Why are my nails suddenly breaking, brittle, peeling?

Why are my nails suddenly breaking, brittle, peeling?

Oct 6th 2021

The cause of your nail issues likely started months ago....

I often get asked, "Why have my nails suddenly started peeling, breaking, chipping, etc.?" Since the average nail takes about 4 months to replace itself, I always ask this question:

"What big thing(s) happened to you 4 months ago?"


Stress (good or bad) is often the primary contributor to nail issues. Since fingernails and toenails are the farthest from your core internal organs, fewer nutrients are delivered to the nail matrix (where your nail cells cells are formed).

This means the quality of nail cells your body creates when stressed seriously declines.

Here are some examples of good/bad stresses that can affect nail health:

  • Divorce
  • Wedding
  • Moving
  • A baby
  • Job changes
  • Big test or project at work or school
  • New life changes
  • etc.


Your overall health directly affects your nail health.

Illness, surgeries, poor diet, & sleep all contribute to the health of your nails. Think back over the last 4 months... have you had any changes in your health?

Here are some examples of health issues that can affect nail health:

  • Surgeries
  • Medication changes (start, stop, change of dose)
  • Any illnesses or chronic conditions
  • Any allergies
  • How is your diet? Do you take any supplements?


The home can be a dangerous place for fingernails!

  • Do you have kids (especially young ones)
  • Do you have pets
  • Do you wash dishes & clean without gloves?
  • Do you do laundry & make beds?
  • Do you garden & do yard work?

Work & Hobbies

Your daily activities can contribute to nail health issues. Water, paper, fabric, & other materials can strip away your body’s natural oils.

Oil is critical to keeping your nails hydrated & flexible to prevent peeling, breaking, chipping and other nail weakness.

  • If you work with any items like this, it’s important to rehydrate your nails & skin with a high-quality, jojoba wax ester-based oil. 
  • What do you do for a living? (do you have frequent contact with water/paper/fabric etc?)
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is your current/recent nail care routines? Do you wear enhancements (acrylics, gels, polish, etc.)? If yes, how long have you worn them? Do you go to a salon? If yes, how does your nail tech treat your nails?