Why do fingernails peel?

And, more importantly, how can I prevent it?

My nails vary between fairly healthy and strong and peeling and thin. There must be some trigger for the switch, but I can’t figure out what it is. Currently, they are in a peeling phase. Some of them are so bad that the top layer has peeled off about half of the nail. :eek:

As for fixes/prevention, I’ve tried everything I can think of. I protect them from water and chemicals as much as possible. I keep them nicely filed. I keep polish on them. When they are peeling, none of that helps. When they’re good, none of it is needed.

So SDMB, what am I missing? :confused:

It may be a vitamin deficiency in your diet. Have you changed what you’re eating lately?

Antectdotally, I noticed a change in my fingernails after I started drinking bottled water instead of tap water . . . perhaps the bottled water has more minerals or a lack of nail-weakening chemicals.

You can buy special vitamins which strengthen fingernails (and hair)-- you can probably find them at any vitamin store, and I think some of the chains like Wal-Mart and K-Mart carry them.

Until they have time to grow out, you may want to think about putting a coating over your nails, if they’re getting to the point where it’s painful. There’s a product called Hard As Nails which is applied like a nail polish which, well, hardens your nails.

If you haven’t already, you should show your nails to your family doctor when they are in a peeling phase.

According to this cite (http://ms.essortment.com/fingernailsheal_rzxn.htm ), nails that peel away in layers are usually due to an inadequate diet and they suggest increasing protein & calcium intake & a doctor-recommend vitamin & mineral supplement. They do point out that people with certain problems with digestion (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome) may have significant problems with this problem.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the suggestions! My diet has been less than perfect lately; now I have one more reason to fix it. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can find a decent vitamin supplement.

serious lark , I don’t know why, but it’s never occured to me to ask my doctor about it. I’ll try to remember it for my next appointment.

My nails, which had chronically peeled for my whole life, have just in the last two weeks grown in healthy and strong. I started taking GNC’s Women’s Ultra Mega vitamins a couple of months ago, so I think that’s the difference.

And by the way–nailpolish always made my nails peel much more. It’s bad stuff, for me.

I’ve heard that gelatin strengthens nails. So maybe you could try eating more Jello?

Or bite them?