How to Fix Peeling Nails

A facial peel is fine, but peeling nails? Uh, no thanks. Peeling nails don’t look very pretty, but they can get pretty annoying. It can be difficult not to pick at your nails if they’re peeling or uneven. Snags and rough spots are not the look you’re going for, right?

Acrylic and gel can all leave your natural nails dry and peeling. Allowing your nails to “rest” for a few days between faux nail applications is key to keeping your nails healthy.

Peeling nails can cause your nail polish to chip faster and your nails to remain on the shorter side. Weak nails have a difficult time growing long because they are prone to breaking.

We’ll walk you through the steps on how to smooth out and repair your nails easily at home. 

What Causes Peeling Nails?

Peeling nails can be caused by wearing acrylic or gel nails. These types of nails cause the nail bed to become weak due to the amount of filing, buffing, soaking, and chemicals used. Your poor nails endure a lot. 

In addition to acrylics and gels, there are other reasons why your nails may be weak and peeling. Let’s take a look at a few of them.


That’s right, too much moisture can lead to brittle, peeling nails. If you wash your hands a lot or have your hands in water frequently, this can cause your nails to become weak. 

Nail strengthening polish and treatments can help protect your nails from absorbing water. Hand moisturizers with humectants are another good option for protecting your nails from the environment. Wearing gloves while doing chores will protect your nails too.

Over Buffing/Filing

Filing your nails the wrong way can lead to nail damage. Always make sure you’re filing in one direction and not in a back and forth see-saw motion. This can lead to tears in your nails. Also, over-buffing can cause damage to the nail bed and lead to peeling. Buffing should be done in the same way filing is done, in one direction.

Vitamin Deficiencies

If you don’t wear fake nails and your digits are still always peeling, this may be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. These deficiencies would have to be extreme to cause a noticeable difference in the appearance of your nails, though. 

Mild iron deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency that causes peeling nails. A diet high in iron-rich foods can help. See your doctor if you have any concerns or before you start any special diet.

Tools You Need to Fix Peeling Nails

So we’ve established that your nails are peeling and you want them fixed, fast. There are a few tools you’ll need in order to repair your dry, cracked, peeling nails. Most of them you should already have at home.

  1. Nail file - Make sure it is a fine-grit nail file. These tend to be more gentle on your nails.
  2. Nail buffer
  3. Cuticle oil
  4. Hand cream
  5. Optional: Nail strengthener treatment

Once you have everything, let’s get started!

How to Repair Your Peeling Nails

Your nails are crying for attention. They are tired and need a vacation. Let’s give them one so that you can relax, knowing that your nails look and feel better.

  1. Grab a fine-grit nail file. We recommend using a glass file or a cushion board file. Gently shape your nails into the shape you want them to be. Remember to file going in the same direction, never in a back and forth motion. Your goal is to repair your nails, not cause more damage.
  2. After you’ve finished shaping, buff the tops of your nails. Please do this gently. Your nails are already weak and brittle, so just a light buffing is all they need. The purpose of buffing is to smooth out the top peeling layers and rough spots. Buff your nails lightly, going in the same direction, not back and forth, just like you did when you filed. Don’t apply a lot of heavy pressure to your nails. 
  3. Rinse your hands in warm soapy water to remove the dust from the filing and buffing. Dry your hands thoroughly and make sure your nails are dry also.
  4. Apply cuticle oil to your cuticles and nail beds and hand cream to your hands. Your hands deserve the extra pampering too.
  5. Nail strengtheners are made to help repair and harden your natural nails with special ingredients such as biotin and proteins. Your local beauty store will carry these. If you choose to use a nail strengthener, follow the package instructions.

How to Maintain Healthy Nails

Maintaining healthy nails is important in order to avoid fungus and infections. It is recommended to allow your nails to have a “break” for a few days between gel nail and acrylic nail applications. 

If you are visiting a nail salon, make sure that they follow proper sanitation procedures. There are a few other things you can do to make sure your nails remain healthy.

  • Hydrate from the inside out by drinking water to help maintain healthy nails. Also, eat a vitamin-rich diet, such as fruits and veggies. 
  • Don’t use your nails as a tool. Popping those soda cans open with your claws is a big no-no. This causes broken, weak nails. 
  • Nail strengtheners and nail treatments help to rebuild and harden your nails to make them stronger. Read the package before using these treatments to make sure that you understand how they work. Some treatments require several days to complete the entire re-building protocol.
  • Don’t bite, pick, or peel your nails. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when that tiny trace of a frayed nail is peeling, it can seem impossible not to do something about it. Grab your fine-grit nail file and gently file it away. 

The Finishing Act

Peeling nails can be frustrating, but they don’t have to steal your joy. There are easy solutions to correcting the problem. You can regain healthy, strong nails easily in no time.

If you want glam nails, but you don’t want all of the chemicals and nail damage involved with acrylics and gel nails, choose Glamnetic press-on nails.

Press-ons are much more gentle on your nails than acrylic overlays and gel. Application and removal of press-on nails are much easier and require much less time too. 

We have designed our nails to be waterproof, chip-resistant, and reusable. So you can apply them and go about your day. No appointment needed!

We at Glamnetic have designed our nails to be trendy, so they come in an array of colors, lengths, and styles. If you’ve never tried press-on nails, or if you just can’t decide on a set, take our nail quiz. You’ll soon be on your way to a set of fabulous digits!



Tips for healthy nails | AAD

Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake | Nutrition | CDC

What Is Nail Strengthener? (with pictures) | Wise Geek

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