You are here:

Nail Care & Manicures/Peeling Nails After Using Polish


I'm 54 and haven't worn nail polish on a regular basis since my twenties. About a year ago I wore some for a special occasion and after removing it a couple of days later I found the tips of my nails were peeling. They continued to get worse and it took months before they finally looked healthy again. At the time I just assumed it was the polish as it was a cheap brand I had picked up on a whim. However, I recently decided to do my nails for a special occasion again and despite changing brands, making sure it was DBP, Toluene & Formaldehyde Free, using a base coat, plus switching to a non-acetone remover, the exact same thing happened. Do you have any idea what the problem might be and/or how I can prevent it from happening without giving up completely on wearing polish for those special occasions?

Hi Connie,

Well, there are a couple of reasons that your nails peel.  Many have to do with internal factors such as diet and medications.  Most nail damage that comes from nail products often occur after the removal of a nail enhancement or gel system.

The fact that your nails were able to recover is a good sign usually most damage is done to the matrix (where the nail is formed) and damage is irreversible.  

Have you had a lifestyle change (dietary, medications, new job or environment)?  Many times when you paint your nails or even wear makeup that isn't part of your regular routine, your body can react.  In your case, maybe the fact that you were wearing polish could be the issue.  I hate to say that because I love painted nails!  lol.  The remover could be very harsh and drying.  The precautions you've taken regarding your polish choice and other things for your second application were fantastic but I'm thinking it just might be that you need to add a hydrating or moisturizing component to your regimen.

Every 2-3 days, apply some olive oil or other natural oil to your cuticles before bed.  Stay away from 'cuticle oils' and stick with the natural oil.  Many 'cuticle oils' contain oils that don't penetrate and just sit on top of the skin.  By applying oil to your cuticle area, you will add a major moisture component.

You can also switch to a silicone base coast before applying your polish.  Make sure you cap your edges (gently swipe the edge of your fingernails then paint the full nail), this will help protect the edges of your nails which could be contributing to your nails peeling.

I hope this helps and don't give up!  :)

Nail Care & Manicures

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Kathy Watson


HEALTHY NAILS AND LASTING COLOR. My name is Kathy Watson and as a natural nail care expert, I can answer any question as it pertains to nail care treatments. I can discuss all aspects of natural nail care including but not limited to nail disorders, nail diseases, infection control, manicuring, pedicuring and product awareness. I have worked with a podiatrist and have an extensive knowledge of nail disorders addressed by a podiatrist however I am not a medical physician nor podiatrist and am not qualified to give medical advice or make medical diagnoses.


I am the owner of :cure nail clinic and have provided nail care to a number of industries including medical and hospitality.

Completed Training, Bellus Academy, El Cajon California Certified in Gel Polish Applications Certification in Elderly & Diabetic Nail Care Created Katherine Watson Soak-Free Nail Care System

©2017 All rights reserved.