What causes cracked nails and how to treat them?

It’s happened to the best of us. You’re admiring your perfectly manicured nails when you notice a crack running down one of them. &@%!

Fear not, my friend. There are a variety of reasons why our poor little nails can become cracked and brittle, but luckily there are also plenty of treatments to help get them back in tip-top shape.

The Causes


Dry skin is the enemy of all beauty, and this includes your nails. When we don’t drink enough water or moisturize our hands regularly, it can lead to cracked cuticles which then dry out the nail bed underneath.


If you’re constantly using your hands for manual labor or even just typing on a keyboard all day long, it can put stress on your nails and cause them to weaken over time. They need rest too!

Nutritional Deficiencies

Sometimes we forget that our bodies need specific nutrients for various things–including healthy nail growth! If you’re lacking certain vitamins like biotin (B7), iron or zinc – among others – your lackluster locks could suffer, including those adorable little keratin structures atop each finger tip 😉

Harsh Products

Nail polish remover, acetone-based products and even dish soap (yup) that contain harsh chemicals with regular use might strip away too much from every inch of fingernail leaving them brittle & prone-to-crack at slightest pressure!


Hydration/ Moisturisation

Investing a bit more time in hydrating ourselves externally will keep our skin and nails. Cold temperature air causes dehydration as soon as liquid layer evaporates quickly than usual; parading around without gloves may be inviting trouble (!). Here’s what you should be doing instead:

  • Massaging cuticle oils or a balm multiple times daily can be very helpful in hydrating the nails & surrounding finger area, especially before heading to bed.
  • Overnight treatment: Applying petroleum jelly is also known as occlusion method provides an ultimate powerful sealant which keeps skin and underlying nail bed hydrated for a longer period of time.

Vitamins/Dietary Supplements

Your diet cannot be complete without nutritional intake that’s essential for maintaining growth and wellbeing. These supplements alongside vitamins after consultation from a certified health professional would do wonders! However, some required intakes are mentioned below:

  • Biotin: Eat biotin-rich food sources such as eggs, nuts, avocado, salmon and cauliflower to keep your follicles healthy throughout their life cycle
  • Iron: Vegetarian/vegan? Consider blackstrap molasses with green leafy vegetables like spinach. Meat-eater? Include red meat or turkey every week
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Fish such as salmon(triple omega) helps rejuvenate hair, scalp & hermit included!


Good hygiene practices play role when it comes to avoiding cracked nails:

  • Use gloves when cleaning constantly using harsh chemicals.
  • Refrain from biting at your nails (I see you over there)
  • Stop picking them off altogether (!), just step away!

Nail Care Tools

Many people don’t realise the importance of having right manicure tools; they may prove quite beneficial later on.

Here are important “C’s”to consider before investing on any product:

1. Clippers/Cutters: Clip rather than tearing by gently making tiny snips close to desired length.

2. File only towards one direction instead of going back n’ forth (ensures minimised trauma while helping the structure last more long).

4. Cuticles trimmer – Only push down cuticles with dull instrument & remove excess skin, overuse may result in damage.

5. Buffer block- Provide smooth surface to work with.

Topical Solutions

Aka treatments that are applied locally:

  • Nail hardeners: acts like adhesive coat on top of nails consisting of Acetyl Tributyl Citrate and Keratin proteins which shield the structure from external factors
  • In rare cases antibiotics as prescribed by an expert doctor.

The Takeaway

There are a number of reasons why our nails can crack, but luckily we’ve got plenty of treatments to help them get back into shape! With proper care and attention, your little keratin structures will be looking better than ever before.

Remember: taking good general care for yourself plays equal role as spending money on expensive products (!) so listen to your body needs & try out some home remedies or herbal treatments if medications aren’t preferable.

P.s No need to go through extreme lengths when repairing cracked/brittle nail(s); taking simple precautions does the job just fine.