why is the skin around my nails peeling

Why Is The Skin Around My Nails Peeling? The Causes & Best Treatments

Are you struggling with peeling skin around your nails? Learn about common causes and prevention methods in our handy guide.
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Have you ever noticed the skin around your nails peeling and wondered why it’s happening? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! It’s a common problem that affects many of us. Peeling skin around the nails can be annoying, unsightly, and sometimes even painful. But why does it happen?

In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of peeling skin around the nails and what you can do to prevent it. So sit back, relax, and let’s fix those nails!

Common causes of peeling nail skin

There are several reasons why the skin around your nails might start peeling. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes:

Dry skin

Dry skin is a common cause of peeling skin around the nails. This can be due to a variety of factors, including exposure to dry air, low humidity, or frequent hand washing. When the skin around your nails is dry, it can become rough, flaky, and prone to peeling. Using a moisturizer regularly can help to prevent dry skin and peeling.

Exposure to water

Frequent exposure to water can cause the natural oils in your skin to be stripped away, leaving it dry and prone to peeling. This can be a problem for people who wash their hands frequently or work in jobs that involve frequent exposure to water. Wearing gloves when washing dishes or using moisturizing hand soap can help to prevent peeling caused by exposure to water.

Harsh chemicals

Many household and personal care products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin around your nails and cause it to peel. This includes cleaning products, nail polish remover, and certain types of nail polish. Wearing gloves when using these products and opting for gentler, more natural alternatives can help to prevent peeling.  When washing your hands, try to avoid products containing alcohol.  Alcohol can severely dry out your skin and amplify other issues.[1]


Some people may be allergic to certain types of nail polish or other cosmetic products, which can cause skin irritation and peeling. If you suspect you have an allergy to a product, stop using it and see if your symptoms improve.

Fungal infections

Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or ringworm, can affect the skin around your nails and cause it to peel. These infections are often accompanied by itching, redness, and scaling. Over-the-counter antifungal creams can help to treat these infections.


Eczema is a skin condition that causes red, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin. It can affect any part of the body, including the skin around the nails. Eczema is often triggered by stress, irritants, or allergens. Managing these triggers and using topical steroids or other treatments as prescribed by a dermatologist can help to prevent peeling.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red, scaly patches to develop on the skin, including around the nails. These patches can often become itchy and lead to peeling. Treatment options for psoriasis include topical creams, light therapy, and oral medications.

Nutritional deficiencies

A lack of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, B vitamins, and zinc, can cause the skin around your nails to become dry and peel. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help to prevent nutritional deficiencies.  Otherwise, you can take vitamin supplements to give your body and skin a boost.

Thyroid disorders

Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can affect the health of your skin and cause it to become dry and peel. If you have a thyroid disorder, working with your healthcare provider to manage your condition can help to prevent skin problems.

Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to narrow, which can lead to dry, cracked skin and peeling. Avoiding exposure to cold temperatures and wearing warm gloves can help to prevent symptoms of Raynaud’s disease.

How to prevent skin peeling around fingernails

There are many things you can do to prevent the skin around your fingernails from peeling. Keeping your skin in an overall good state of health is super important.

Here are some of our best tips:

  1. Moisturize regularly: One of the best ways to prevent skin peeling around your nails is to keep the skin moisturized. Use a moisturizer specifically designed for hands and nails, and apply it at least twice a day.
  2. Protect your hands: Wear gloves when you’re washing dishes, cleaning, or working with harsh chemicals. This will help to protect your skin from drying out and prevent peeling.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals: Opt for gentler, more natural products when it comes to nail polish, nail polish remover, and other personal care items. Harsh chemicals can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause peeling.
  4. Use a cuticle oil: Applying a cuticle oil regularly can help to keep the skin around your nails healthy and prevent peeling. Look for an oil that contains nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, aloe vera, and jojoba oil.
  5. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness and peeling.
  6. Eat a balanced diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help to ensure that your body is getting the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your skin healthy.
  7. Protect your skin from the sun: UV rays can damage the skin around your nails and cause it to peel. Wear sunscreen on your hands and nails when you’re spending time outdoors.
  8. See a dermatologist: If you’re experiencing persistent peeling or other skin problems around your nails, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. Seeing a dermatologist can help to identify any underlying issues and develop a treatment plan.

Can peeling fingernail skin be dangerous?

While peeling skin around your nails can be annoying and uncomfortable, it’s usually not a cause for concern. In most cases, it’s simply a sign that your skin is dry or irritated.

However, there are a few situations in which peeling nail skin may be a sign of a more serious condition. For example, if you notice redness, swelling, or pus around the affected area, you may have an infection that requires medical attention.

Additionally, if you have a history of skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, you could be more prone to experiencing problems. In these cases, it’s important to work with your dermatologist to manage your symptoms and prevent complications.

In general, however, most cases of peeling skin around the fingernails are easily managed with simple home remedies and a little extra self-care.


There you have it! Peeling skin around your nails can be uncomfortable, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. By taking a few simple steps like moisturizing regularly, protecting your hands, and avoiding harsh chemicals, you can keep your skin healthy and prevent peeling.

With a little care and attention, you can keep your nails and skin looking and feeling their best!

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.