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What Causes White Flaky Toenails? Here’s Everything You Need To Know:

Last Updated on June 25, 2022

Why Are My Toenails Flaky & How Do I Prevent it? 

Have you just taken off a two-week-old pedicure to realize your once pretty toes are now a flaky mess?

We’ve all been there– gross and uncomfortable.

But it is actually prevalent, and most likely, either your polish, long pedicure or nail polish remover are the culprit.

Whether you have an active job or love a good pedicure, we put a lot of pressure on our feet and toenails on a daily, and we all see the outcome.

But wait, let me tell you something:

By upping up your moisturizing game, a bit of medication to help, and abandoning the lacquer, polish, and nail polish remover until your nails grow and recover– you will have a healthier nail in no time.

Here’s a tip: I would recommend opting in a good, nourishing cuticle oil along with a nail polish that has a 10-fee and restoring formula to prevent these pesky flakes from getting in the way of your pedicure again!

Let’s get into the juicy bits.

toes witj polish

What causes flaky toenails? 

When it comes to flaky toenails the number one culprit will either be not using moisturizer or cuticle oil to nourish the nails or even from prolonged use of nail polish and nail polish remover. 

Nail polishes and removers with formaldehyde, acetone toluene are the top cause for dry nails, these ingredients are prone to drying out your nails– not a pretty sight. 

If you notice your toenails becoming flaky, you’re going to need to abandon the polish, I’m afraid, for a few weeks until it improves and your nail is restored to its former, healthy glory.

I would also recommend trying nail polishes that use natural formulas or free of toxic ingredients that are harmful to your nails.

Nail polishes like ‘ZOYA‘, ‘Sundays‘, ‘ella+mila‘ etc are all toxic free and will nourish your fingernails and toenails while still looking pretty.

These alternatives also have brilliant long-lasting formulas so nothing is stopping you!

As for nail polish removers, I would recommend finding one that is acetone-free as well as being free of any unnecessary chemicals that dry your nails out.

This will help reduce flaky toenails and fingernails but they are actually caused by other things too!

Nail discoloration: 

Flaky, brittle nails are often paired with nail discoloration, your nails may also appear white, yellow, or even a green kind of color as a result of infections.

Nail discolorations are often caused by nail fungus which is common and easily treatable. These discolorations are very common and will go away with fungus treatments.

However, if you have any cause for concern the best step to take is to consult your doctor, podiatrist, or professional to get to the root of the problem and put your mind at ease.


Now onychomycosis is a fungal infection that infects the keratin in your toenail. This causes nail discoloration, flakiness, brittleness, or even thickening of the nail. It also gives off a nasty odor.

Treatment of this type of fungal infection can be very stubborn and a challenge but with some patience and a good fungal treatment it should go with time.

If it doesn’t improve over a few months then that’s when you should visit the doctor!


Biotin is a form of vitamin B and is responsible for protein formation and cell growth. It also helps maintain good levels of iron and zinc.

A lack of biotin in your body can cause your toenails to appear flaky, dry, and brittle. By taking biotin supplements you can help prevent your nails from becoming brittle, dry, cracked, and flaky.

This deficiency can be caused by aging or maybe even an underlying health condition, taking biotin supplements can be a long-term solution to this issue.

Again, if you have any cause for concern always consult your doctor.


This is often a dermatology problem that is more common in women than men. It causes splits in the nail as a result of prolonged exposure to acrylic nails and chemicals.  It makes toenails and fingernails look thin and have a white powdery, flaky pattern on toenails.

Iron deficiency can also be a common cause for flaky, brittle nails– just take a couple of iron supplements and it should clear up!

If you wash your hands excessively or are exposed to chemicals without wearing gloves, often have acrylic nails, have underactive thyroid, kidney, or lung disease you are more likely to develop Onychoschizia.

This will make your nails appear to be flaky, if you have any cause for concern it is always best to go speak to a professional.


How can I treat my dry, flaky nails? 

Nails, along with all of our skin can become very dry and flaky when dehydrated and long. I would recommend investing in a good quality cuticle oil and trimming your nails regularly to keep the state of your nails in good condition. 

In some serious cases, dry nails may be an indication of iron deficiency or diabetes, sometimes even heart, liver, or lung disease. If you have a fair reason for them then there’s no need to be worried but if not then go see a professional. 

If you take some extra steps to keep your nails healthy, like taking vitamins, using cuticle oil, and opting out of harmful nail polishes you should notice the difference when the new nail grows through.

If none of these steps helps, then that’s a sign to go and take a trip to your doctor or local podiatrist.

Best methods to treat flaky toenails

Flaky toenails are often an indication that your toenails need moisture and nourishment and there are some steps you can help prevent and cure your flaky, brittle toenails.

Firstly I would recommend wearing shoes that fit correctly, feel comfortable, and are well ventilated around your toe, make sure you keep your toenails well-trimmed, and use foot cream or good cuticle oil to keep them nourished and moisturized.

I would recommend  O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream, it is a brilliantly concentrated food cream that not only heals, relieves ad reairs cracked, dry nails but also feet too! 

If fungus is the root of the problem I would recommend trying out this Extra Strong Nail Fungus Treatment— it will restore your nails in no time using a natural solution that won’t irritate your skin in the process. 

There are also home treatments that are said to help nourish nails. For example, eucalyptus oil, sunflower oil, applying a baking powder/water paste to the affected area, tea tree oil.

Try these first and if nothing improves then try other options.

If you find that the problem is getting worse or just not going away I would recommend going to see your doctor, they may be able to give you something to help or help you get to the root of the problem.

When is it time to go see your doctor? 

If you take action to improve your flaky nails and they don’t seem to be getting any better, resolving themselves, or even getting worse then it’s important to go see your local doctor for medical advice.

There are actually underlying conditions that can be related to this (despite being rare). It is important to get some advice when it comes to this.

If your nail red around the toenail or has signs of infection then that is your sign to go see the doctor. They will be able to recommend medication or run tests to get to the bottom of the issue.


The top cause of flaky nails is usually dry, un-nourished nails, fungal infections, or lacking certain vitamins.

The best way to treat is to get to the bottom of the problem in order to find the solution.

Flaky, dry, brittle, or peeling nails are usually very common and nothing to worry about but if you have any cause for concern the best solution. is going to seek medical advice diagnosis or treatment.

Just a bit of time, patience, and the right treatment, and your nails will be restored to their former glory in no time!

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[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

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