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How do I keep my nails from splitting?

Our clients ask this question frequently. Split, cracked, or brittle nails can be caused by several different factors. Long-term exposure to moisture softens the skin around the nails, weakening the nail, causing splitting and cracking. While you can’t avoid getting your hands wet, you can avoid overexposure. Wear gloves if you wash dishes by hand. Let your nails breathe for a while in between manis or pedis. Keeping polish on them constantly can also cause that weakening you want to avoid.

Picking or biting your nails, or even the cuticles around your nails, will also cause cracking and splitting. The best way to deal with that is to deal with anxiety. One way to do that is to book regular spa appointments to de-stress and recharge. Getting plenty of sleep and eating well also help with anxiety, along with exercising at least three times a week. As always, stay hydrated!

An injury may cause split nails. Crushing your nail tip or bed can result in your nail growing with a ridge or split-like appearance. Injury and weakening can also happen with fake nails.

Fungal, bacterial, or yeast infections in the nail bed can change the texture of the nails, resulting in weakened and split nails.

Psoriasis can affect both the skin and the nails. Psoriasis can cause the nail to thicken, crumble, or split. As many as 78 percent of psoriasis sufferers may experience nail issues at some point. Visit your doctor or dermatologist for help with infections, psoriasis, or anxiety that cannot be helped by diet, sleep, hydration, and exercise.

You can also take a look at your diet. According to the Save Institute, your nail health correlates to your bone health. If your nails are dry, brittle and cracking, biotin could provide a much-needed boost. Biotin is also called vitamin B-5 and is available as a dietary supplement, but also through many foods, such as legumes, vegetables from the cabbage family, dairy, fish, whole grain cereals, and lean beef. The recommended amount of biotin -- 30 micrograms per day -- should be available to you if you eat a balanced diet.

Vitamin B-12 helps your body break down fatty acids and assists your body in keeping red blood cells and nerve cells healthy. It's found in meat, fish, and shellfish, or as a supplement if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. While taking vitamin B-12 won't make your nails stronger overnight, a lack of it can cause fingernails to dry out, discolor, and become brittle. The recommended dose for adults is 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day. If your fingernails are splitting from a vitamin B-12 deficiency, it's best to speak to a health care professional because that could indicate more serious health problems.

Vitamin C plays a part in making collagen, the protein responsible for skin. Collagen is also present in the cuticles around your nails. A lack of vitamin C may lead to hang nails. A serious deficiency can cause nails to dry out and become brittle. Unless otherwise directed by a health care professional, 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day is necessary for adults. The human body doesn't make vitamin C on its own, so it is important to get the proper amount from diet or a nutritional supplement. Green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries, and peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Specifically, the best six foods to eat that will not only promote good nail health, they will also promote good bone health, include: salmon, eggs, beans, oats, sunflower seeds, and green peas.

When you get a mani or pedi from Traveling Aura, we take special care to hydrate the nail beds with oils. This helps the base coat adhere to the nails as well as infusing moisture in the nail beds, which helps prevent splitting and cracking. Another tip we like to offer if you do your own nails between appointments is to always use a base coat and a top coat. This protects the enamel or gel, makes your mani or pedi last longer, and also helps prevent cracking and splitting. And finally, shop around for a soy-based, acetone-free nail polish remover like Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover ($20, Amazon), with oils that leave nails moisturized.

Here are some tips for preventing split nails:

  • Keep your nails clean and healthy.

  • Refrain from keeping your hands or feet in water for long periods.

  • Use moisturizer on your nails and cuticles.

  • Don’t bite or pick around your nails.

  • Don’t rip or pull your hangnails.

  • Take supplements such as biotin with permission from a doctor.

  • Stop using acetone nail polish remover

  • Reduce anxiety and stress with a spa appointment

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