What it is
The condition involving splitting and tearing nails (and those with a fissure down the middle) actually has a name: onychoschizia.
What causes it
Excessive hand- and dishwashing, nail polish removers, and cold weather
Clawing to the Top
Great nails start with new habits
1. Avoid Water
Wear gloves when doing dishes and skip the antibacterial soaps, which can be drying, says Nia Terezakis, a dermatologist in New Orleans.
2. Keep Things Lubricated
Apply lotion before and after washing hands. Massage it into cuticles and nails.
3. Go Gentle
Wear gloves in cold weather. Resist using nails to pick up things or clean dirt from other nails. (And step away from those glue-on talons and gel nail polish.)
Only the Strong Survive
So consider calling in reinforcements.
Derma E Age-Defying Hand Creme is nongreasy and features green tea and olive oil to protect skin and cuticles. dermae.com
Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer Treatment has horsetail extract to strengthen nails. butterlondon.com
Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength GeL combines vitamins E and C to help increase flexibility. drugstore.com
Barielle Growth Activator for Natural Nails contains garlic enzymes to stimulate growth and seed oil to nourish. barielle.com
Scale It Back
The surface of the nail has small keratin fibers that are oriented in the same direction, like the scales of a fish. To keep them flat, avoid pushing back cuticles with harsh metal tools and using fingernails to dig under things. (Yes, that includes the pull tabs on cans.)