Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

topic posted Mon, March 3, 2008 - 5:51 PM by  Darth
Help!!! All my life I've had this problem with finger nails that crack and split, and I don't know what to do about it. They become worse when I work with my hands a lot, as is my current situation (working in a machine shop and doing handyman work.)

I've used Sally Hansen's "Advanced Hard as Nails" before, and while it works ok, it hasn't solved the problem entirely. I'm guessing that I'm missing some important minerals in my body, but don't really want to consume lots of calcium, because of the chance of over-calcification, which can lead to other problems.

So...anybody here with experience in this area that might be able to help me?

Thanks in advance...
posted by:
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Tue, March 4, 2008 - 8:01 AM
    They say soaking them in lemon juice strengthens them...haven't tried it though
    • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

      Tue, March 4, 2008 - 8:54 AM
      Don't have health insurance, so expensive tests are out of the equation.

      I've just performed a Google search, and several people mention Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7. Apparently it's necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. Biotin is also frequently recommended for strengthening hair and nails. One person claimed to have strengthened her nails in only three weeks by taking three 2,500 unit caps per day, then cutting back to one cap per day.

      I think I'll give this one a try first, and see if it helps...
      • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

        Tue, March 4, 2008 - 10:16 AM
        I get cracked, splitting nails when I'm not taking my thyroid medication. You might want to look into pure virgin coconut oil, as that has been reported as a boost to thyroid production. Since I have started including a couple tablespoons a day in my diet, I notice I do ok without the synthroid pills.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

          Tue, March 4, 2008 - 10:22 AM

          i would lather pure lanolin all over my hands
          and massage it well into my fingers
          and then sleep with soft
          white kitten gloves on
          after that

          warm olive oil as an alternative

          (i do this for my feet in the winter, too)

          wonderful, baby soft feeling
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Tue, March 4, 2008 - 11:20 AM
    I would recommend you don't cut, but file regularly (and only file in one direction; from the outside --> in). If you're not careful with the clippers, cutting can shock the nails and create more damage (same thing goes for filing vigorously back & forth). Buffing the tops may help as well. Smoothing existing damaged spots will help you to not snag them & damage them more. It may be worth it to get a good manicure to get you started.

    I use Sally Hanson's strengtheners. The one I like the best is in the green square bottle. (I don't know what it's called off the top of my head...)

    I've had a split in one of my nails for years (think I slammed it in a door or something - it's been so long I don't even remember!). They are like cowlicks; really hard to get rid of. Good luck! =)
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Wed, March 5, 2008 - 6:11 AM
    I had this problem (along with chronically dry skin and hair and a persistent feeling of being too cold) until I found out that even though I had always tested in the low end of the "normal" range for thyroid fact I need thyroid support. My hair, skin and nails are completely happy now that I take a daily supplement. I take LA-T3 which you can read about at

    I'm hearing you say you can't afford tests because of cost...but honestly the change in my overall health and vitality is so dramatic...I think I would have to say I couldn't afford NOT to look into this.
    • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

      Wed, March 5, 2008 - 7:16 AM
      Thanks again everybody for all the great responses...

      I read about the lanolin and olive oil rubs on other web sites I perused when I did my Google search on the subject. I also read about filing and not cutting one's nails, and so will try that too for a while.

      My thyroid was checked a few years ago and the results came out fine, so I know it's not that. And the fact that I've had the problem nails for decades before that test was done, further reinforces that it's something else. And I have broached the subject a number of times with doctors, throughout the years, but have never gotten any useful help or feedback.

      The postings here have actually provided me with more info than I got from the different doctors, and I'm finally frustrated enough to try and figure this out via another approach, hence why I've posted to this tribe...

      I have noticed previously that when I can take a break from manual labor my nails bounce back (somewhat) and split less, but within a couple days of working with my hands again the problem returns, and it returns quickly. Unfortunately, I'm not currently able at the moment to give my hands a rest from the work I do, in order to give my nails the opportunity to heal, so I'm going to have to put some time and energy and focus into what I CAN do for them, all while working...
  • Unsu...

    Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Fri, March 7, 2008 - 5:07 AM
    You can massage almond oil onto your fingernails to moisturize and soften them (softer nails don't split!). I use a buffer to smooth out my nails and this is what the directions say to do to help the nail.

    As for "over-calcification," I am not sure I buy that. Yes, far too much calcium can lower your magnesium levels, but you stand a greater risk of developing bone diseases by NOT consuming calcium (along with Vits D and K, potassium, zinc, iron, etc.). Osteo* diseases don't have a gender preference.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

      Fri, March 7, 2008 - 8:25 AM

      the "over calcifcation" i believe comes from dairy products...
      (my ex suffered from calcium deposits on his back
      and i learned all about this)

      better to get natural calcium from fruits, veges, nuts, seeds...
      • Unsu...

        Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

        Fri, March 7, 2008 - 5:14 PM
        It sounds to me like your ex had hyperostosis, which is an excess of bone growth along the vertebrae. It causes inflammation of the muscles and can be tremendously painful.

        Bone occurs through osteoblasts, which are cells in the bones that absorb and rebuild bone that has been cleared away by osteoclasts. The (excessive) rate of growth comes from heredity, weight-bearing injuries, and diseases like Engelmann's. You don't get excess bone from consuming too much dairy, which is more likely to upset your digestive track than your bone structure. I speak from ten years of experience with bone disease patients and I can confidently say that cutting dairy from your diet altogether is a big mistake.

        But I will heartily agree with you that calcium from fruits (like oranges), veggies (kale and broccoli), nuts, and seeds is a fantastic way to get additional calcium. Lentils, too.
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Sat, March 8, 2008 - 11:37 AM
    You may also want to try taking oils internally. Chewing on unground raw flax seeds is good, and taking a supplement if you have to like borage, evening primrose, or black currant oil might also help - take it daily for a time and see if you notice a difference.
    • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

      Thu, March 13, 2008 - 11:20 PM
      I am a nail professional so I thought I would offer some help. First off, calcium does NOTHING for your nails. Your nails are mostly made of keratin which is a protein, thats why Biotin will help make your nails stronger because it is a protein. It sound like your problem is mostly due to outside forces (hard manual labor). So the best thing you can do is coat them and condition them I wouldn't use anything strengthening if your nails are cracking and peeling because that is a sign they are dry and a strengthening polish will just dry them out more. And condition them with some sort of oil. The best oil is CND's SolarOil. It has jojoba oil, rice bran oil, almond oil and vit E. The jojoba oil allows it to penetrate deep into the nail plate and hydrate it. Which means less cracking and splitting. PM your address and I will send you some SolarOil. It's great stuff.

      And its also true that its a lot what your born with. Your matrix is the birthplace of your nail cells and it determines the shape of your nail plate. So if you have a wide matrix then your nail plate is wide. The deeper your matrix is, the thicker your nail plate is. So you cannot make your nails thicker. But, you can make them more tough by creating more crosslinks in the nail plate. Crosslinks hold the sheets of keratin together and so the more you have the tougher your nails are. A good strengthening base coat can create crosslinks in the nail plate but just be careful because a lot of strengthening base coats use formaldehyde as their main ingredient. But as I stated before, I don't think you need a strengthening base coat. Just a regular base coat or polish and SolarOil.
      • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

        Mon, March 17, 2008 - 8:03 AM
        Hi Phaedra:

        I sent you a private message four or five days ago, and am wondering if you got it. Maybe it's in your "other mail" folder? Sometimes Tribe sends unsolicited mail there, so maybe you can check, then get back to me...

        : D
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Mon, March 17, 2008 - 9:23 AM
    Lately I've been lazy and have just been cutting my nails off with the clippers. Sadly, I've been super cracky & peely since then. When I just file, I don't have as bad nails. I use jojoba oil daily on my entire body, but nails still crap.

    I do have Thyroid disease, though, but I've been good with my pills, so who knows.

    Suppliments may help, it certainly seems logical.
  • Re: Remedy for cracked, split finger nails?

    Wed, August 5, 2009 - 9:09 AM
    I also have split nails and have tried various things. I want to do this naturally. I am now taking biotin and silica and have been for the last 3 months, which I thought had helped but I see that it has only slightly, as I still have several nails splitting. I plan on increasing the amounts of both to see if that works. I will let you know after I give it a bit of time. I read through all the postings for this and would like to try the SolarOil. Do you know where I can purchase it? Thanks. Susan

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