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How to Stop Nails from Splitting on Sides

How to Stop Nails from Splitting on Sides

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re putting on a sweater or shirt and getting a piece of your nail caught in the fabric, ripping it from your skin, and having you in piercing pain? 

 From experience, I can testify that having split nails is not only an annoyance but, at times, can be super painful. 

 Are you suffering from brittle and splitting nails? Don’t worry; I have some solutions for you. 

Before we get into the meat on the bones, we need to understand what split nails are and why you’re experiencing this dilemma. 

What is a Split Nail?

The medical term for splitting fingernails is Onychoschizia which is not an uncommon problem. 

A split nail is an explanation within itself, having your nails cracking or tearing, and it can be the result of several causes.

Why Do Nails Split?

Long-term exposure to moisture 

How to Stop Nails from Splitting on Sides

If you spend a lot of time with your hands or feet in the water, it can cause your nails to become brittle and weak and result in your nails breaking, cracking, or splitting.


You may have gotten your finger injured while doing chores or playing a sport that may have caused your nail to rip. 

 Wearing tight shoes can also affect your toenails. Having your toenails pressed together for long periods can cause fractures in your toenails over time. 

Picking and biting 

How to Stop Nails from Splitting on Sides

This is one of the most common causes of split nails. I’m guilty of constantly picking at my nails, and when I’m anxious about something, it only gets worse. Regular picking and biting of nails weaken them and make them more susceptible to splitting. Also, you may get a split nail while picking at it. 


Although this is known as a skin affliction, it can also affect your nails. Nail psoriasis causes discoloration and change in the structure of nails, and split nails can be a result of this condition. 

Lack of Vitamins

Nails are made of the protein, Keratin. If you are experiencing splitting nails or unhealthy hair, it may be a result of low keratin levels in your body. Changing up your meal plans to include foods that increase Keratin could be the change you need to get your nails looking healthy and reduce the chances of splitting nails. 

As you can see, there are several causes of split nails.

If your nails are specifically splitting on the sides, your condition may not be severe. There are some methods to treat splitting nails. Before we get into the treatment methods, let’s take a look at how to prevent your nails from splitting in the first place. 

How to Stop Nails from Splitting on Sides

Hydration is Prevention!

Just like your body, nails need to stay hydrated to be healthy. Drinking lots of water hydrates every single part of your body, including your nails. 

When getting your mani-pedi done, make sure the products being used on your hands, feet, and nails contain hydrating and moisturizing formulas. Although we did find that elongated exposure to moisture can have negative effects, it’s important not to dry out your nails. 

Mani-Pedi Time!

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good spa day? We always look forward to it. Believe it or not, the frequency of which we go to the nail spa adds to the health of our nails. If you’re one of the girls that have to get a new set of acrylics or gel nails done every month, you probably should rethink this plan.  

After every manicure or pedicure, it’s advisable to give your nails a break to breathe before replacing them, especially if you’re getting gel or acrylics done. Frequently packing products onto your natural nail only weakens it.  

 When going to remove your current manicure or pedicure, try to give your nails a two-week breather before getting a new set done.   Over time you will notice that even when you get your nails done, they aren’t weak and can handle the products they will carry for some time. 

❖ Avoid using chemicals on your nails. Be keen on the ingredients in the products that you use on your nails. 

For example, nail polish removers. The main ingredients of nail polish removers are acetone and alcohol. These chemicals are harsh to your nails. Opt for acetone-free removers.  When shopping for nail polishes, you want to be choosy. Look for nail polish brands that infuse their products with oils and vitamins that strengthen your nails.  

 For example, the Defy & Inspire Vitamin infused Nail Polish.

Use a nail strengthener. Check your local cosmetic store for a nail strengthener. It comes in a small bottle that looks like nail polish. Apply small drops to your cuticles and massage them into the nails. Having stronger nails will reduce the chances of your nails splitting.  

 One of the top-rated nail strengtheners is the Probelle Nail Strengthener. This product promises to stop your nails from cracking, peeling, and splitting. Another added perk is that you can use this nail strengthener as a base coat and a top coat when doing a mani-pedi. 

Trim and file your nails. Keeping your nails short or at least a medium length will help you avoid injury or mishaps on your nails when going about your day.  

File your nails gently and in a round shape. A rounded shape lessens the chances of your nails getting nabbed by objects and causing rips and strips.  

 Make sure to be gentle when filing your nails to avoid thinning them nails making them easily breakable.  

No glove, no love. 

Use gloves when doing chores that require your hands to be submerged in water. At your local supermarket, you should be able to find cotton-lined rubber gloves that are perfect for carrying out your chores whilst protecting your hands and nails. 

Don’t pick and bite!

Although this is a hard habit to kick, you really have to try if you have split nails. You might be experiencing split nails because of how much you’re picking and biting at your nails. 

Try out these methods to stop your nails from splitting. 

If you are already suffering from split nails, here are some solutions for you to try. 

Treatments for Split Nails

Dr. Dana is a certified podiatrist popularly known as the ‘footdoc.’ She is knowledgeable on all things nails and even came up with a kit to help revive your nails. This kit is easy to use, so you can use it by yourself.

This kit includes the following products:

  1. A nail strengthener 
  2. Nail File and Buffer
  3. Exfoliator 
  4. Primer
  5. Moisturizer 

Doctors Kline and Greene also have treatment products for brittle nails. The Clear + Restore Nail Treatment solution promises to restore and hydrate your damaged nails. It also helps to strengthen your nails to stop nail splitting and breakage.

If you can see clearly where your nail is split, and you are not in any pain, you can cut off the split part and file the nail to avoid further damage. Place a band-aid where your nail split to stop the area from damaging any further or even getting infections if you have a wound. 

Can a Split Nail Grow Back Together?

No, once a nail has split, it can’t grow back together. Scientifically, nails are made up of dead cells. 

A simple analogy would be the skin on our bodies. When we have a scratch and our skin tears, the live cells come together and heal. Nails do not operate like that because they are made up of dead cells.