Split nail solution?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have one fingernail that keeps splitting in the middle. Since I'm not into "girly" stuff I have no idea what to use to solve the problem. Is there an easy solution? Thanks. DDD
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not into girly stuff either so I'd probably keep a bandaid wrapped around it for a few while and see if that helps. Is it splitting easily when getting caught on something or just on it's own?
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    If your nail is splitting it might be due to an infection (fungal? bacterial?). It might be worth getting it seen to before you try any cosmetic remedies.

    If it's a mechanical issue due to a weak nail, then I'd recommend something like Sally Hansen Hard-as-Nails clear coat.

    It's a strengthener and protector. Unlike regular nail polish, it's not too glossy or goopy, but it does protect your nails from simple damage.

    Hope this helps,
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If it's a fungal infection then you need to treat it. You also need to be careful to not spread the infection to other nails.

    If it's not a fungal infection, it could be a mineral deficiency. Again, it needs to be treated. Also, you are at risk of fungal or bacterial infection through the split.

    What I have done and recommend you do - first, treat the nail. Talk to a pharmacist or see a doctor about the split and what it means. A doctor could do a scraping to test for fungal infection.

    Next - get some fibreglass nail wraps. You can buy these fairly cheaply. I've actually used other things instead of these such as a scrap of 'cloth' torn off a baby wipe, but the fibreglass wraps are much thinner and stronger. They also disappear when you put them on properly. The baby wipe option - I had to keep the nail covered with coloured nail polish and it also kept snapping off.

    Now, to apply - carefully trim the fibreglass (on the backing paper) to fit. I tend to not cover the whole nail if it's just a side split I'm trying to repair, but I'm experienced at this. In your case, I think aim to almost cover the whole nail. Don't go right to the edge, you risk accidentally lifting the wrap in daily use.

    Next - scuff up your nail surface a little, using an emery board. You don't apply this stuff to buffed smooth nails. Remove any nail polish. Make sure your nails are clean, dry and not greasy. If you've applied a slightly oily treatment to the nail split, make sure that either side of the split is clean, dry and non-oily (I'm assuming the split is fairly central?)

    So after you've done all this, you remove the fibreglass wrap from the backing paper and stick the wrap onto your nail. It could slide around a bit. Or maybe mine do that because they're so old that the adhesive doesn't really work any more. My wraps are over ten years old. One packet lasts ages even though I've also used them on difficult child 1, plus husband uses them too.

    Stick the wrap down as best as you can, smoothing it out gently. The fibreglass can fray easily, try to not let it fray too much. Trim any long threads that fray off.

    Now - get your clear nail polish or your Sally Hansen's nail mender polish or hard-as-nails clear nailpolish (not the nail hardener that isn't a polish - you need a nail polish-type product here) and gently paint it over the fibreglass wrap. If the wrap moves out of place, use a toothpick or the edge of another fingernail or even the tip of your nail scissors to slide it back into place. Then let it dry. Thoroughly. This is important enough to do nothing while it dries, you need this job to be good. You can use the time to coat the rest of your nails with clear polish if you want, so they all look the same. But you probably won't want to bother. I tend not to.

    Once the polish is dry, trim off any frayed bits you missed and gently file the edges with an emery board. Then give a lihgt coat again, to cover any exposed fibreglass edges.

    Now, nail polish wears. And where it wears fastest, is on the edge of the nail. So the first chips will appear there, the more you work with your hands. So each day you need to make sure that at least the tip of the nail is protected. Maybe after doing this you can leave it until the second day, but you will need to lightly re-coat every couple of days at least, just with the nail polish.

    If the whole thing lifts off and you can catch it, then you can stick it all back down again as follows - coat your nail with clear polish, then stick the old wrap-polish ensemble back down. You're using the nail polish as glue, here. Some of it will penetrate into the wrap's underside to help bond. Hold the wrap onto your finger for a few minutes after you put it on, then leave off doing anything with that hand for an hour or so, to let the bond harden.

    Your aim is to keep the split in the fingernail covered and protected while the nail grows out. You will need to replace the wrap every so often, to keep it covered properly and to avoid that ridge effect.

    If you want to cut your nails while you've got a wrap on, that's OK. But the cut edge will need to be sealed with a lick of nail polish.

    You can't remove the nail polish with remover, while you're wearing a wrap. so if you choose to use fluorescent day-glo orange nail polish and decide you prefer baby blue, you need to start over completely. That's why it's best to use clear. Whatever colour you use, that's your signature colour for the season!

    I hope this helps.

    husband gets split nails often, and lately he's been using the wraps more than I do. It's good for toenails, too.

  5. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    If you could see my nails right now you'd shiver. Almost all are split down the middle. Toss in tearing cardboard for 8 hours each day...sheesh. These are called man hands. I've tried all suggested with no help. I tried wearing thin gloves but it just doesn't work. So, pretty in pink I am NOT.

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'll try your solutions. It only happens with my middle finger on one hand and there is no sign of infection etc.
    A number of my unpolished nails have little ridges but this one nail never grows much and splits as soon as it
    gets near the appearance of a short "normal" nail. Like Abbey I work with my hands almost daily so I've never
    even given a second thought to anything other than being trimmed and using clear polish on occasion. Cross you fingers, lol. Thanks. DDD
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It really does sound like you both need to rule out fungal infection. Depending on what kind of work you do with your hands, you could be exposed to fungal infections and they are highly contagious. I have a friend currently treating her once-beautiful nails. People used to compliment her on her nails and ask if she had been to a porcelain nail place. But no, they were her own. Then they said, "Well, you obviously have a job that doesn't stress your nails," and she said, "Well, maybe. I do a lot of typing in my job and a lot of desk work. Then I go home and renovate!" Building materials, leadlight windows, moving doorways and walls... and her nails (the ones on her fingers I mean) always looked marvellous.

    Then she took up gardening. I'm not sure but I suspect it could be where the problem came from.

    Her current treatment is from a doctor, she has this stuff she has to paint on, plus she has to keep a bottle of alcohol handy to keep dipping her emery board into, after each nail. Also her scissors. I used to use her scissors or emery board if I had a broken nail when I got to her place. She stopped me because she said she didn't want me getting her fungal infection. She'll sometimes be working on her nails while we're sitting talking - and she really does currently dip the equipment into the alcohol after filing or cutting each nail.

    So bear this in mind, and if your job or hobby has your hands in potting mix on a regular basis, find some way to keep your nails free from contact with it. I've found some useful work gloves (not plastic surgical gloves) and while water can seep through, if the dirt doesn't scratch the nail surface you're a bit safer from fungal infection. Commercial potting mix would push your risk higher. And as in my friend's case, she has to wear plastic gloves under her gardening gloves.

    My gardening gloves are stretchy semi-disposable workman's gloves, I was given a pair by a labourer neighbour. They are marvellous.

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Am I mistaken? I thought that any fungal infection would have an indicator like whiteness (or some color) that
    showed through the nail. My nail looks exactly like the others. I don't come in contact with any soil or other type of chemical. DDD
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    FUngal infection doesn't necessarily look white or a different colour. It can look a different shape or grow slightly crooked. If your nail looks otherwise exactly like the others, it might be OK. But the split will look different.

    A nail that looks white is a nail that is partly delaminated and has air or moisture in the layers. It's not necessarily fungal.

    Think about it - if you use a metal nail file to clean under your nails, and scrape the underside of the nail with the file, it will make the nail there look whiter. It's because you have roughened the underside of the nail and changed the way light shines through it.

    Can you think of a reason for the split in your nail? Did you injure it at some time? I slammed a thumb in the car door and when that part of my nail grew out, there was a very thick patch and behind it a very thin patch which began to split and separate. I used the fibreglass patch to hold it together until it grew out enough to trim and shape.