What Causes Nails to Split? This Is What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You

what causes nails to split

Brittle nails, which is often characterized by the splitting or breaking off of the nail, is found in 20% of the population.

Of those affected, the majority are women. And as women age, the splitting or breaking usually worsens. However, what causes nails to split is not entirely down to these factors.

Let’s explore a few of the many health conditions and lifestyle choices that explain what causes the nail to split or break.

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What Causes Nails To Split & Break?

There are many causes for nail splitting, breaking and peeling. But most of the causes have simple and reasonable solutions.

The following conditions are some of the most common reasons that nails to split and break:

Iron Deficiency

Another cause of nail splitting or breaking is iron deficiency. Low iron has been found to cause brittle nails and splitting.

This is because iron allows your body to produce a chemical called hemoglobin. Without this chemical in your body, you may experience particularly cold feet and hands.

You can solve iron deficiency when you eat iron-rich foods, such as fish. However, iron supplements are also available.

Excess Moisture

Moisture is one of the most common explanations for splitting nails.

By frequently wetting your hands, your nails will dry out. Moisture can also act to soften your nails, which subsequently causes the nail to peel or crack.

You can better protect your hands and fingernails by wearing gloves, although it may be inconvenient. Such as when you wash dishes, for instance.

There are also lotions available to reduce dryness, and thus, prevent your nails breaking.

Injuries And Damage

If you repeatedly damage or injure your nails, they will be weakened to the point that they continuously split, peel and break.

Many people develop a habit of regularly biting their nails. This often leaves nails severely damaged.

Sometimes, if hands are used as tools in your workplace or at home, this can result in further damage.

You can reduce this impact by keeping your nails trimmed and short and filing them frequently.

Exposure To Chemicals

Another common cause of nail splitting and breaking is exposure to chemicals. These chemicals include those found in everyday household cleaning items.

However, nail polish and nail polish remover can also result in damage to your nails. This is especially the case with colored nail polish. Therefore, it is recommended to use clear polish instead.

If your nails regularly split, then you may consider reducing the exposure of your nails and fingers to such substances.

Suffering From Hypothyroidism

The condition hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a condition in which your body does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone.

Nail breaking or peeling is usually a symptom of the condition. Other symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, and general weakness.

If you are experiencing these symptoms in addition to damaged nails, you should book an appointment with your doctor to get a diagnosis.


Now that you know what causes nails to split and break, make these changes to your lifestyle today.

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Written by Cary Byrd

Cary Byrd, owner of is on a mission to help people feel better using natural remedies and making wise choices into healthier lives, they love (and truly desire). - Compare Prescription Drug Prices and Get Free Medication Coupons