Aside from ruining a manicure, split nails can be painful and indicative of a larger overall problem. Split nails can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from picking and biting your nails to dryness and exposure to chemicals. The good news is that split nails can be rectified and lifestyle changes may help prevent any reoccurrence.
Trim your nails often, and apply a moisturizing lotion to the nails and cuticles daily. Dermatologist and contributor to the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Lawrence Gibson recommends slightly curving your nails when cutting and cautions individuals against biting or picking at things with your nails.
Although it's possible to suffer from splitting nails all-year-round, according to Carolyn Siegal, a podiatrist and Oprah.com contributor, dry, cracked nails are more prevalent in the winter when individuals wash their hands more frequently, drink less water and are exposed to the harsh, cold winter temperatures. The drying effects of central heating can also exacerbate the situation. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Help to maintain skin hydration by applying moisturizer or hand cream as needed throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to apply after washing your hands, this will help combat the drying effects of excess exposure to water and soap. Should your hands be in water and other soap-like chemicals for extended periods of time, for example: washing the dishes or other household cleaning, be sure to wear gloves.
Limit your exposure to acetone, a chemical that can be found in nail polish and nail polish removers. This can make damage and splitting even worse.
Pamper your dry, split nails with an overnight moisturizing treatment. Slather a heavy amount of moisturizing lotion onto your hands and nails, then slip on a pair of gloves. The lotion will help moisturize your nails, healing any damage and preventing future cracking and splitting, while the gloves protect your sheets by keeping the lotion in place and help your skin absorb the moisture.
Take two to three, 1 mg. biotin supplements everyday for six months. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology biotin strengthens your nails, helping heal cracks and breakage. As with any medication or supplement, speak to your doctor before taking a biotin supplement.