How to Stop a Running Split Fingernail

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A splitting nail can be a painful experience. A nail split usually starts at the tip of the nail and extends back toward the cuticle, causing pain and sometimes nail bed exposure. Without proper care, the split can cause an infection deep inside the nail bed, leading to even more pain. While split nails are sometimes unavoidable due to work and life duties, you can take some steps to stop the split from growing and help heal your nails with time.

Remove existing nail polish from the split nail using nail polish remover on a cotton ball. Rub at the nail gently until the nail is completely clean.

Apply rubbing alcohol to the split nail with cotton balls to prevent infections.

Trim a piece of thin coffee filter with scissors to cover the entire nail without overlapping the cuticle or end. The coffee filter will act as a replacement nail until the split repairs or grows out.

Apply a coat of clear nail polish to the broken nail. While the polish is still sticky, press gently on the trimmed piece of coffee filter. Smooth out any bumps by running your finger from cuticle to end over the filter. Allow the nail to dry.

Apply another coat of clear nail polish to your nail on top of the filter, and allow it to dry thoroughly. The filter and nail polish will create a hard base so the split doesn’t run any farther.

Trim any excess filter off the tip of your nail if needed using nail clippers. Smooth the end of your nail with a nail file.

Apply nail polish to the fixed nail in the color of your choice.