How do I Treat Splitting Fingernails?

Vanessa Harvey

You can treat splitting fingernails internally by increasing your consumption of vitamins, minerals and protein, which are needed for strong and healthy nails. External fingernail care also is important for faster results and a more effective fingernail treatment. This can be as simple as keeping your nails painted with fingernail polish, which acts as a protective coating for them.

Fingernail polish provides a protective coating that can help with splitting fingernails.
Fingernail polish provides a protective coating that can help with splitting fingernails.

The mineral silica, also called silicon, plays an important role in strengthening the nails so they do not split easily. It is found abundantly in many all-natural sources such as the herb oat straw. Increasing your consumption of vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, has proven to be helpful in some fingernail treatment programs because of its function in the growth, maintenance and repair of tissues.

Consuming foods high in vitamin B-2, such as kamut, may help prevent splitting fingernails.
Consuming foods high in vitamin B-2, such as kamut, may help prevent splitting fingernails.

Your treatment for splitting fingernails should be tailored to your health needs. For example, some people have allergic reactions to the toxic vapors of most commercially produced fingernail polishes or simply might not want to be exposed to them. In the United States, all-natural polish is sold in health food stores or the health food sections of major grocery stores. They are made with natural, earth-friendly ingredients and provide the same protection against splitting fingernails that those formulated with harmful ingredients do.

An internal treatment can be as simple as increasing your intake of the mineral silica by drinking a tea made from the herb oat straw, which is very high in this nutrient and usually produces results within three weeks when consumed on a daily basis. Oat straw tea can be sweetened like any other tea with an all-natural sweetener such as honey or stevia extract, but it should not be consumed for periods longer than three weeks, after which a period of rest for three weeks should follow. Horsetail is another herb that is very high in silica and from which a tea can be made. It should not be used for periods longer than one week and should be followed by a three-week period of rest.

Increasing your consumption of protein such as that found in fish might also prove beneficial in stimulating nail growth and in the fight against splitting nails. Although protein is abundant in other food products such as beef and poultry, the greatest results have been observed with a higher consumption of fish. Consuming fish such as salmon to help prevent splitting fingernails has the added advantage of being a healthy food for people with heart problems. Good sources of vitamin B2 include leafy green vegetables, nuts and whole heirloom grains such as spelt and kamut, which are much higher in nutrients than the modern, hybridized wheat widely sold in many grocery stores.

Consuming fish may help prevent splitting fingernails.
Consuming fish may help prevent splitting fingernails.

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Discussion Comments


@earlyforest -- I haven't tried the garlic thing personally, but I have heard about it.

From what I understand, rubbing garlic oil into your nails can make the keratin in nails grow faster, which can strengthen them, and prevent splitting.

Some people even put garlic in their nail polish, but I don't know if I could handle the smell from that.

Anyway, good luck with the nails -- hope this helps!


I had heard that rubbing garlic on your nails can keep them from splitting. Is that just an urban legend, or does that actually work? Anybody out there ever tried the garlic solution?


Split nails are the worst, especially if you're trying to grow out your fingernails.

One thing I've always found helpful is to keep at least one layer of nail polish on your nails, even if it's just a clear one. The best is to use one of those nail polish/strengthener combos, but regular polish will help too, and is certainly better than nothing.

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