5 Causes Of Thin Peeling Nails And How To Care For Them

Posted by Ren Wu

Paper Thin Nails Causes

Your nails can be a canvas for gorgeous art, but they can also suffer at times. Here are five reasons your nails might be thin or peeling and how to fix them!

At A Glance

  1. You aren't eating enough nutrients to keep your nails strong
  2. You're overusing polish or acrylics
  3. Things like peeling polish are damaging your nails
  4. You've over-buffed your nails, leading to dry and brittle nails
  5. Your nails are too wet

See Related: 3 Hippie Bohemian Nail Designs For 2023

#1. You Might Have A Nutrient Deficiency

Your nails are a natural part of your body. So, if they're suffering, it could be because your system isn't giving them the support they need to thrive.

If you have low calcium or a deficiency in iron, vitamin B, or vitamin D, your nails might not be as healthy as they could be. In particular, a lack of iron, biotin, and vitamin C can cause peeling or thin nails.

Make Sure You Get Your Vitamins

Other nutrients important for healthy nails include vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, and protein. A lack of these nutrients in the diet can also contribute to the development of thin or peeling nails.

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Eat A Healthy And Rich Diet

Your nails are made from a substance known as keratin, which can be made stronger when you eat a nutrient-rich diet. So make sure you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. 

It also might be a good idea to take certain supplements, especially if you’re a nail artist. You need a healthy canvas for your creativity to thrive!

#2. You're Overusing Nail Polish Or Acrylics

Nail art can be a fun and creative pastime, but overdoing it can cause some serious damage to your nails. Most commonly, not treating your nails right when getting a manicure can cause your nails to become brittle and even peel.

Overusing polish or acrylics can cause nails to become thin and peel due to the chemicals and harsh solvents contained in these products. The complex chemicals in these products can weaken nails and make them more prone to peeling and breakage.

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Don't Over Use Polish Or Acrylics

Make sure you're not applying and reapplying polish too frequently. This can dry out your nails, as can removing your polish too aggressively. 

Acrylic nails can also cause damage to your nails as acrylic nails are often applied to your natural nails with glue, making them all the more difficult to remove.

Using Nail Polish The Right Way At Home

However, keep in mind there's nothing wrong with using polish and giving yourself a set of new nails! Nail art is a great way to become involved in a creative passion and practice self-expression.

Gorgeous At-Home Manicures Have Never Been So Easy

For example, at Maniology, we created our iconic nail stamping kits to give you the power to create unique and intricate nail designs right at home. Our nail stamping subscription boxes let you create endless designs on your nails in just five simple steps.

Even our nail polishes can strengthen and moisturize your fingernails. That’s because they’re uniquely formulated to keep your nails healthy while repairing any fragility your nails may be experiencing. 

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Bonus: 5 Amazing Wildlife Facts About Hawaii

#3. Nail Trauma Can Easily Lead To Brittle Nails

When your nails become damaged or unhealthy, it's easy for them to become brittle. This can make them thin and peel. And this can be not easy to deal with.

Examples Of Nail Trauma

Nail trauma happens when your nail becomes damaged or thin due to outside forces. For example, nail trauma can occur when you subject your fingers to repeated pressure or friction. In addition, if you often wear tight-fitting shoes or gloves, your nails can weaken.

Even things like acute trauma can cause peeling or thin nails. If you've slammed your finger into a door, that nail will need plenty of time to recover.

Don't Cause Your Nails Undue Stress

Though these causes of nail trauma are rather severe, there are a few more that can be quite subtle. For example, biting your fingernails, picking at your polish, or even frequently using your nails to open cans can cause nail trauma.

Lab tests research suggests medical conditions most common cause water exposure hand sanitizer weak nails keep your nails thicker thick nails weak nails

Picking Your Polish Is Often The Culprit

The biggest cause of brittle nails through trauma stems from picking at polish. It's easy to absentmindedly start peeling your last manicure when your mind wanders. However, this is a surefire way to damage and leave your fingernails thin.

When you peel off your nail polish, you're not only removing the polish itself. You're also steadily peeling away the surface layers of your natural nails. By repeatedly removing this surface layer, you're only making your nail weaker and more damaged.

Remove Your Polish The Right Way

The best way to fix this problem is to not pick at your nail polish. We know it's easier said than done, but stopping this habit now can really save your nails in the long run. Instead, only remove your polish with non-acetone nail polish removers.

For gel polish, ensure you soak them thoroughly and don't scrape your nails too much to remove them.

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#4. You Buffed Your Nails A Bit Too Much

When things get too dry, it's easier for them to get damaged and break. This is also true for over-buffed nails. When you buff them too much, you're removing the top layer of your nails and causing trauma.

Prevent Dry Skin And Nails

This can also lead to dry nails, which are more brittle and susceptible to peeling and breakage. To combat this issue, after buffing your nails, moisturize them with a rich hydrating lotion or nail oil.

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#5. Your Nails Are Too Moisture-Ladden

When your nails are frequently wet, the extra moisture can lead to peeling nails. If you're often wetting and drying your nails, this could be why your nails are damaged.

For example, people like cleaners or hairdressers may often wet and dry their nails. Even being in a hot or humid place for a prolonged amount of time can expose your hands to extra moisture.

Prevent Your Hands From Staying Too Wet

If this happens to you, make sure you avoid wetting your hands too much.

If you need to do the dishes, try to wear gloves. After washing your hands, make sure you also thoroughly dry them.

It's also a good idea to regularly use a hand cream with vitamin E to maintain steady and proper amounts of moisture (you don't want your hands to get too dry, either!)

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Wrapping Up

Taking care of your nails is essential for staying strong and healthy. So ensure you're treating them well, and they'll show you the love right back!

Keep Reading: 9 Cute St. Patrick's Day Nail Designs For An Extra Bit Of Good Luck


At Maniology, we believe your nails are opportunities for adventure, fun, and unrestrained artistic expression. Our nail stamping plates and nail accessories are here to help foster your self-expression in the hopes of building a community of individuality. For more nail tutorials, subscription box updates, and designs, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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