Why Is My Nail Peeling?

Why Is My Nail Peeling

Why do my nails keep splitting?

Split nails may happen due to nail biting, excess moisture, infection or injury, or psoriasis. You can’t always prevent split nails, but using moisturizer and nail hardening products may help. Cracks in your nails are common and will usually heal as your nails grow.

A split nail is typically caused by physical stress, nutrient deficiency, or wear and tear. Split nails, also called onychoschizia, can be a problem, especially if you work with your hands. Although split nails can happen to anyone and are sometimes unavoidable, there are ways you can prevent them. Here we explain what might be the cause of your split nails, how to prevent them, and when to see a doctor.

Your fingernails and toenails are made out of layers of keratin, which is also the protein that hair is made out of. Your nail protects the nail bed. The nail growth comes from below the cuticle area. Healthy nails appear smooth, with consistent coloring.

Why is the top layer of my nails peeling off?

meet the expert –

Amy Ling Lin is the CEO and founder of New York nail studio Sundays, Karan Lal, MD, is a double-board certified dermatologist. Dana Stern, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of nail-care brand Dr. Dana.

Although preventing the nails from coming into contact with water is challenging, it’s another frequent source of flaking nails. Lin explains that when the nails absorb water and swell (from exposure for long periods), the bonds between the nail layers weaken, causing the nails to peel easily.

  • Harsh cleaning products have the same effect.
  • On the other hand, overly dry nails can also peel, especially when they are buffed and drilled down during manicures.
  • And for some people that experience peeling nails, a diet lacking calcium and iron may be to blame.
  • Likewise, thyroid issues and disorders can also impact nail health.

Nail damage may seem to happen overnight, but Karan Lal, MD, says that the visible effects usually take a few weeks to months after a trigger manifests. “For example, an active viral infection may not cause peeling right away, but it may materialize weeks after the infection resolves.”

Will my nail grow back after peeling?

Getting Active Again – If you lose your nail, it will take about 7 to 10 days for the nail bed to heal. A new fingernail will take about 4 to 6 months to grow to replace the lost nail. Toenails take about 12 months to grow back. The new nail will probably have grooves or ridges and be somewhat misshapen.

Is peeling your nails anxiety?

Knowing When to Reach Out for Help – Breaking habits is hard, and we all need a little help sometimes. Professional help may be the best route for you if:

You bite your nails till they bleed, are severely damaged, or in great discomfort/pain You experience anxiety, guilt, shame, or obsessive thoughts about nail-biting that interfere with daily life functioning You are not able to stop despite consequences and after attempting multiple strategies

Not only is there medical help for any resulting injuries you may have, but there are also multiple types of therapy that can help address both your anxiety and nail picking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular choice for nail biters as it treats anxiety disorders and other psychological issues that may have led to the behavior.

Habit reversal therapy is also an available option for those who are trying to tackle it. Don’t be afraid to reach out for the help you need – it could be the first step towards a more fulfilling life. If you find yourself struggling with your anxiety, LAOP Treatment Center can provide the necessary resources and support to empower individuals suffering from mental illness.

From therapy sessions to medication management, LAOP Treatment Center can develop a tailored plan that is right for you. Contact a member of our admissions team today. Source https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/000992289002901201 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497389/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23792470/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/

What do anemic nails look like?

Anemia may cause nail irregularities alongside other symptoms. Signs of anemia nails include pale nail beds and spoon-shaped nails. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. If a person does not have enough red blood cells, they will not have enough oxygen circulating, a condition known as anemia,

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), anemia may cause issues with the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. It may also affect a person’s skin and nails. Read on to learn more about how anemia can affect a person’s nails, as well as causes and treatments for nail changes due to anemia and some frequently asked questions.

Research from 2020 notes that a healthy nail should be:

shinysmoothuniform in consistencyslightly curved

Researchers also note that a healthy nail bed should be pink. The nail bed is the tissue underneath the fingernail or nail plate and is typically flesh-colored. The nail margin — the tip of the nail — should be white. Anemia may lead to a person developing certain nail irregularities and may cause pale nail beds.

Additionally, a form of the condition — iron deficiency anemia — occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body. Iron is necessary to make new red blood cells. This deficiency may cause nail abnormalities such as spoon nails (koilonychia), When a person has spoon nails, the center of the nail becomes sunken, giving a spoon-like appearance.

Spoon nails can also be thin and brittle, A 2022 study states that spoon nails occur in 5.4% of people with an iron deficiency. Researchers also note that iron deficiency is the most common cause of spoon nails in children. The hemoglobin in red blood cells helps provide color to the skin.

  1. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen inside the red blood cell.
  2. If a person has a low red blood cell count, their skin and nails can pale.
  3. Researchers do not fully understand how iron deficiency can cause a person to develop spoon nails.
  4. However, they believe it may occur due to reduced iron levels in iron-containing enzymes in epithelial cells — a type of cell that covers the inside and outside skin surfaces of the body.

The nail bed epithelium lies between the nail bed and the nail plate. It allows the nail plate to grow over the nail bed while remaining attached. Additionally, researchers believe that weakening the connective tissue under the nail plate due to poor blood flow may cause spoon nails.

Can stress cause nails to split?

Anxiety can have physical consequences, but there are techniques out there to help you fight back, writes Prudence Wade Stress can be an all-consuming beast. Not only does it overwhelm your brain, but it can have a physical impact, too. If the current pandemic crisis is constantly on your mind, you may have noticed some changes in your body.

You might be getting more break-outs when you normally have clear skin, perhaps your hair is feeling limp or falling out, or maybe your nails are breaking more easily. When you’re stressed, these changes in your body add insult to injury, but there are things you can do to help. Here’s how anxiety can impact your skin, hair and nails, and what you can do to combat it.

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Your skin. Doing the right things by our body can become increasingly difficult when we’re stressed. “When we feel stress, especially when confronted with circumstances we can’t change, this can affect us mentally and physically,” explains Dr Howard Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare.

  1. Our appetite may be affected, we crave the wrong foods, sleep is affected due to worry and limited exercise can impact physical and mental wellbeing, which ultimately reflects on our skin.
  2. This is because our) skin mirrors our health.
  3. When we consider the skin and the brain are affected by the same hormones and neurotransmitters, such as the stress hormone cortisol, we can see how everything is connected.” It’s an obvious point, but eating right, drinking enough water and exercising will boost your mood, even if all you want to do is sit on the sofa and watch boxsets.

“I’m a great believer in the power of touch and facial massage,” says Murad. “Touch is vital for emotional and physical health, helping to release toxins while relaxing the mind – essential when combating the effects of stress. “Not only does self-massage help to drive skincare ingredients deeper into the skin, but it firms muscles, aids lymphatic drainage and calms the mind.” Instead of skipping out on your normal skincare routine, use this time as an opportunity to practise self-care and take some time for yourself.

Kiehl’s cannabis sativa seed oil herbal concentrate 30ml, £40, Escentual.com Q+A hyaluronic acid facial serum, £6.50, PrettyLittleThing.com

Your hair. Stylist and global creative director for Living Proof Michael Shaun Corby explains how hair grows in four stages. First is the growing phase, which can last two to six years, then the transitioning phase, “where the growth slows down and the hair starts to leave the follicle”, then the resting phase, where the hair stops growing and, finally, when “the hair leaves the follicle and new hairs start to grow”.

  • This is a continuous cycle, with two-thirds of your hair being in the growth phase and one third in the other three.
  • When you are experiencing stress, your hair follicles in the growth phase can undergo changes and start to become more active in the other three phases, such as resting or leaving the follicle, which can lead to hair loss,” explains Corby.

If stress means a well-rounded diet has gone out the window, this could affect your hair. “The hair texture becomes thinner when there’s not enough nutrients, so eating plenty of protein and a healthy diet is key,” the stylist explains. Corby’s answer to boosting hair health? “Massaging your scalp.

Living Proof dry scalp treatment, £25, SpaceNK.com Coco & Eve Like A Virgin hair masque, £34.90, Cultbeauty.co.uk

Your nails. Your nails might be suffering because you can’t keep up with regular manicure appointments, but your state of mind could also be having an impact. “Healthy nails require vitamins and minerals like protein, biotin, silica, magnesium, zinc, and iron,” explains Imane Badouri, founder of Spa Concierge.

“Stress makes it harder for our bodies to absorb the nutrients, so nail ridging, pitting, and shredding are all side effects that weaken the nail.” It’s also more than likely that you’ve reverted to nervous tics like biting or rubbing your nails, which Badouri says “causes more damage to the nail bed”.

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to combat any damage done to your nails. Badouri recommends wearing gloves if you’re doing work with your hands, regularly remembering to file and buff your nails and using “a moisturiser or cream on your hands, feet, and in your nail folds to keep your skin hydrated and protected” – a particularly wise move if your hands feel sore from constant washing.

Cuticle oil, £7.85, Orlybeauty.co.uk Eucerin urea repair plus 5% hand cream, £6.75 (was £9), Boots.com

Why are my nails peeling and have ridges?

What are the most common causes of ridges in nails? – Certain health conditions and nutrient deficiencies can cause ridges, dents or lines in your nails. Common causes of vertical nail ridges, also called longitudinal ridges, include:

Normal aging: Many people develop vertical ridges on their nails as they get older. These lines aren’t dangerous. Skin conditions: If you have very dry skin or eczema, you may have vertical lines on your nails. Thyroid disease: If you have hypothyroidism, you may have thick, brittle nails with vertical ridges. Your nails may also crumble or break easily. They may look more rounded and your fingertip may be puffy.

Horizontal ridges or dents in your nails are usually due to a condition called Beau’s lines, These dents may happen when something interrupts your nail growth. Possible causes include:

Chemotherapy, Damage from using artificial or acrylic nails or getting gel manicures for long periods. Injury to your nail, like slamming your finger in a door or dropping something on your foot. Peripheral vascular disease (PAD), Severe illness with high fever, such as COVID-19, measles or pneumonia,

Can nail polish cause peeling nails?

Bad Nail Habit | Makeup.com by L’Oréal May 15, 2020 By: Share this page Is wearing nail polish 365 days a year bad for your nails? It can be if you’re not taking certain nail-protecting precautions. Read on for four factors that could be, plus how to amp up your while feeding your, Bad Nail Habit 1: Wearing Polish Every Single Day So you own every single Essie shade and love giving yourself fresh at-home manis? Wearing polish too often can actually weaken your nail beds.

  1. While naked nails can make you feel, well, naked, it’s important to take breaks once in a while to let them “breathe.” A good rule of thumb is to go au naturel anytime you start to notice excessive peeling, dryness or chipping.
  2. Go polish free and soak your fingers in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes a day for 10 days to rehydrate your nails back to health.

Bad Nail Habit 2: Using Lots of Remover Traditional nail polish removers contain acetone that can cause peeling and even lead to infections. Taking a break from it will allow your nails to take a break from the drying effects. When you’re not on a nail polish-free holiday, opt for an acetone-free remover like, a gentle option that removes regular polish with less damage.

Bad Nail Habit 3: Peeling Off Your Polish It’s tempting to pick off chipping nail polish, but you might also be removing the top layer of your nail bed and weakening your nails. Prevent chipping (and in turn the temptation to pick) by using a quality top coat like, Bad Nail Habit 4: Skipping a Protective Base Coat Yellowing nails can be caused by a number of things like smoking, fungus or even medical issues, but wearing polish without a protective base coat can also be the culprit.

Be sure to always apply a base coat before polish to keep nails from getting stained. We recommend the that provides a barrier between your nails and your polish.

What deficiency causes nails to split?

Some vitamin deficiencies can cause nail splitting. If you’re not getting enough biotin, iron, or calcium, you may notice nail splitting and other nail changes. If you’re pregnant, your body needs extra vitamins and minerals to keep up with the needs of a growing baby.

Are peeling nails bad?

Peeling nails can be the result of outside or external trauma to the nail. More rarely, they can indicate a systemic condition, or a sign that a pathologic process is occurring inside your body. Nowadays fingernails serve a cosmetic purpose, but their primitive uses included digging and defending.

Nails also protect your fingertips and enhance your ability to pick up items. Nails are made from keratin, a protein that’s also found in your hair. Nails have multiple tough layers that can peel. This can cause them to appear thin or become weakened, causing them to split. The medical term for peeling or splitting fingernails is onychoschizia.

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It takes 6 months for a fingernail to grow to its full length. That means it’s possible to experience nail abnormalities as a result of something that occurred months earlier. Trauma or damage to the nail itself can cause peeling. Soaking your hands in hot water while doing the dishes or engaging in any other prolonged water exposure can dry out the nails.

any activity that presses on the nailoverusing the nails as a toolpicking or peeling off nail polishapplying false or acrylic nails

If you can’t attribute your peeling nails to an external or internal cause, one way to tell the difference is to compare your toenails and fingernails. If your fingernails are peeling but your toenails aren’t (or vice versa), this signals an external cause.

If both your fingernails and toenails are peeling, this signals an internal cause. Internal causes can vary, but sometimes dry, peeling nails can indicate a vitamin deficiency, typically an iron deficiency, Peeling nails rarely have internal causes or are a medical emergency. However, if your nails are causing severe pain or bleeding in addition to peeling, you may want to seek urgent medical care.

Most often, at-home treatments can reduce the incidence of peeling nails. If you suspect your peeling nails are the result of an iron deficiency, you may want to consider increasing your daily iron intake, Examples of foods that are high in iron include:

baked potato with skinfortified breakfast cerealslean meatslentilsspinachwhite beans

You can also take a daily iron supplement, If you take a multivitamin, read the label carefully. Not all manufacturers include iron as a part of the standard multivitamin. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, taking more than 25 milligrams of elemental iron reduces the body’s ability to absorb zinc.

  1. To prevent this adverse effect, avoid taking excessive iron supplements.
  2. In addition to incorporating iron in your diet, the Mayo Clinic recommends asking your doctor about the possibility of taking biotin to help strengthen nails.
  3. You should also take steps to keep your nails moisturized.
  4. This includes minimizing prolonged exposure to water.

If you regularly perform household chores that involve water, wear protective, cotton-lined rubber gloves. If you partake in water activities, such as swimming, apply lotion or cream to your hands and nails. If you use artificial nails, it’s important to gently remove all nail coatings without scraping or pulling.

If you force off the nail coating, it will cause nail damage and peeling that will ultimately scar your nail beds. This can lead to thin, fragile nails. Instead, care for your nails by filing them with a nail file around the tips of the nails. The nails should be filed into a curve, not into sharp points on the sides or tips.

This helps prevent snagging, breaking, and splitting. Buffing your nails can give them a healthy appearance but be sure to use a one-direction buffing motion. A back-and-forth motion can thin the nail plate, making your nails more prone to peeling. Peeling nails can be the result of too little or too much moisture.

  • The former can be caused by repeatedly getting the nails wet and then drying them.
  • With the latter, sheer soaking in water while performing things like household chores makes the nails soft and possibly causes peeling or sloughing of the nail.
  • You can protect your nails by applying a clear nail polish.

One with nylon fibers may be especially helpful in strengthening the nail. Another way to prevent peeling nails is to avoid using the nails as tools to pick up or open items, which can weaken them. Instead, use the pads of your fingers.

Should I peel off my dead nail?

Download Article Your guide to treating and removing dead toenails at home Download Article Having a dead toenail can cause a lot of pain and can make you reluctant to wear sandals or show your toes. A dead toenail can have various causes, among them injury (such as being jammed repetitively into the front of your running shoes) and toenail fungus,

  • If there’s a blood blister under the nail, pierce the nail with a sterilized pin to drain it.
  • Trim away as much of the dead nail as you can.
  • Remove new pieces as they begin to loosen naturally.
  • Keep your toe clean and bandaged until the nail bed heals.
  1. 1 Note the presence of a blister. Dead toenails are often created when blood blisters develop beneath the nail. The blister causes the skin underneath the nail to die, and once that skin dies, the nail separates and lifts away from the toe.
    • If your toenail has died for another reason, including a fungal infection, there will likely be no blister to drain. Skip directly to the “Removing the Toenail” section of this article and follow the same removal and aftercare procedure. In the case of a fungal infection, visit your doctor, who can prescribe a suitable antifungal cream.
    • Do not attempt to drain a blister underneath your nail if you suffer from diabetes, have peripheral arterial disease, or have any problems with your immune system. These scenarios can result in a long-term, hard-to-treat infection and wounds not healing appropriately due to decreased immune system and lack of blood flow for healing. In this case, you must consult your physician.
  2. 2 Clean the toe. Wash the toe and nail area with soap and water. Wash your hands with soap and water, as well. It is critical that you make your toe and hands as sterile as possible before attempting to pierce your blister or remove your toenail. If there are bacteria present, you are placing yourself at risk of infection,
    • You may want to consider swabbing the toenail and surrounding area with iodine, Iodine has been shown to kill the bacteria that cause infection.


  3. 3 Sterilize and heat the tip of a pin or straightened paperclip. Wipe a clean, sharp pin, needle, or the end of a paperclip with rubbing alcohol in order to sterilize it. Heat the tip of the sharp object of your choice in a flame until it is visibly red-hot.
    • To best avoid infection, this process should be done with the supervision of a medical professional. Any time you attempt a medical procedure at home—even the simplest procedure—you put yourself at risk for infection or making a painful or dangerous mistake. Consider visiting your doctor or an urgent care clinic to drain the blister under your toenail instead of doing it yourself.
    • Note that a blunt metal paper clip can be used instead of a pin if you feel uneasy about piercing the blister with a sharp point. If you have never tried to drain a blister, using a paperclip might be a safer option. However, have a sterilized pin on hand as you may need it to pierce the blister.
    • Only heat the tip of the pin. The rest of the pin will become warm, but only the tip should become red-hot. Be careful not to burn your fingers while handling it.
  4. 4 Melt through your nail with the tip of the pin. Position the heated tip of the pin over the nail, just above the blister. Hold it still and allow the heat to melt a hole through the nail.
    • Since there are no nerves in a nail, using a hot pin to melt it should not cause any pain. Avoid applying pressure when melting your nail, as you want to be careful not to burn the skin or poke the sensitive tissue underneath.
    • Depending on the thickness of your nail, you may need to reheat the pin several times and repeat the melting process at the same spot on your nail each time.
  5. 5 Let the blister drain. After creating a hole in the nail, allow the fluid to drain out. You should feel immediate relief from any pain and pressure caused by the buildup of blood under your nail.
    • You may notice clear or bloody fluid seeping out of the hole over the next few days.
    • If you still feel a lot of pain after draining the blister, call your doctor. It’s possible that you have a more serious injury to the nailbed.
  6. 6 Care for the wound. Immediately after draining the blister, soak the toe in warm and slightly soapy water for approximately 10 minutes. After that, continue to soak the nail in soapy water for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, for the next 3 days.
    • Depending on the size and severity of your blister you might need to drain it multiple times until all the fluid is completely gone. Try to drain any remaining fluid from the blister from the same hole you previously created in your nail.
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  1. 1 Wash the area around your toe. Before attempting to remove part or all of the toenail, clean the toe with warm, soapy water. Dry it well before continuing. Cleaning your foot, toe, and nail area as well as possible before any toenail removal will help to prevent infection. In addition to your foot, clean your hands to lessen the chance of transmitting bacteria.
  2. 2 Trim as much of the upper portion as possible. Clip away the portion of your nail that is resting on dead skin. This makes it more difficult for dirt and bacteria to become lodged beneath the dead nail. Removing the nail will also help the skin beneath the nail to heal faster.
    • To minimize the risk of infection, you may want to sterilize the clippers with rubbing alcohol before use. Sharp nail clippers are also better to use than blunt nail clippers since the latter may tear the nail as you attempt to remove it.
  3. 3 Test the nail before trimming it. If the nail has already started dying, you should be able to pull a portion away from your skin without difficulty. The portion you can pry away without feeling any pain is the part that you will want to clip off.
  4. 4 Wrap the toe. After removing the top portion of the nail, wrap the toe with an adhesive bandage. Your newly exposed skin will probably be raw and tender, so wrapping your toe will help to minimize the discomfort that you may feel. You may also want to apply antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to the skin to encourage healing and reduce the risk of any infection.
  5. 5 Keep trimming away the rest of the nail as it comes loose. Don’t try to pull off any pieces of nail that are still attached to the nail bed. The dead nail will eventually completely detach and fall off on its own. However, you can safely continue to trim or file off new pieces as they come loose or grow out.
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  1. 1 Keep the area cleaned and dressed. Once you remove the remainder of the nail and expose the raw skin, clean the toe with warm water and some gentle soap. In addition, apply an antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage the toe. Remember that this is a wound, and you must treat it gently until a new layer of skin grows.
  2. 2 Change the bandage every 24 hours. Since the bandage may stick to the exposed nail bed if you leave it on too long, change it at least once a day. Change the dressings more often if they get wet or dirty.
    • If the bandage does stick, soak it off with warm water.
    • Clean the wound and apply a fresh layer of antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly any time you change the bandage.
  3. 3 Treat the exposed skin. Apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to the wound at least once a day to help stave off infection. Continue until new skin grows over it. An over-the-counter cream will suffice in most situations, but you may need a prescription cream prescribed by your doctor if you get an infection.
    • Some doctors advise soaking the injured nail in warm salt water for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day, to keep the nail bed moist and reduce the risk of infection. If you do this, allow the nail to dry and cover it with a fresh layer of ointment before putting on new dressings.
  4. 4 Stay off your feet. Rest your foot as much as possible for the first few days after removing the nail, especially since it will probably be quite painful at this point. Once the pain and swelling go down, you can gradually ease yourself back into your normal routine, including exercise. However, you should not push yourself to do something that causes pain.
    • If possible, keep your foot elevated when you sit or lie down. Prop it up so that it’s above the level of your heart. This can help minimize any swelling and pain you may experience.
    • While the nail is growing, avoid wearing narrow or tight shoes that may cause trauma to the nail. Wear closed-toe shoes as much as possible to further protect the nail bed as it recovers, especially when you are doing physical activity outside.
  5. 5 Know when to contact your doctor. Symptoms such as severe pain can be a sign of infection. Other common signs of infection include swelling, warmth around the toe, drainage of pus from the toe, red streaks extending out from the wound, or fever. Don’t wait until the infection becomes serious—contact your doctor at your first inclination that something may not be right.
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  • Do not attempt to drain any blisters or remove the toenail if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or any condition that negatively impacts your immune system.
  • Do not attempt to remove any toenail that has not already died. If you need to remove a nail for other reasons, consult with your doctor about having the nail surgically or non-surgically removed by a medical professional.


  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Clean towels
  • Sharp pin and/or blunt paper clip
  • Cotton pads
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lighter or similar flame source
  • Nonstick gauze bandages
  • Nail clippers
  • Antibiotic ointment

Article Summary X To remove a dead toenail, first wash your toe with soapy water. Then, use nail clippers to carefully clip off any portion of the nail that isn’t firmly resting against the nail bed. Avoid clipping off any healthy portions of the nail.

  1. Use a nail file to carefully smooth down any jagged edges on the remaining part of your nail.
  2. Clean your toe again with soapy water, then apply antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage.
  3. Change the bandage regularly while you wait for your toe to heal, which may take around 6-12 months.
  4. If your entire toenail falls off or your toenail won’t stop bleeding, get immediate medical treatment.

For more advice from our Medical co-author, including how to care for your skin once the nail is completely removed, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 805,142 times.

How do you heal split nails?

If you have a bigger split, you can apply nail glue or clear nail lacquer to hold the keratin together until your nail grows out. Then you can trim or file off the split. If a nail injury caused the split, make sure to see a healthcare provider. They’ll make sure you don’t have a fracture or injury to your nail matrix.