- What These 8 Fingernail Textures and Colors Say About Your Health
- Soft or weak
- Black lines
- White spots
- No half-moons
- 6 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health
- 1. Stress
- 2. Moles or melanoma
- 3. Arthritis
- 4. Psoriasis
- 5. Kidney disease
- 6. Darier disease
- Ten Things Your Nails Say About Your Health
- What Your Nails Say About Your Health
- Signs of Normal Nails
- Signs of Abnormal Nails
- Nail Color Changes Tied to Health Conditions
- Nail Shape Changes Linked to Health Conditions
- Nail Texture ChangesLinked to Health Conditions
- Health Conditions Associated WithNail Separation
- When Nail Changes AreHarmlessand When to See a Professional
- 10 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health
- What Are Your Nails Saying About Your Health?
- Healthy Nails – What Your Nails Say About Your Health And Wellbeing
- What If Your Nails are Brittle and Breaking?
- White Spots On Nails – What Does It Mean?
- Why Are Your Nails Turning Yellow?
- What Do Vertical Ridges On My Nails Mean?
- What If Your Nails Are Curving Up?
- Healthy Nails for a Healthy You
What These 8 Fingernail Textures and Colors Say About Your Health
- When to see a doctor
- Improve nail health
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Ever looked at a chipped, brittle, or black-lined nail and wondered why it looks that way? Well, it turns out that nail health is closely associated with how well your body is functioning in other areas.
“For the general population, nail health is most often an indicator of poor nutritional intake or poor digestion,” explains Dr. Sara Norris, a naturopathic doctor based in Los Angeles. “Brittle, weak, and peeling nails are the most common concerns I see in my practice and these symptoms are more often the result of a poor diet than of systemic disease.”
Norris points out that true nail abnormalities generally only involve one or two nails and aren’t related to any major health concerns.
Dr. Mark Benor, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Keck School of Medicine, agrees: “My job is reassuring people that their nail issues usually don't bespeak a serious underlying illness,” he explains. “The family medicine clinic is full of patients with nail findings of no significance outside of the anxiety they create.”
Healthy nails are considered to be smooth with no discoloration, but if there’s something amiss with the texture and color of yours, we created this guide to keep your nail-related anxieties away.
Rough, splitting nails that may also crack easily are one of the most commonly reported nail problems. They’re also more often seen in women. Officially called onychoschizia, brittle nails are usually caused by repeated wetting and drying of your fingernails, so you should use gloves when getting your hands wet, such as when doing dishes.
The fix: You can try applying lotions that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or lanolin. If this doesn’t work, see a doctor. Norris notes that hypothyroidism can also cause weak, brittle nails, as can iron deficiency.
Soft or weak
These nails break easily or bend before snapping. Soft nails might be caused by overexposure to moisture or chemicals — think detergent, cleaning fluids, nail treatments, and nail polish remover.
The fix: Avoid having chemicals around your nails. Go natural to give your nails a chance to recover. Weak nails are most ly associated with a deficiency in B vitamins, calcium, iron, or fatty acids. Norris explains that it’s best not to take iron as a supplement unless you know you’re deficient. Instead, start taking a multivitamin that includes calcium and B vitamins.
This is ly caused by external trauma to the nail itself — by using your nail as a tool, pressing into the nail too firmly or removing acrylic nail polish. Nails can also peel if you soak your hands too long in sudsy water.
Here’s a trick to figuring out whether it’s an internal or external cause: Are your toenails also peeling? If so, it might be an internal cause, such as iron deficiency; if not, it’s probably external.
The fix: If you think it’s internal, add iron to your diet with lentils, red meat, fortified cereal, or baked potato skins. You can also take biotin. If the cause is external, keep your nails moisturized by applying lotion after any activity that might dry them out. You can also wear protective gloves while doing the dishes.
Have you ever noticed ridges that look little horizontal or vertical waves on your fingernails? Vertical ridges generally appear later in life and run from the tip of your fingernail to the cuticle.
As long as they aren’t accompanied by other symptoms such as changes in color, they’re considered benign. On the other hand, horizontal ridges, also called Beau’s lines, are a sign of a more serious symptom.
The fix: See a doctor to find the underlying cause. Vertical ridges could be indicative of iron deficiency anemia while horizontal lines could point to an underlying condition such as kidney disease, which can actually stop nail growth until the problem has been treated.
Yellow nails are, believe it or not, relatively common, and usually caused by one of two factors: an infection or a reaction from a product you’ve been using, such as nail polish.
The fix: Your new nails should grow in clear again, but there are many natural treatments such as tea tree oil or vitamin E to help tackle infections. A multivitamin might also help with this.
You can try these before consulting a doctor, but if the color remains, it might be a sign of a larger issue.
Also called a splinter hemorrhage, black lines (which can appear brown or dark red) look splinters. They can appear multiple times. The most ly cause is a trauma to your nail, such as accidentally slamming a door on your finger.
The fix: The line is the result of blood vessel inflammation under your nail and should disappear over time as your nail grows.
“Scattered white spots on the nails, which usually start appearing around middle school age, can signify a zinc deficiency,” explains Norris. “Usually 30 milligrams per day of zinc for three months will alleviate it.” Other possible causes include:
- an allergic reaction
- a fungal infection
- injury to your nail
You know those little rounded white curves at the base of your fingernail? Those are called fingernail moons, the Latin word lunula (little moons! So sweet!). But not everyone has them. What does it mean if you don’t? Most of the time, this means nothing and they could just be hidden under your skin. If they seem to have disappeared, it could be a sign of:
But you should see a doctor if they start turning red and you experience:
- weight loss or gain
- unusual cravings
“The most common systemic conditions I see in my practice are psoriasis, which typically will cause pitting of the nails, and hypothyroidism which can cause weak, brittle nails,” explains Norris.
Growths around the base of the nail or other changes should be reported to your doctor. According to Norris, more concerning signs of disease of a nail include the following:
- longitudinal and transverse grooving
- changes in thickness and surface texture
“Our bodies are smart so when we’re low in vitamins and minerals, our nails and hair will show it,” explains Norris.
Eating a variety of whole foods will usually get you all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your nails need.
A simple fix is to start taking a quality multivitamin, but Norris advises against a one-a-day type: “It's difficult for our bodies to digest large compressed tablets.
When taking these products, we don't actually break it down effectively so we miss out on the vitamins and minerals that are within it.”
Instead, she suggests looking for a product that comes in easy-to-digest capsules. Why? Capsules are typically made from gelatin and it's much easier for our bodies to break down gelatin to get to the vitamins and minerals within the product.
Opt for popular choices: biotin and the herb horsetail. That said, if you begin taking biotin for nail health, Norris advises to discontinue use two weeks prior to having any lab work. There’s new research showing that biotin may interfere with lab results including thyroid labs and markers to assess for heart attacks.
Overall, if your nails are acting up on their own, without any additional symptoms, it’s usually not a cause for concern.
Abigail Rasminsky has written for the New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Cut, Lenny Letter, Longreads, and The Washington Post, among other publications. A graduate of Columbia’s MFA program, she lives in Los Angeles with her family. You can find her on her website and on .
6 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health
“Your nails are a very good reflection of your health. Many things can occur in the nails that can signify systemic or skin problems,” says dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD.
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Pay attention to anything on or around your fingernails or toenails that suddenly appears different, she says. “Anything that doesn’t look normal ought to be addressed. Your best course of action is to see a doctor as soon as possible.”
Here are six conditions that can also cause symptoms in the nails. However, for a diagnosis, it’s important to see your doctor, who will take many factors into account besides nail symptoms.
Fingernails and toenails are closely related to hair, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says. Just as your hair might fall out after an illness or a prolonged period of stress, your nails can also exhibit symptoms. Most frequently, stress will cause side-to-side lines to appear on your nails.
2. Moles or melanoma
A concern about nail color is one of the most common complaints dermatologists hear, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says. Discolorations usually appear in lines that run from cuticle to tip, and they can be benign moles or cancerous melanomas. African-Americans and Asians are more ly to experience normal pigmentation changes that are related to ethnicity.
You should consult a dermatologist if the skin under the nail plate — the hard part of the nail, covering the fingertips — develops any brown coloring, she says. These developments are always more of a concern if they affect a single finger instead of all. Brown lines that run into the cuticle could be a sign of melanoma. Ones that stop at or before the cuticle are ly caused by moles.
Small cysts that grow near or on the cuticles may arise with arthritis. These are benign (not cancerous) and best addressed by a hand surgeon.
This common skin condition is usually characterized by scaly, red patches, but it can also impact fingernails and toenails, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says.
If you have yellow-red discoloring on your nail, often called an “oil drop” or “salmon patch,” you should consult your dermatologist. Here are other symptoms that can also indicate psoriasis:
Indentations: Nicks or pits on the nail plate, which is the hard part of the nail that covers the fingertips.
Beau’s lines: Lines that run side-to-side across the nail.
Skin thickening/nail loosening: Thickening of skin under the nail, which can dislodge the nail (onycholysis) from the nail bed. This generally starts at the tip and works their way toward the cuticle.
White areas: Distinct white spots on the nails, also called leukonychia. (The cloudy white spots that sometimes appear on fingernails and toenails do not fall into the category, and aren’t cause for concern, according to Dr. Poblete-Lopez.)
Black lines: Black lines running from tip to cuticle could be tiny clots called splinter hemorrhages or dilated and burst capillaries — potential symptoms of psoriasis.
Redness: The usually pale areas near the cuticle turn red, which could be caused by congested capillaries, another possible sign of psoriasis.
RELATED: How to Deal If Your Psoriasis Leads to Psoriatic Arthritis
5. Kidney disease
Several nail changes can indicate the presence of acute or chronic kidney disease, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says:
- Beau’s lines: These side-to-side lines can be a symptom of acute kidney disease.
- Ridged nails: Also called koilonychia, rough nails with ridges can exist in the presence of kidney disease. These nails are also frequently spoon-shaped and concave, and they can point to iron-deficiency anemia.
- White streaks/spots: Similar to psoriasis cases, distinct white streaks and spots on nails can point to chronic kidney disease.
6. Darier disease
Darier disease is a rare genetic disorder that causes a skin rash and appears mostly in adolescence. It shows up in the fingernails and toenails as broad, white or reddish stripes that run from cuticle to tip. A V-shaped nick near the fingertip can also indicate this condition, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says.
Preventing underlying conditions that impact your nails isn’t always possible, Dr. Poblete-Lopez says, but you can care for your nails by staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. Be sure you’re consuming enough Vitamin B and zinc because those nutrients greatly strengthen your nails.
In many cases, she says, changes to your nails can be normal and don’t point to any undiagnosed health changes. But, if you have a question, consulting your doctor is always best.
“Some nails may not appear smooth or they might havelongitudinal strips or ridges. As long as whatever you see is consistentthroughout the distribution of the nail, it’s ly OK,” she says. “If there’ssomething the ordinary, though, it’s reasonable to see a dermatologist.”
Ten Things Your Nails Say About Your Health
Take a good look at your fingernails and you may notice subtle variations in the texture or color – a touch of white here, a rosy tinge there, perhaps some rippling or bumps in the surface. These imperfections may not look much to you, but to the trained eye they can provide valuable clues about your overall health.
“Just the eyes are the window to the soul, so are the nails,” says Tamara Lior, MD, a dermatologist with Cleveland Clinic Florida. Lior says she once convinced a patient to have his lungs checked after noticing a bluish tint to his nails, a sign that he wasn't getting enough oxygen. Sure enough, he had fluid in his lungs.
Warning signs for many other conditions, from hepatitis to heart disease, may also appear in the nails, according to Joshua Fox, MD, director of Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “Changes in the nails can be a sign of a local disease a fungus infection or a sign of a systemic disease lupus or anemia,” Fox tells WebMD.
He says he sometimes tries to guess if a person has anemia by looking at his or her nails. He explains that pale, whitish nail beds may indicate a low red blood cell count consistent with anemia.
An iron deficiency can cause the nail bed to be thin and concave and have raised ridges.
While most of Fox's patients don't come in to report nail problems, he often checks their nails anyway. “The nails offer many little clues to what's going on inside you. Lupus patients get quirky, angular blood vessels in their nail folds. Psoriasis starts in the nails up to 10 percent of the time” and causes splitting and pitting of the nail bed.
Heart disease can turn the nail beds red. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can show up in the nails through persistent nail-biting or picking, Fox says.
Even common disorders thyroid disease can cause abnormities in the nail beds, producing dry, brittle nails that crack and split easily.
He lists the following 10 examples of nail changes that could indicate a serious medical condition.
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What Your Nails Say About Your Health:10 Possible Signs of Serious Conditions
—White nails could indicate liver diseases, such as hepatitis
—Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails could indicate lung diseases, such as emphysema
—Yellowish nails with a slight blush at the base indicates possible diabetes
—Half-white, half-pink nails are a sign of kidney disease
—Red nail beds can signal heart disease
—Pale or white nail beds may indicate anemia
—Pitting or rippling of the nail surface can be a sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis
— “Clubbing,” a painless increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers, or inversion of the nail, may indicate lung diseases
—Irregular red lines at the base of the nail fold may signal lupus or connective tissue disease
—Dark lines beneath the nail can be a sign of Melanoma
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'Rarely the First Clue'
But can a doctor truly detect undiagnosed heart disease or kidney problems by looking at your nails? American College of Physicians spokeswoman Christine Laine, MD, MPH, says it's not ly.
She doesn't dispute the connection between nails and disease, but she cautions, “Nail changes are rarely the first clue of serious illness.
In most instances, patients will manifest other signs or symptoms of disease before nail changes become evident.
For example, it would be unusual that nail clubbing was the first thing a patient with emphysema noticed. Breathing difficulty probably would have been present already.”
In addition, Laine, who is the senior deputy editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine, notes that certain illnesses may cause nail changes in some patients but not in others.
“For example, not all people with liver disease develop white nails,” Laine tells WebMD. The reverse is true as well – not everyone with white nails has liver disease. “In the absence of other signs or symptoms of disease, I would be reluctant to launch a complex, expensive work-up for systemic disease solely because of nail findings.”
Fox agrees there is no need to run to the nearest cardiologist if your nail beds turn red.
“It could very well be from nail polish,” he says. Before assuming the worst, it's important to look at more common explanations, such as bruises, bleeding beneath the nail, and fungal infections.
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When to See a Dermatologist
Many common nail disorders stem from fungal infections, which can cause the nails to crack, peel, and change color and texture.
These infections often prove difficult to treat and may require professional help, including prescription antifungal medications.
Fox says it's best to see a dermatologist if symptoms persist, especially if the nails start to dislodge from the base or you experience pain and swelling.
Changes in texture, shape, or color that aren't due to a bruise or fungal infection, including irregular growth, pitting or holes in the nails, dark brown streaks beneath the nail and cuticle, or long-standing warts on the nail bed are particular concerns.
According to Lior, they can indicate skin cancer. “Warts around the nails have a tendency to develop into squamous cell cancer,” she tells WebMD.
“If patients see a dark discoloration involving the cuticle, then we worry about melanoma,” the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Fox advises reporting these types of changes to a specialist as soon as possible. “Dermatologists are well-trained in deciphering between innocuous and serious nail conditions, as well as determining when a change requires further testing.”
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Tips for Strong, Healthy Nails
To strengthen your nails, avoid infections, and improve their appearance, try the following tips:
—Keep your nails clean and dry.
—Avoid nail-biting or picking.
—Apply moisturizer to your nails and cuticles every day. Creams with urea, phospholipids, or lactic acid can help prevent cracking.
—File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly, rather than filing to a point.
—Don't remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails, which can lead to infection.
—Don't dig out ingrown toenails. See a dermatologist if they become bothersome.
—Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde.
—Bring your own instruments if you get frequent manicures.
—If you have artificial nails, check regularly for green discoloration (a sign of bacterial infection).
—Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins containing biotin.
Finally, ask your doctor to take a look at your nails during your next checkup. Fox says this is becoming more routine “because the nails offer such a unique window into the health of our bodies.”
Visit WebMD's Skin & Beauty Center
By Sherry Rauh, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
SOURCES: Tamara Lior, MD, dermatologist, Cleveland Clinic Florida. Joshua Fox, MD, director, Advanced Dermatology; spokesman, American Academy of Dermatology. News release, Advanced Dermatology. American Academy of Dermatology. Christine Laine, MD, MPH, senior deputy editor, Annals of Internal Medicine; spokeswoman, American College of Physicians.
What Your Nails Say About Your Health
You probably trim your fingernails on a regular basis, but when’s the last time you really took a closer look at your nails?
Your nails can reveal a lot about your general state of health, so it’s important to recognize the signs of healthy nails, as well as abnormalities that could indicate a medical problem.
Not sure what’s normal and what’s not? Here are some clues to help you determine what healthy nails look , and when there could be a problem, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Signs of Normal Nails
- Uniform in color
- Smooth with no grooves or pits
- Attached to the skin
- White lunula (“little moon”) just above the cuticle
Signs of Abnormal Nails
- Separation of nail from skin
- Thinning or thickening
- Oddly shaped
The good news is that nail changes aren’t usually anything to get riled up over.
Even so, a change in appearance can sometimes point to a disease elsewhere in the body.
If you notice any of the following changes in your nails, err on the side of caution and make an appointment to see a dermatologist or podiatrist.
Nail Color Changes Tied to Health Conditions
A change in nail color might not mean anything, but certain changes may be linked to the following conditions:
Leukonychia Also known as “white nail syndrome,” leukonychia can develop when there’s a defect in how the nail grows, explains Ashley Anderson, DO, a family medicine doctor with Dignity Health Medical Foundation in Davis, California.
The nail will have white patches or lines, which often don’t reach the edge of the nail, or the entire nail will go white, she adds.
These changes can be due to microtrauma of the nail, especially after a manicure or with artificial nails, or indicate leprosy, cirrhosis, or typhoid fever, warns the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center (GARD).
Terry’s Nails The nail will look mostly white and grainy with a pink or red strip at the top. This change is found in about 80 percent of people with cirrhosis, according to an article published in the journal American Family Physician. It can also develop in people with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Muehrcke’s Nails Muehrcke lines usually appear as narrow pairs of whitish, horizontal bands on the fingernails (it is uncommon for them to appear on the thumbnails), according to an article published in March 2013 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The condition has been linked to low levels of a protein called albumin, which is found in the blood. According to an article published in the Journal of the Turkish Academy of Dermatology, this condition has also been linked to liver disease and malnutrition.
Half-and-Half Nails, or Lindsay’s Nails Half-and-half nails feature red, pink, or brown bands occupying 20 to 60 percent of the nail bed, according to an article published in April 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine. The condition is associated with chronic kidney disease.
Mees' Lines Mees' lines are single or multiple narrow, whitish lines running along the width of the nail, and may involve multiple nails, according to an article published in the March–April 2015 issue of the Indian Dermatology Online Journal.
They are caused by arsenic intoxication, and have also been reported with other conditions as well, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria, shingles, chemotherapeutic drugs, carbon monoxide (CO) and antimony poisoning, renal and cardiac failure, pneumonia, and childbirth.
Splinter Hemorrhages These thin, dark red or brown vertical lines in the nail bed look splinters beneath the nail, but are actually blood under the nail plate appearing in a splinter pattern, explains Tammy Gracen, a doctor of podiatric medicine based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Possible causes include trauma, collagen vascular diseases, infectious endocarditis, and heart disease. It's also sometimes seen in people with clotting problems and those who inject drugs under the nails, Dr. Gracen adds.
Yellow Nail Syndrome This condition — where slow-growing yellow nails become thickened and curved — is associated with pulmonary disease and lymphedema, Dr. Anderson says. She also notes that some cases of yellow nail syndrome are spontaneous, although the condition does occasionally run in families, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).
Vertical Brown Streaks Although this is a common nail problem among people with dark skin, it shouldn’t be ignored. Dark or brown streaks on the nail can indicate a serious illness melanoma, or something simple a benign nevus (an overgrowth of cells) or chemical staining (nail polishes), according to the article from American Family Physician.
Nail Shape Changes Linked to Health Conditions
A wide range of health issues can also cause changes in the shape of your nails. Conditions possibly associated with these changes include:
Spoon Nails (Koilonychia) The nails are soft and look scooped out, they can hold a drop of liquid, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can have a variety of causes, including iron deficiency anemia, hemochromatosis (when your body absorbs too much iron), hypothyroidism, and heart disease.
Clubbed Nails or Clubbing The tips of the fingers get larger, and the nails curve around the fingertips, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Nail clubbing is most often associated with cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure,” explains Anderson.
“Less common causes include inflammatory bowel disease and cirrhosis.”
Nail Texture Changes Linked to Health Conditions
Apart from the odd bump or small lines, nails are normally fairly smooth. But a texture change can occur when there’s a problem elsewhere in the body. The following conditions can cause nail texture changes:
Beau’s Lines Beau's lines are indentations in the nails that run across the nail, according to the Mayo Clinic. Conditions associated with Beau's lines include diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, as well as scarlet fever, measles, mumps, and pneumonia. Beau's lines can also be a sign of zinc deficiency.
Pitting Small, pinpoint depressions can appear in the nails when there’s a problem in nail plate layering. These depressions can be shallow or deep, and are more common on fingernails than toenails, Anderson says.
Pitting is seen in approximately 68 percent of people with psoriasis and nail changes, according to an article published in 2017 in the journal Reumatologia.
Pitting can also appear with alopecia areata, eczema, and the autoimmune disease lichen planus.
Health Conditions Associated With Nail Separation
The following conditions can cause nail separation:
Onycholysis In this condition, the nail starts to lift up so that it’s no longer completely attached, and you're ly to see white discoloration, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Common causes include trauma, infection, and psoriasis.
Onychomadesis This is a temporary, acute cessation of nail growth that causes the nail to separate from the bed, Gracen explains. It can appear in one nail due to trauma, but is also seen in children following hand, foot, and mouth disease, as well as with immune diseases, psoriasis, and lichen planus, she says.
When Nail Changes Are Harmless and When to See a Professional
Your nails say a lot about your health, so don’t ignore abnormalities. While many nail changes are nothing to worry about, you won’t know this until you get checked out by a doctor.
“Any changes to the nail that don't resolve in a few weeks and don't have an inciting cause should be evaluated by a physician,” warns Anderson. “Additionally, any pain, swelling, or redness should be evaluated right away.”
10 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health
Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but nails can offer an important glimpse into your overall health.
It turns out, having strong, healthy nails isn't just good news for your manicure—unpleasant nail symptoms could also indicate bigger health problems.
We spoke with John Anthony, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules about the nail symptoms you shouldn't ignore (and which are totally normal).
“This can happen naturally with age,” says Dr. Anthony. “But it's also sometimes due to nail lacquers or acrylic nails.” If you often wear acrylic nails or paint your nails and are having this problem, try taking a break from the salon and give nails a chance to recover. Another possible cause: smoking, which can stain nails and give them a yellowish hue.
This issue is a common one, and there are a few possible causes. “Soft, brittle nails can occur from dryness on the nail plate,” says Dr. Jaliman.
“This could be from swimming, overuse of nail polish remover, frequent dishwashing without gloves, or just from living in a low-humidity environment.” Other possible causes include chemicals (such as if you're frequently exposed to cleaning products) or aging.
However, if brittle nails are an ongoing problem, speak to your doctor: sometimes hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid works too slowly) causes this side effect, too.
RELATED: 19 Signs Your Thyroid Isn't Working Right
To soothe cracked nails, try slathering them with a super-moisturizing lotion. your skin, nails are absorbent, and lotion can prevent them from drying out in the future. Dr.
Jaliman recommends choosing a product that contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin or Shea butter (we SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter, $13 at amazon.com).
If that doesn't help, you can also try taking biotin, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that promotes healthy nail growth.
“Clubbing of the nails—when the ends of your fingers swell and the nail becomes curved and rounded—can sometimes be a sign of liver or kidney disease,” says Dr. Anthony. If you're experiencing this, speak to your doctor.
Many people believe that white spots on nails indicate a calcium deficiency, but this isn't typically the case: “Usually, those white spots are not very significant,” Dr. Anthony says. “They're often the result of minor trauma, such as if you whack your finger against something, and aren't generally to do with calcium.”
“I sometimes see transverse (side to side) ridges on nails,” says Dr. Anthony. “This is typically the result of direct trauma to the nail or a more serious illness, in which case you'll see it on more than one nail at a time.
” The reason? When your body is working overtime to combat an illness, it saves its energy for the important stuff.
“Your body is literally saying, 'I've got better things to do than make nails' and pauses their growth,” he explains.
Another possible cause for those side-to-side ridges? “Horizontal lines across the nail plate can also be caused by a drug reaction, for example if the patient recently had chemotherapy,” says Dr. Jaliman.
RELATED: 10 Foods for Stronger Nails and Thicker Hair
This is usually a normal sign of aging. “Just wrinkles on your face, you also get lines on your nails as you age,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Nail-biting is a common habit, but if it's excessive—say, constant biting or picking at the skin around the nails—it could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. “Sometimes psychiatric medicine is required to treat OCD-related nail biting,” says Dr. Jaliman. “A bitter-tasting compound that's polished onto the nails can help, too.”
RELATED: 10 Signs You May Have OCD
“Spoon” nails refer to a very thin nail which has become concave in shape. “This is usually a sign of iron deficiency anemia,” says Dr. Jaliman, who recommends speaking to your doctor if you're experiencing this. “It can be treated with iron supplements.” Extremely pale nails could also be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.
Speak to your doctor if your nails are covered with pits or dents, as this could be a sign that you have psoriasis, says Dr. Jaliman.
If you have black discoloration on your nails (such as black streaks) or a painful growth on the nail, see your doctor immediately. “Melanoma that comes from the nail unit is serious, and can sometimes cause black lines or stripes to appear on the nail,” says Dr. Anthony.
“So if you see those changes happening on your nails, it's important to see a doctor.
” And although melanoma is generally less common in Hispanic, Asian and black populations, Anthony says that those patients may actually be more ly to see dark stripes when the disease is present—making a trip to the doctor even more important.
What Are Your Nails Saying About Your Health?
Fingernail changes can be warning signs in regard to your health and should be checked out rather than ignored.
Most of us don’t pay much attention to our fingernails. Even if you polish, primp or manicure your nails, you may not notice a rosy, yellow or pale color, or if there are ripples or ridges developing. But all of these may be warning signs that something is wrong with your overall health.
The surface of your fingernail should be smooth. If you detect ripples or pitting developing, this may be an early warning of psoriasis, eczema or inflammatory arthritis. According to the Healthline.
com website, “Iron deficiency anemia can also trigger vertical ridges and changes to your nails that make them concave, or spoon-shaped.
” Deficiencies in calcium, zinc or vitamin A can also be the culprit of ridges in fingernails.
If the nail bed is predominantly white with darker rims near the top, this can indicate liver problems such as hepatitis. According to WebMD, pale fingernails can also indicate problems with anemia, liver disease or even heart disease.
A fungal infection is the most common cause of yellow nails. If the condition persists, the nails may continue to deteriorate and become thick and crumble. Healthline.
com states: “In some cases, nails that remain yellow despite repeated treatment can be a symptom of thyroid conditions, psoriasis, or diabetes. In rare situations, yellow nails can indicate the presence of skin cancer.
A condition called yellow nail syndrome (YNS) is indicated by continually yellow nails and respiratory or lymphatic problems.”
Split or cracked nails
A combination of splitting and cracking nails can be due to a fungal infection. And if the splitting is not related to damage from chemicals such as household cleansers, it could be a sign of thyroid disease.
According to the Livestrong website, “Splitting nails may be caused by hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn't produce enough hormones.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include weakness, fatigue, unintentional weight gain, joint pain and heavy menstrual periods.”
Clubbing happens when the nails become rounded and the tips of the fingers swell in size. It is a slow process and can take years before it becomes evident.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Nail clubbing is sometimes the result of low oxygen in the blood and could be a sign of various types of lung disease.
Nail clubbing is also associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and AIDS.”
Puffy nail fold
If puffy skin develops around the nail bed, accompanied with redness and swelling, this could be due to an infection called paronychia. It’s a common infection that can usually be treated with antibiotics. Puffy nail beds can also be a sign of a disorder. According to WebMD, “It may be the result of lupus or another connective tissue disorder.”
Dark lines beneath the nail
This type of change to your nails can be cause for concern. Dark lines beneath the nail can be due to an injury in which blood can clot underneath the nail and cause dark lines to form.
If it is not due to an injury, it should be looked into as soon as possible. WebMD says it can be a sign of cancer: “Dark lines beneath the nail should be investigated as soon as possible.
They are sometimes caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.”
Toenail fungus infections are the result of various fungal organisms. Yeast and molds can also lead to nail infections. Athlete’s foot is caused by a number of different fungal infections and can spread from one toe to another.
“Toenail fungus can affect anyone but becomes more prevalent with aging,” according to the Verywell site.
Individuals with certain diseases, such as diabetes and conditions that affect limb circulation, are more susceptible to fungal nail infections, as well as people who have suppressed immune systems.”
Changes to your nails, whether on your fingers or toes, can take place for many reasons. However, it is still important to see your doctor or a dermatologist. Changes can be warning signs in regard to your health and should be checked out rather than ignored.
Healthy Nails – What Your Nails Say About Your Health And Wellbeing
Healthy nails reflect a healthy body. These bits of keratin at the ends of your fingers and toes grow and develop correctly when you take care of yourself. However, various internal and environmental factors may change or discolor otherwise healthy nails. While not all signs indicate a serious problem, it is a good idea to know the causes of common nail issues that people experience.
What If Your Nails are Brittle and Breaking?
If you notice your nails breaking and chipping more than usual, the common culprit is a dry nail plate. Your nail plate dries out when you overexpose your hands to harsh chemicals. Using harsh nail polish remover strips your nails of needed moisture.
Additionally, detergents such as dishwashing liquid tend to dry out your nails. Wearing gloves when using harsh chemicals and detergents can protect your nails from becoming brittle.
You can also reintroduce moisture to the bed by staying properly hydrated and moisturizing with unscented lotion.
If protecting your nails from chemicals doesn’t help, you may suffer from hypothyroidism— a condition where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Consult your doctor if you believe your brittle nails are the result of an underactive thyroid gland.
White Spots On Nails – What Does It Mean?
Little white spots on the nail bed are normal, and many people assume they are a sign of a calcium deficiency. However, this is a fallacy. White spots on the nail are harmless.
They are commonly caused by minor trauma to the nail bed or surrounding tissue– think of them a bruise. Additionally, if you leave nail polish on for too long, the surface of the nail may break down and create spots.
The only way to get rid of these spots is to wait it out. They will eventually grow your nails.
However, if the white spots on your nails have a powdery consistency, that may be a problem. A loose consistency means it is not a bruise– rather it may be a fungal infection. An over-the-counter nail fungal treatment can clear up an infection.
Why Are Your Nails Turning Yellow?
Yellow nails are unpleasant to look at, but most of the time they result from your attempts at beautifying. The most common culprit behind yellowing nails is staining from cosmetic nail polish. A good base coat can help prevent yellowing from nail polish, but it is not a guarantee. Additionally, various home treatments including lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide can fade the yellow.
If you never paint your nails but experience yellowing anyways, you may be showing early signs of diabetes, which must be treated by a doctor. Yellowing Nail Syndrome involves discoloration as well as thickening and impeded growth. If you notice this trifecta, it may be a sign of respiratory problems including bronchitis.
What Do Vertical Ridges On My Nails Mean?
Lines on your nails result from the same thing as lines on your face – aging.
The older you get, the more elasticity you lose. Vertical ridges are wrinkles for your face. To treat them, use the same techniques you employ for a smooth complexion. Moisturize regularly and hydrate regularly.
Using a good UV protection agent on your hands can also help prevent the breakdown of cells. You can also ensure healthy nails by getting regular, nourishing manicures that pamper your hands and prevent signs of aging.
What If Your Nails Are Curving Up?
Nails shouldn’t scoop and curl up at the ends. If you notice this pattern at the tips of your fingers, it’s time to make an appointment with your physician for blood work.
Scooping nails result from an iron deficiency or anemia.
Other signs include fatigue and dark circles under your eyes. Only a doctor can diagnose an iron deficiency, but the problem is easily treated with diet changes and a supplement.
If you notice your nails are curving, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. While they most ly result from a type of anemia, they may also signal other health problems. Liver damage, heart disease, and hypothyroidism all-cause nail disfiguration.
Healthy Nails for a Healthy You
People often associate manicures and pedicures with cosmetics. However, taking care of your nails is an investment in your health. Regular care of your nails prevents spots, chipping, yellowing, and ridges.
Plus, the exfoliation and care of the skin around your nails prevent signs of aging. Additionally, getting a manicure or pedicure relaxes the mind and body.
Reducing stress prevents ailments including obesity, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and depression.