Damaged Nails

Damaged nails are a common symptom of nail dystrophy. The dry state of dystrophic nails can lead them to peeling, cracking, or splitting – often with unsightly results. Getting treatment for damaged nails is an essential step in the process of restoring your nails back to optimal health.

Characteristics of Damaged Nails¹

One of the most common signs of damaged nails is discoloration. Discoloration can occur when different portions of the fingernail have peeled or flaked off, revealing dry, stratified layers below where the glossy, full layer once was.

Chalkiness and fragility in the fingernails is another sign of damage. The loss of moisture resulting from nail dystrophy can take its toll on a healthy, tough and protective nail. Fragile nails can easily break or split, further exacerbating existing nail damage with painful and unsightly results.

Nail splitting is also a common characteristic of damaged nails. When the fingernail bed and nail plate dry out, the layers can begin to separate, or the nails can develop a wedged split at the end of the nail that extends towards the nail matrix and cuticle. Other damaged nails have nail plates that are thicker than others, or that curl around the end of the fingernail.

The Problem with Damaged Fingernails¹

Damaged nails are a problem that plagues millions of people. Hard fingernails are more prone to nail splits, which can be inconvenient and cause nagging pain for those afflicted.  They are also much more difficult to maintain – an obstacle that proves especially troubling for women.

For some people, the real trouble with dystrophic fingernails stems from a consciousness about appearance. Some individuals with brittle nails would rather avoid social contact altogether than to be forced to explain their condition or justify why they haven’t made an effort to treat it.

Fortunately, the problems associated with brittle fingernails usually can be treated. Treatments for damaged nails can help you repair your nails and prevent future problems.

Finding Solutions to Damaged Nails1,2

  • Learn more about the causes of brittle nails and what you can do better promote your own nail health in the future.
  • Frequently moisturize your nails and wear gloves when washing dishes or exposing your hands to household cleaning solutions.
  • Speak with a doctor about whether your brittle nails could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

In addition to diagnosing the causes contributing to your damaged nails, a dermatologist or other nail health professional may be able to recommend a prescription-only solution.


Additional damaged nail resources:


  1. van de Kirkhof Peter CM, et al. Brittle nail syndrome: A pathogenesis-based approach with a proposed grading system. J Am Acad Dermatol 2005;53:644-51.
  2. Nuvail™ (poly-ureaurethane, 16%) NAIL SOLUTION Prescribing Information. Innocutis, Charleston, SC, 29401 USA; June 2012.


Nuvail™ (poly-ureaurethane, 16%) NAIL SOLUTION is indicated for managing signs and symptoms of nail dystrophy, i.e., nail splitting and nail fragility, for intact or damaged nails. Nuvail coats and adheres to the nail surface preventing direct abrasion and friction on the nail surface while also providing protection against the effects of moisture.


Do not apply directly to deep, open, or profusely bleeding wounds. Product is flammable in liquid form; avoid using near open flames and sources of ignition. Use in a well-ventilated area.

Keep out of reach of children.

Store at room temperature away from heat. Do not allow product to come into contact with floors, counter tops, furniture or other finished surfaces – will stain. May temporarily sting upon application. Persons sensitized to isocyanate should not use this product. Should redness or other signs of irritation appear, discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Click here for Full Prescribing Information.