What causes peeling nails - and how to fix them

What causes peeling nails - and how to fix them

19 March 2024 – 3 min read

Dealing with peeling, flaking or nails that are more dehydrated than the Sahara Desert? It happens. There are a number of potential environmental and health causes that could be behind your issues - some of the most common being overexposure to water, age, a nutritional deficiency and (sorry!) the regular use of acrylics or gel manicures. Fortunately, though, peeling nails are not only treatable but preventable. 

Below, we break down everything you need to know about peeling nails, including how our Ultimate Nail Rescue can get dry, damaged nails back in tip-top shape. 

What causes peeling nails? 

Peeling nails can be the result of too little or too much moisture. The former from repeatedly getting the nails wet and then drying them, and the latter from prolonged water exposure during household chores.

Damage, peeling and flaking might also result from one too many acrylic manicures, wearing false nails such as press-ons, filing the nail too much or ripping your gel mani off.

Peeling nails could also indicate something happening internally like a deficiency in B vitamins, calcium, iron or fatty acids. So before you treat your peeling nails with the following remedies, check your toenails, too. If they're also peeling, see a doctor or naturopath to rule out health-related causes.

How to treat peeling nails

The good news is that you can help bring your nails back to health with our Ultimate Nail Rescue set. Infused with a host of ultra-nourishing ingredients like antioxidant-rich green tea extract, Vitamin E and sweet almond oil, Rest & Repair Mask is an overnight treatment that works by hydrating the keratin cells of the nails. Think of it as a serum but for your nails, making them smoother, healthier and more hydrated. Self Love Oil protects against water absorption, softens cuticles and promotes healthy nail growth. It’s a win-win. 

How to use: To repair dry and damaged nails, massage Rest & Repair Mask into bare nails using the applicator and leave overnight, then rinse off with warm water in the morning. Finish with Self Love Oil for extra hydration and TLC. Repeat for 4-6 weeks or until your natural nails appear smooth and uniform.

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How to prevent peeling nails

Nails are porous and absorb water readily. When nails absorb water, they expand, and when they dry out, they contract. Repeated cycles of expansion and contraction weaken the nail structure over time, leading to brittleness and peeling.

Water alone is not the only culprit. Harsh detergents, cleaning agents and solvents often used in household chores can further strip nails of their natural oils and weaken them. That’s why we suggest avoiding products that could be dehydrating your nails like harsh nail polish remover, hand sanitiser and anything else solvent or alcohol-based, plus wearing gloves while doing the dishes and cleaning.

To maintain strong nails, it's essential to strike a balance between keeping them adequately hydrated and preventing excessive exposure to water and harsh chemicals. Moisturising and protecting your nails can help mitigate the negative effects of water exposure.

Enter Self Love Oil, one half of the Ultimate Nail Rescue set, which promises to replace the natural oils and moisture you lose on the daily with a blend of jojoba, sweet almond and avocado oil, plus vitamin E. Apply a generous coat over each nail and cuticle and gently massage in small, circular motions moving towards your hand. For best results, apply before bed and let the oil work its magic overnight. Also key: apply before swimming and showering to help protect your nails from water damage. 

Struggling with other nail issues?

Here’s a rundown of how to treat damaged nails depending on your concern.

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