Peeling Nails, Causes, Fingernails, Toenails, Toddler, Cure, Treatment

Peeling nails can be as a result of an array of different causes. For most people, especially toddlers, peeling fingernails or toenails might be as a result of external or internal trauma to the nails. This article entails some of the possible causes of this condition, available cure, and treatment including home remedies you can use when faced with this condition.

Peeling Nail Causes
Peeling Nail Causes

Skin Peeling around Nails

Skin peeling around nails can result from a number of reasons. It can either be due to an infection or frequent washing of hands without using a moisturizer. If you don’t know your medical history or cannot tell the details of your skin condition, it is difficult to know the causes of skin peeling around the nails. The following is an insight of most probable causes of skin peeling around the nails:

Skin Peeling around Nails
Skin Peeling around Nails

1. Allergic reactions

There are several allergens that have a potential to trigger skin peeling around nails. For instance, when the skin around nails is exposed to nail polish or harsh chemicals, irritants in solvents or detergent or even an allergy to nickel or latex all have the capacity to induce peeling of skin. To avoid these reactions, you should avoid the products that cause these reactions.

2. Lack of minerals

Vitamin or calcium deficiency causes dryness of skin directly, which most likely leads to peeling of skin in the end. For this to be resolved, ensure you feed on a balanced diet that offers you the right amount of dietary fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

3. Improper care for nails

Picking or biting at cuticles and nails can cause damage to them and this could lead to the skin around the nails getting infected. For you to resolve this, you should ensure that you pick nails with sterilized tools and avoid biting cuticles.

4. Skin conditions

Skin peeling around the nails could be caused by skin diseases such as Psoriasis, dyshidrosis and eczema

Eczema: this is an inflammation of the skin which results in a dry and itchy skin. It is also called atopic dermatitis.

Psoriasis: this disease affects the life cycle of your skin cells. Those suffering from this disease experience rapid building of cells along the skin surface. This condition will lead to the development of thick scales and painful red patches that may peel after some time.

Dyshidrosis: this disease is not very common. It involves small blisters filled with fluid appearing on your palms as well as sides of the fingers.

For you to cure these skin conditions, you should visit a doctor immediately after you notice signs of these diseases.

5. Infection

Peeling skin around the nails can be as result of chronic infection actually due to moisture or yeast. Bacterial infections can lead to several skin disorders that can trigger lesions which make a long term to heal.

Treatment: to cure these infections, application of antibacterial and antifungal will help to clear up fungi and bacteria.

Peeling Fingernails

Nails have multiple layers that can peel. Peeling of nails can make them appear thin and become weakened making them split. Onychoschizia is the medical term for peeling and splitting fingernails.

The nail consists of three features: the nail plate, the nail matrix and the nail bed that is the skin beneath the nail plate. Your nails are made up of small oncocytes cells that are very delicate.

The nail plate is the hard part composed of mainly dead cells (keratin) and thus can dry out or cracks just like the skin. The nail can also absorb since it is also permeable: more than the permeability of the skin.

Are your fingernails peeling? There are many reasons that could lead to peeling of your fingernails, ranging from handling chemicals, excessive exposure to water, infections or skin conditions. Some of these conditions might include the following.

Excessive exposure to water

If your hands are constantly exposed to water, they become moist. Consequently, your fingernails begin to break or tear particularly when your fingernails are long.

Handling of harmful chemicals

Frequent handling of harmful chemicals can struck trauma and physical damage to the hands. For this reason, it is important to handle chemical substances using protective garments, this way you will prevent your fingernails from peeling.


Injuries on the nails lead to splitting and peeling. Fingernails could be damaged if they are used to scrap against rough surfaces. To resolve this condition, you should keep your nails trimmed and use gloves when working with your hands.

Poor diet

Peeling fingernails is an indication of some nutrient deficiency. For that reason, eating a balanced, nutritious diet is important for the health of all parts of your body, including your fingernails. You should have a protein-rich diet for rigid, stronger nails. Eating omega-3 acids in the form of fish twice a week is also helpful.

Peeling Toenails

Peeling toenails can be a result of varied reasons. The most common peeling toenails cause is a fungal infection. Other causes can be due to lack of proper foot care, trauma, overexposure to water, and dry air. Vitamin and mineral deficiency can lead to toenail damage such as peeling.

These causes have been covered in this article under the causes of peeling nails. Here is an insight of how to remedy the situation though:

  • Too much air and sunlight exposure on the toe: This may lead to dryness and peeling. If you would travel for long, wear socks beneath your sandals or wear properly fitting shoes. If your toenails are already peeling, apply petroleum jelly before wearing your socks.
  • Soak your toenails: This is done in a basin or bowl of lemon juice. It helps strengthen and naturally moisturize your toenails.
  • Eat healthily: Eat foods especially those that are rich in calcium and vitamins E and D. Taking lots of fibrous foods and those that are high in protein can also solve your toenail problem.
  • Trim your nails: Keep your toenails well-trimmed and for a while avoid using nail polish and nail polish remover as they may contain harsh ingredients that could dry and peel off your toenails.

Peeling Nails NHS

Peeling nails are often just a sign of aging or long-term exposure to water or chemicals such as detergents and nail polish.

Wearing gloves will help protect your nails while doing work where your hands are exposed to water. Regularly applying moisturizing cream to your fingers and nails will also help protect them.

Sometimes, peeling nails can be caused by:

Peeling Nails Causes

Fingernails and toenails can peel as a result of some health conditions, but if its only fingernails that peel, the cause could be external. The following is an insight of some of the causes of peeling of nails:

  • Trauma: Crushing the base of nail or nail bed may cause peeling of nails. This happens for example when you use your fingers to scrap rough surfaces. Nail biting also leaves fingernails ragged and prone to more peeling. Nails could also peel due to long-term exposure to moisture or nail polish.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Handling of chemicals can dry out your fingernails if you don’t apply moisturizer prior to handling them. Colored nail polish and nail polish remover that contains acetone can cause peeling to your nails. The effects of these chemicals are remedied by limiting exposure and using moisturizers. You can also apply a coat of clear nail polish once a week to prevent damage.
  • Weather changes: Some conditions like winter are characterized by low moisture in the atmosphere. Lack of moisture make the nails dry and could, therefore, lead to peeling of nails.
  • Infections: Nails can peel if you suffer from viral, fungal or bacterial infections of nails. Severe infection could lead to peeling of both toenails and fingernails. A secondary infection like psoriasis might also occur. This disease is characterized by small perforations or pits on the nails. The nail also becomes raised and tender and finally separates from the finger or toe.
  • Artificial or acrylic nails: Do you have fake nails? Before you go for a gel manicure or get acrylic nails, consider peeling as one of the risks. You should consider the shape of your nails first, round nails peel easily than those slightly rounded.
  • Medication: There are some medicines whose side effects are nails peeling. These include chemotherapy medicines. Some antibiotics can lift nails from nail bed too.

Peeling Nails Vitamin Deficiency

Color, shape, and texture of your nails do tell much about the state of your health. It is important to frequently check your nails to see if they are healthy. Lack of fruits as part of your diet, vegetables, and food rich in proteins means our nails cannot get the nutrients they need to keep healthy. Change your diet to include more healthy proteins, amino acids and the entire range of B vitamins

Vitamins and minerals can strengthen nails and make them immune to peeling or cracking. These vitamins required for strong nails include; vitamin A, B-12, C, D. lack of zinc, iron, protein, and calcium could also lead to peeling of nails.

To remain strong, you nails need the following minerals:


Zinc is a vital mineral in keeping your body healthy. Zinc contributes toward wound scarring, immunity, and nail and hair growth. To boost levels of zinc in your body, you should eat foods rich in zinc which include seafood, zinc-fortified breakfast cereals, and lean meat. You should regulate the minerals you eat too since they could upset your stomach. In conclusion, zinc deficiency causes dry and peeling nails.


Iron is necessary for your body to produce red blood cells. Most of the iron supply in your body is found in the blood. To remedy this condition of iron deficiency; eat more dried fruits, beans, and dark leafy vegetables. Iron deficiency can also be resolved through consumption of red meat, turkey, and eggs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a well-known vitamin is consumed through food. Vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen, which is a component of hair, skin, and fingernails. Vitamin C deficiency can result in brittle nails causing the growth of both your hair and fingernails to slow down since the body cannot produce vitamin C, it is important you consume foods that are rich in this nutrient, like berries, citrus fruits and juices, and green vegetables.

B-Group Vitamins

Biotin, part of the vitamin B family and also known as vitamin H, is essential for maintaining fingernail health. The chance of developing a vitamin B deficiency increases as you age, and it can lead to dry and peeling nails. Biotin helps the rest of the B-complex of vitamins work together to maintain strong, shiny fingernails. To avoid biotin deficiency, eat liver, cauliflower, carrots, and salmon.

Peeling Nails and Thyroid

Nail abnormalities can be a revealing sign of underlying diseases. Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormones. This condition is characterized by weakness and fatigue; you should consult a doctor to see if this is the cause of peeling nails.

The clinical names for overactive thyroid gland are hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid) and thyrotoxicosis (poisoning by the thyroid). This could be as a result of;

  • Toxic multinodular goiter- this is an enlarged thyroid gland that has lumps on it that have become overactive.
  • Thyroiditis: this is an infection of inflammation of thyroid gland, which may temporarily cause excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland will be painful and tender. It may be painful to swallow.

The effect of these thyroid infections on nails is that they appear thick and flaky. They may become loose at the nail bed, where dirt collects and the tips may rise up. The fingertips may also swell. This could make the nails to peel at last.

Peeling Nails in Toddlers, Child

Toddlers have very thin nails and they may shed with no obvious reason. Peeling of nails in nails can occur without any cause of concern. A non-specific cause of nail shedding is presumed to be a temporary interruption to normal nail growth and development. Nails are a reflection of the child’s general health and a more longstanding problem of the nails may rarely be an indicator of underlying medical condition.

The following is an insight of common disorders in children that could lead to peeling of nails:

Onychomadesis: this condition makes all nails to separate from nail bed and cuticle and peel off completely. The shedding of nails can be associated with viral infections.

Onycholysis: this condition makes the fingernail to separate from the nail bed. In children, this is usually due to trauma and it is at times seen with autoimmune as well.

Koilonychias: the nails during this condition appear scooped out, due to the thin, soft nature of a child’s nails. This condition has been linked to iron deficiency

How to Fix Peeling Nails

Apart from once in a month manicure, your nails need a lot of caring too. The nail may grow soft and automatically peel off leaving you in a sad state. Some people have naturally thinner nails and this may predispose them to peel. Here is a quick fix on how to help your weak nails from peeling:

1. Nail strengthener

You should use nail strengtheners and replace them with polishing. You should check to ensure they are in perfect condition.

2. Stop self-manicures

Avoid wearing fake nails, applying the bad gels and nail paints especially if your nails are thin. Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone since that may damage your cuticles and lead to peeling of your nails

3. Use cuticle cream

Cuticle cream contains vitamin E which is essential in treating nails and making them healthy. You should apply this cream to your fingers regularly and the results will be impressive.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil is a great moisturizer and therefore it’s a great way to fix peeling nails. Soak your nails in a bowl containing virgin olive oil. For a week or so, continue to do it every day for a period of 15 to 20 minutes. After a week, you can soak your nails twice in a week. Continue with this treatment for a while and you will enjoy healthy and pretty nails. In fact, this treatment would definitely cure your peeling nails.

5. Massage your nails

A massage induces blood circulation and makes nails stronger and healthier. For proper massage, apply a moisturizing lotion to massage your hands and the cuticles. This helps in treating peeling nails.

Peeling Nails Treatment, Cure

Peeling nails may be as a result of varied causes, including skin conditions, infections, exposure to chemicals and excessive immersion in water. Considering what might have caused your nails to peel, you will be able to administer the most appropriate cure for peeling off your nails. The following is an insight of the most effective treatments for peeling nails:

6. Regular visits to a dermatologist

A dermatologist will help you examine your peeling for signs of an infection. In event of fungal infections or psoriasis, the doctor or dermatologist will prescribe the most appropriate medication for the complication.

7. Rehydrate nails

This is done by massaging the nails twice a day using nail oil that contains vitamin E or jojoba oil. These oils can penetrate nail plates for peeling nails, drawing larger vitamin E molecules with them.

8. Use olive oil and lemon

Olive oil is one of the best moisturizers while lemon juice contains antioxidant vitamin C which protects nails, removes stains and encourages stronger growth.

To use olive oil and lemon together effectively;

  • simply mix 3 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice,
  • Heat to just above body temperature
  • Submerge your fingertips in the solution for 10 minutes.
  • Repeat this daily for best results.

9. Eat balanced diet

You should consult your dietitian to make sure you get adequate proteins. Nails especially fingernails are rigid protein structures that reflect good health. Take daily multivitamin which includes B-complex vitamins, this helps restore peeling nails back to health.

10. Biotin supplement

Biotin is also known as vitamin H, is a vital nutrient for the body’s production of keratin- the fibrous protein. Biotin is very important for strong healthy nails. It is an effective treatment for peeling nails.

  • Take a biotin supplement daily to strengthen your weak nails. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
  • Also include biotin-rich foods like egg yolks, whole grains, cereals, cauliflower, soybeans, fish, milk, lentils, and bananas in your daily diet.

Peeling Nails Remedy

How badly have your nails peeled? Peeling nails may be a symptom of underlying health condition and for that reason, it is important to seek doctor’s advice on the kind of medication you could use. There are also some natural remedies that you could apply at home for healthy nails. The following is an insight of some of the remedies for peeling nails:

Wear gloves

The most common reasons for peeling of nails is exposure to moisture. For this reason, fingernails become soft and start to peel. Wearing gloves when handling water or harmful chemicals could be a perfect remedy for your peeling nails.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil works have great moisturizing and strengthening qualities for the nails. Coconut oil contains fungal and antibacterial properties that could fight any fungi leading to peeling of your nails. Coconut gets easily absorbed into both skin and nails, it is because of this quality that it is used to penetrate deep inside the nails and kill the fungi.

Slightly warm some coconut oil and apply it on each nail. Massage gently and thoroughly for five minutes. This will improve blood circulation and keep the nails moisturized. Follow this remedy two to three times daily.

Apple cider vinegar

This remedy is rich with nutrients that ensure your nails are healthy. The nutrients and acid naturally found in apple cider vinegar are not only great for strengthening nails, they are also known to heal and prevent microbial infections. The following is the procedure for applying apple cider vinegar:

  • Mix equal amounts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water in a small bowl.
  • Soak your nails in this solution for a few minutes.
  • Immediately after, gently push down the cuticles.
  • Do this once daily and within a few days your nails will become much stronger.

Eat proper diet

Peeling nails can be boosted by increasing intake of certain vitamins and minerals. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are evenly distributed by the body, therefore, if these nutrients are in short supply, hair and nails will be the areas that are forced to do with less. The essential nutrients for healthy nails are biotin, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C, copper, zinc, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin E oil

This oil is an effective moisturizer for healthy nails. This oil may be taken orally in capsule form, or be used topically. You should massage vitamin E oil into your nails and cuticles for more than 5 minutes each night before you sleep.

Moisturizing creams

Creams play an integral part in softening cuticle, this offers protection for the nail beds.

How to Get Rid of Peeling Skin around Nails – Video

Our Sources and references

  1. Peeling nails NHS:
  2. Peeling nails causes:
  3. Peeling nails vitamin deficiency:
  4. Peeling nails in toddlers, child:
  5. Peeling nails treatment, cure:
  6. Peeling nails remedy:


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