Let’s face it, breaking a nail can be quite painful. Whether you snag your nail or it gets chipped, split, smashed, or torn, breaking your nail can result in some form of trauma to your finger, especially if you damage your nail bed (via Healthline). Just as there are a number of different types of nail injuries, however, there are also a number of ways you can come to break your nail in the first place.
For instance, one common cause of nail breaks is nail brittleness. This is often a result of age or malnutrition and can cause the nail to become weak and break over time. Repeated exposure to moisture can also soften and weaken the nail, causing it to break more easily.
Furthermore, accidentally snagging your nail on an object or piece of clothing can sometimes lead to a much bigger tear. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your cause. According to experts at Byrdie, the first thing you should do after breaking a nail is file it. Filing the edges of the nail can help smooth it out and prevent it from cracking or breaking any further.
“Moving in one single direction, file the nail back to the original shape so that it matches the other nails (just a little shorter),” Sarah Gibson Tuttle, nail expert and founder of the nail salon Olive & June, told Byrdie. “If it’s a major break, clip 90% and file the remaining 10%.”
After that, you can wipe your nail down with rubbing alcohol and cut a small piece of a teabag to patch over the break. Before you do that, however, you’ll want to apply a bottom coat of clear nail polish to your nail and use a pair of tweezers to place the small piece of teabag over the break while the polish is still wet.
Once that’s dry, you can finish it off with a layer of colored polish to help camouflage the break. If your nail turns black, purple, or shows signs of infection, you should contact your doctor and refrain from putting anything on it.