system which might be harmful to your overall health.

There are lots of actionable ways to nail this habit for good though but you need to find out what triggers you to go after your nails first. If you can identify that which makes you go after those nails then you’re halfway to putting an end to this habit for good.

Another great way to stop picking at your nails is by coating them with bad-tasting polishes. This polish is best known as anti-nail-biting polish. They help deter the urge and some of them have a dual action. What this means is, they don’t only stop you from going after your nails, but they also help to promote nail growth.

Still, confused about what to do to stop? Here’s an in-depth article I wrote a few months back on Nail-biting. You really should check it out

3. Keep nails moisturized

It’s been said a thousand times on this blog that keeping your nails coated with moisturizer can indeed retain and keep the health of your nails intact.

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You can use moisturizers such as coconut oil, lavender oil, Shea butter, olive oil, or jojoba oil to keep them in good shape and to prevent subsequent tears.

Note: The choice of moisturizers you go after matters a lot here. For these reasons, I recommend that you should only patronize moisturizers with more fats. i.e those with a higher percentage of lipids as they tend to work the best( You can as well try this amazing DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dry Skin Duo from Amazon). Also, it’s not enough to apply them alone, ensure that you follow it up with a little massage. Massaging the oil helps it to sink even deeper.

4. Wear gloves

Putting gloves on while doing the dishes or laundry is another sure way of preventing your nails from getting dried up unnecessarily.

So the next time you think of submerging your hands in water for too long, make sure your hands are well-coated with rubber gloves.

5. Keep your nails medium-long

Extremely long nails can lead to constant tears or splits. So be sure to keep yours trimmed to your desired length. I like to think of the length thingy to be subjective though but in all, try to keep them short.

They should not be too long, and most importantly, be mindful of the kind of nail shape to adopt as some lead to frequent splitting.

6. Use polish free from the chemical

Avoid using nail polish with harmful ingredients. If you must polish your nails, go after those that contain vitamins.

PS: Wearing polish for too long can absorb the moisture out of your nails, leaving them dry and liable to tear.


If you’ve read up to this point, you ought to have known by now that overexposure to water, trauma, health challenges, or poor diet are the major causes of split nails. Split nails are not something to be happy about, and so we must do all it takes to protect our hands daily.

One way we can achieve this is by putting on gloves when doing household work such as laundry, avoiding using harsh detergents, and keeping our nails moisturized always.

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2 thoughts on “Fingernails Keep Splitting? Here’s What To Do”

  1. I eat healthy, my hands are not exposed to constant water, I take many vitamins per day, I don’t bite my nails. I put natural cuticle oil on my nailbed at least once a day. I take biotin. I have stopped polishing the split nail and I keep it short so that it does not snag on anything. I have been fighting with this split for over 2 years. I have put glue on it. I did the tea bag thing. I put a fake nail on it. I wrapped my nail in a bandaid for several weeks. Then I cut the end of a bandaid off and just put the tiny sticky part on the split to keep it from catching on things. I have been vegan for more than a decade, but in the last few years I have also tried Keto Vegan, No Fat Vegan and Raw Vegan just for the sake of this nail. Nothing has worked to heal it. 🙁

    All of your ideas seem plausible, but I already have been doing them for many years now….there must be something else out there to stop the madness of split nails. 🙁

    • HI Sarah,

      I am so sorry to hear that you’ve been battling with split nails. If you’ve actually done all that I’ve stated here then I think something is wrong somewhere.

      Here’s what I want you to do. Keep moisturizing your nails. Do this 3 times a day for a week and let’s see how it goes.

      If you need any more help, don’t forget to mail me with

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