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If the fingernails crack on the hands or feet: causes, treatment, repair


Cracks in the fingernails can occur at any age. Why is this happening and how to deal with it at home?

It is necessary to determine the cause of the problem and try to prevent further destruction of the nail plate. Simple cosmetic “repair” of the crack can be done with glue or biogel.

  • Transverse. Dermatologists call this condition onychorexis. The reason is a poorly performed manicure or the effect of chlorine-based products on the hands, peeling of the nails in the child is also possible.
  • Longitudinal. This condition is called onychosis. It develops against the background of vitamin deficiency and hormonal imbalance.
  • Internal Marks inside the nail indicate mechanical damage or injury, read about the bruise under the nail. The photo below shows such a case.

The causes of cracks in the nails of the hands can be external or internal.

External factors

In winter, frost and dry air become the cause of cracks. To protect your hands from the negative effects of the environment, gloves should be worn before walking in cold weather.

Consumables for manicure also often lead to splitting of the plates. For example, when using aggressive alkaline or acidic agents to treat cuticles and acetone fluids to remove varnish, the nails turn yellow. 1-2 days after this, thin cracks may appear on their surface.

After inaccurate build-up, cracks occur in 95% of cases. Acrylic or gel applied in violation of the extension technology begin to put pressure on the nail plate, leading to its destruction. This procedure should only be done by a professional. Weak nail plates are recommended to be pre-fortified with biogel.

Often cracks occur due to mechanical or chemical stress. In case of physical injury, the finger nail first darkens, and then can split along the plate.

Disorders in the body

A distinctive feature of such cracks is that they appear simultaneously on all nails and are accompanied by dry cuticles and skin on the fingers.

  • Decreased immunity. The weakening of the protective functions of the body leads to malfunctioning of all organ systems. This primarily affects the skin and nail plates.
  • Dehydration. It is necessary to drink 1.5-2 liters of water per day. With a lack of moisture, not only the skin suffers, but also the nails.
  • Hormonal disorders. During pregnancy, lactation and in adolescence, the body undergoes a sharp hormonal change. If a person has any concomitant endocrine diseases, then in almost 90% of cases, hormonal imbalance affects the condition of the nails, skin and mucous membranes.
  • Avitaminosis. The lack of vitamins E and A will instantly affect the appearance. Bioactive substances stimulate the regeneration of cells of all body tissues. An acute deficiency of trace elements leads to delamination of the plates. A distinctive feature of such cracks is that they appear across the nails and look like small notches.

The main reasons due to which cracks in the nails are possible

Cracks in the nail plates do not occur just like that, for no reason.

The nail cracked and broke off: photo.

It is possible to distinguish the main factors due to which such an unpleasant manifestation occurs:

  1. Since the nail plate consists mainly of keratin, which has a layered structure, frequent mechanical action on the nail leads to the appearance of cracks on it. This process may often be affected by workers in certain specialties related to mechanics, as well as musicians and programmers. Often injured nail plates on the legs due to bumps or bruises. Moreover, most often a dark blue spot appears on the big toe - clotted blood. Sometimes you have to consult a doctor to remove the entire plate.
  2. The formation of the nail occurs in the matrix, which is its root part. And any changes that occur in the base, including injuries of this area, lead to an inferiority of the growth process of the nail plates on both the fingers and toes. Because of this, cracks may form. This is the second reason for cracks appearing on the nails of the fingers and toes.
  3. Infectious skin diseases, such as fungus or psoriasis, first damage the nail, and then its root.
  4. The formation, as well as the process of normal plate growth, largely depends on the presence of nutrients in the body. Their deficiency leads to weakness and thinning of the nail, brittle toenails in a child can occur precisely for this reason. This manifestation is caused by malnutrition and its monotony.
  5. The fifth reason! If the filing or cutting of the cuticle is performed incorrectly, damage to the plate or its base, the matrix, may occur.
  6. The fragility of the nail plates is caused by the highly active chemicals contained in the products for bathrooms, sinks and dishwashing detergents. Frequent contact with solvents, acetone or bleach can also lead to cracks in the nails.
  7. Severe dehydration of the whole body first affects the skin, hair, and then on the nail plates - one of the very common causes of brittle nail plates. In this case, not only the plates on the hands are affected by dehydration, but cracks (both longitudinal and transverse) can also appear on the toenails.
  8. Hormonal changes in the body. The female half faces such a problem during the period of bearing a child or with menopause.
  9. The use of varnish, as well as funds designed to remove it, but having poor quality, leads to the fact that a vertical crack may appear on any of the nails.

Why do longitudinal (vertical) cracks appear on nails?

Longitudinal cracks in the nails of the hands or feet may occur due to the appearance in the body of a disease such as onychorexis. With the manifestation of this disease, the nails become brittle, a longitudinal crack can appear on any of the nail plates.

Vertical crack on the nail of the thumb with onychorexis.

Onyhorexis is a consequence of processes in the body that are dystrophic in nature due to impaired metabolism and nutrition of the plate. Such dystrophy develops due to the following factors:

  • the development of skin diseases
  • getting injured
  • negative effects on the nails of chemicals
  • mental illnesses
  • body infection
  • blood diseases.

This disease is often manifested on the hands, rarely on the lower extremities. Vertical cracks in the nails can be detected in a single number, or several. The splitting of the plate initially appears from the free edge (from the tip of the finger). At first it is not noticeable, but over time, the crack along the nail plate widens and seeks to reach the base of the nail. To block the process of expansion of the cleavage, the crack itself must be sealed.

Why cross cracks appear

If the nail plate cracks in the transverse direction, then it is reasonable to assume the presence of a disease such as onychosis. This is also a dystrophic disease in which the nails break. True, more often with this disease they are more likely stratified, split. More details can be found here: nail dystrophy: causes, symptoms, treatment, also in this article you can see information about “Bo furrows”, which can also lead to transverse cracks in the middle of the nail plate.

The reasons are similar to those identified with onychorexis, but there are additional ones:

  • improperly performed manicure or pedicure,
  • frequent minor injuries of a mechanical nature,
  • the habit of biting the nail plates - onychophagia.

Cleavage often occurs on the free part of the nail, but if the disease is not treated, cracks appear not only in the middle, but also on the entire nail plate.

What to do

If the crack that appears is located along the nail plate, then measures must be taken without prolonged delay. What to do at the same time, many do not know. With any clutch, the nail can creep to the sides, this will damage the soft tissues of the bed and cause significant pain.

  1. Firstly, it is necessary to carry out repairs, since the condition of the nail plate may worsen.
  2. And secondly, at the first opportunity, you need to see a doctor to identify and further treat the disease that caused such a nuisance.

In order to cure a cracked nail and prevent this from happening again, it is necessary to eliminate the root cause of this phenomenon. This requires a visit to a dermatologist who is able to tell what needs to be done. To find out the reason, you may have to take some tests. However, if cracks appear regularly, then only adequate treatment can help get rid of this problem.

In the case of suspected pathology of the internal organs, an initial examination is carried out by the therapist.

If a fungal infection is detected, the pathogen must be eliminated. Appointments in order to cure mycosis will consist of systemic drugs and medications intended for local exposure. Antifungal varnishes will perfectly cope with the protection of the nail plate from the possibility of their destruction in the future.

If the development of nails is dystrophic in nature, an integrated approach to treatment is required. In addition to performing the prescribed medication, it is necessary to eliminate the lack of nutrients, which is filled with the help of vitamin-mineral complexes. It is also recommended to use compresses and baths for the local nutrition of the plates.

When performing such procedures, vitamin oil provides significant assistance. These measures are urgent in identifying onychorexis, in the manifestation of which the fingernails crack and thin.


In the case when a longitudinal crack appeared on the thumbnail, the quickest solution to repair it is to perform shellac manicure. After all, gel polish will not only provide reliable protection against infection, but will also prevent the crack from spreading. When the nail plate grows, the area on which the repair was performed is cut off.

If the longitudinal cracks are wide, then shellac will not be able to cope with such problems. In the case when the splitting “grows” in size on the thumb, you will need to visit a salon to perform acrylic and biogel coating, because it is very difficult to perform such procedures at home. However, the procedure can be seen in the video below.

The simplest implementation of the solution at home is to seal the crack. The order of actions is as follows:

  1. Align and then sand the surface of the nail along with the crack. To do this, you can use a nail file with a small abrasive or buff.
  2. Next, you need to apply glue to the polished surface of the nail (using a brush).
  3. Apply a piece of silk fabric to the dried base and apply a second layer of glue on top. Allow to dry again.
  4. Trim the excess fabric and apply the third layer of glue. Allow to dry.
  5. Using a buff, polish the repair area and varnish over.

If it was problematic to get it, you can perform the described procedure, but use a napkin or even a tea bag in the absence of a silk patch. This protection will be enough for about a day. This is enough to prepare for the repetition of the procedure more thoroughly. The repair is shown in the video:

And in the illustration:

If a transverse crack appears, it is necessary to apply shellac on it for reliable bonding.

It is important to remember that whatever the reason that the nail burst, you need to visit a doctor in the future, due to the fact that such a manifestation is possible due to internal problems of the body.

Fungal diseases

Nail fungus (onychomycosis) develops gradually. First, a crack appears on the thumbnail. Then the disease affects other nail plates.

There are more than 15 infectious pathogens that cause onychomycosis, but the most common of them are:

  • Moldy mushrooms. The plates turn yellow, black dots appear on them, which may increase over time. With the progression of the disease, deep lesions and chips appear on the plates. The fungus first appears on the thumb, then moves on to the rest of the nail plate.
  • Yeast Mushrooms. At the first stage of the disease, the plates are deformed and acquire a pale green tint. In the second stage, they become covered with black spots, become thinner and begin to crack. Cracks can be so deep that bleeding wounds appear.
  • Dermatophytes. The disease is characterized by the appearance of longitudinal white stripes, in the places of which deep cracks then form. The edges of the plate are thinned and break off. The skin under the nails begins to peel off.

Onychomycosis requires complex treatment. You can not mask the problem by building or covering with biogel. Fungal spores enter the lymphatic circulation and bloodstream, spreading throughout the body, so if untreated, the disease will only progress.

How to seal a crack

Further cleavage of the nail can be stopped. To do this, you need a polishing buff, a piece of silk or paper and medical glue.

  1. Polish the damaged area with a buff or a fine-abrasive file, smooth the edges of the crack.
  2. Apply medical glue to the crack with a brush. Allow to dry for 5-8 seconds.
  3. Attach a small piece of silk or paper to the cleavage site. Cover with a second layer of glue. Allow to dry.
  4. Cut off excess tissue around the edges. Apply a final coat of glue. Dry and polish with a buff.
  5. Apply varnish.

With glue and silk, only transverse cracks can be repaired. Longitudinal cracks are deeper, therefore it is better to use biogel or gel to repair them.

For vitamin deficiency, multivitamin complexes containing vitamins C, E and A, as well as calcium, phosphorus and iron should be taken. The following foods should be added to the diet: rye bread, chicken and quail eggs, sea fish, apples, spinach and carrots.

How to treat cracks in fungal diseases:

  • Nystatin (tablets). Antifungal antibiotic active against yeast.
  • Lamisil (gel). The main active ingredient is terbinafine. It has a pronounced antifungal effect on all types of fungi.
  • Mycozoral (ointment). Contains ketoconazole. Active against dermatophytes and yeast-like fungi.
  • Clotrimazole (ointment). Actimycotic agent for external use, helps against dermatophytes, moldy and yeast fungi.

With hormonal and immune malfunctions, a comprehensive examination and treatment is required.

Folk ways

The following procedures will help get rid of small cracks:

  • Oil compress. The damaged area must be smoothed out with the help of a buff. After that, apply olive or almond oil and put on plastic gloves. Hold all night. The course of treatment is 10-12 procedures.
  • Bath with soda and iodine. In 400 ml of warm water, dilute 2 tablespoons of soda and 15 drops of iodine. Dip your fingertips into the water and hold for a quarter of an hour. Do baths every other day.

Treatment of a crack in a fingernail takes 2 weeks to 4 months, depending on the cause of the problem. If the lesions are deep and affect the blood vessels, then the fingertip should be wrapped with adhesive tape. This will prevent infection from outside.


Here I bring to your attention several options for repairing a natural nail plate for gel polish, depending on the nature of the crack or crack.

I will make a reservation right away that if you want such a result that spreads with gel polish for at least three weeks, then at home this is difficult to do, and it’s better to go straight to the master who knows the knowledge and techniques for repairing nails. In addition, here you will need materials that not every girl in a cosmetic bag has.

And one more nuance: many call it “gel polish repair”, others “gel polish repair”. I will consider this identical, since gel varnish is used in the process and subsequent coating is performed.

We will consider the breakdown only natural nails. This can happen with or without gel polish. In the first case, it must be completely removed and then follow the instructions.

1 repair method - using acrylic powder

Necessary materials: rubber base and acrylic powder.

Stage 1 We prepare the nail plate for gel polish, carefully observing the technology:

  • We carry out the processing of the cuticle and the free edge of the nail in the usual way.
  • We remove the gloss from the natural nail plate with a nail file or buff, paying special attention to the place of the crack: it should become smooth on all sides.
  • Degrease the nails. It is better to use an acid primer on a broken nail.

Stage 2. We overlap the nail with the base (it is better if it is rubber). Приподнимите ноготок в месте трещины, так, чтобы база чуточку залила ее, то есть попала внутрь трещинки. Тонкой кистью нанесите базу и с обратной стороны ногтя в проблемном месте. Не просушивая, насыпаем сюда же акриловую пудру, совсем чуть-чуть. Сушим.

Stage 3. Shake off excess powder. We file a nail, aligning it from above and from the side. Apply another coat of base and dry.

Next, a standard gel polish is applied. This is not the most durable way, but it works - I personally use it.

If gel polish is not intended, then you can use nail glue instead of the base, but this will save the situation very briefly. Once upon a time I wrote about nail repair using it.

2 repair method - using silk

Necessary materials: silk or fireberglass (reinforcing tape).

Step 1. Preparation of the nail plate in accordance with all the rules (for details in the previous section).

Step 2 Cut a piece of silk slightly larger than the size of the crack. We apply the base and, without drying, put on it a fiberglass and impregnate it with the base. Dry in the lamp.

Step 3 We cover the nail with another layer of the base. For greater reliability, for example, biogel can be used.

Step 4 We file if the silk or material protrudes slightly beyond the edges of the nail plate.

Then you can do the usual gel-varnish coating.

Crack Repair Alternative

Some masters believe that it is possible to "neutralize" a crack as reliably as possible only if it is cut out. Like this? - you ask. To do this, an incision is made with manicure scissors, perpendicular to the crack so that there are no traces of it in the depth of the nail at all. It turns out in the free edge on the side such a triangular wasteland, which then needs to be filled.

However, it is first required to file it so that there are no irregularities, and apply a primer.

You can fill in different options:

  1. As when building, substituting the form and filling it with gel or a mixture of rubber base and acrylic. After drying, adjust the shape.
  2. If the triangle is not very large and the base is thick, then you can do it without substituting the form, but most likely you will have to apply it in several layers, and then cut it out, including from below, but here you can not do without milling cutters.
  3. Using Fiberglass: first strengthen it with a base from above, dry it, and then from below, also dry and adjust the shape.

As I said, it is already difficult to do this at home, if you yourself, of course, are not a master!

Well, here I can’t fail to mention how you can replace the fireberg class, because it is also far from always at hand. And here, for example, tea bag I think almost everybody will. Then cut the patch of the right size out of it - budget and very practical. Well, the second option - you can also use for these purposes lint-free napkin or cotton.

1 repair method - building base

Necessary materials: thick rubber base and extension molds.

Stage 1 Preparation of the nail plate by technology.

Stage 2. Substitution of the form for building. Correct it so that it fits well under the chip.

Stage 3. Application of the base on the entire surface of the nail and on the chip, so as to even out the shape of the nail. We cure in the lamp.

Stage 4. Application of the base only at the place of cleavage, in order to compact it, level it with a nail and make it stronger. Sushim.

Stage 5. We adjust the shape with a file and apply another leveling layer of the base with drying in the lamp.

Next, you can make a gel polish. Here you can also use the fireclass to further strengthen the design.

2 way repair - gel manicure

Necessary materials: base gel, fiberglass.

Step 1. Preparation of the nail plate with the removal of gloss and removal of pterygium, degreasing and applying a layer of primer.

Step 2 Base gel is applied to the entire surface of the nail. Without drying, a piece of fireberglass cut to size is superimposed on the chip. Then it is as if impregnated with this gel, the excess silk is cut off, and now into the lamp.

Step 3 A second base coat is applied, with special emphasis on the place of cleavage and the junction of the nail with the fireclass. Into the lamp.

Step 4 We adjust the shape with a file.

Then you can perform standard coverage. But if you want maximum reliability, it is better to apply another layer of sculpted gel, and only then adjust the shape with a nail file. In this case, the base for gel polish is no longer necessary.

For masters, I advise you to see how Larisa Ilyina (coach of Nano Proffesional) does this:

Publication by Larisa Ilyina Nanoprof (@ larisa_ilina80) Sep 17, 2017 at 9:28 PDT

I hope that this voluminous material did not confuse you even more, but gave answers to the question of how to repair a broken nail under gel polish. I also want to believe that this information is useful both for girls to repair nails at home, and for masters who come with such problems. And now for sure, bye-bye!

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