What is the first thing you think about when you hear the term: fingernail? The first thing on our mind is nail polish or the fact that it’s something we tend to chew on when we are nervous. Well, nails are more than things to be painted or bitten, they can be health indicators of what is happening in our bodies! So fascinating right?
Firstly, how do healthy nails look like? Healthy nails should have white tips with a smooth finish and subtle shine. Your cuticles should be intact, and your nailbeds should be fresh coloured (natural flesh pink, tan or brownish).
Here are the most common nail problems that potentially signal something that’s more than skin-deep:
Brittle, rough and splitting nails are the most common to be experienced by people in general. They are usually caused by repeated wetting and drying of nails, but sometimes may be a sign of an iron deficiency.
Tip: Focus more on giving your body enough iron through vegetables, meat or supplements. Some vegetables that have a great source of iron – spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli and string beans.
SOFT, WEAK OR PEELING NAILS
Soft, weak or peeling nails bend and break easily. They might be caused by being overexposed to moisture, bad chemicals; such as cleaning detergents, nail polish removers and nail treatments. They can also indicate that your body is lacking calcium, iron, fatty acids and vitamin B.
Tip: Stay with your natural nails for a while without having any chemicals applied on them. Consider taking multivitamins with the right nutrients to make the nails stronger.
Ridges are describes as little horizontal or vertical waves on your fingernails. Generally, the vertical waves are not a concern, unless they are accompanied by change in nail colour. Horizontal waves are concerning as they could be a sign of kidney disease or another underlying condition.
Tip: For vertical ridges, buff the surface of your nail bed to smooth them out. For the horizontal ridges, see a healthcare professional as it might be something more serious.
CHANGE IN COLOUR – YELLOW
Yellow nails are quite common and are usually caused by an infection or a reaction from a product you have been using. Yellow nails may also indicate more serious health issues such as psoriasis, thyroid conditions or diabetes.
Tip: You can use natural treatments such as tea tree oil or multivitamins to help with the infection. If the colour of your nails does not go back to normal after a few weeks, talk to a healthcare professional.
CHANGE IN COLOUR – WHITE SPOTS
Multiple white spots on the nail usually occur due to a zinc deficiency, an allergic reaction, a fungal infection or because of an injury to your nail.
Tip: Keep your nails natural and monitor them. If the spots remain or re-appear, consider seeing a health professional to figure out what is causing the white spots.
Your nails might not be the first place you look to for signs that you’re killing it at this life thing, but next time you are wondering about your health, just look at your fingers. The clue just may be at your fingertips!
The Rubybox HQ
Images and article inspired by healthline.com