You may think of your nails as simply a fashion accessory, but nails are a lot more than that! They can, in fact, be a window on your health.
Dermatologists explain that your nails may reveal a number of things that can be an indicator of everything from stress to psoriasis.
Nails- What To Look For . . .
Here a simple way of examining your nails to see if a trip to the doctor might be in order. Some of the things to look for are color and ridges.
According to Web MD1 your diet may be playing a role in the appearance of your nail color, but nail color can also indicate a wide variety of health issues. Yellow nails could be a sign of a fungal infection and some heart problems can be associated with bluish nails.
Editor’s note: Some fungal infections are harmless but untreated, they can cause the nail to fall off. Some are also contagious, You could be spreading it to other people.
Most fungus infections are usually treated with creams and antibiotics. There’s no need to be alarmed, but healthy nails should have a good pink color and the nails should be flat.
If you see anything black or dark brown under your nail head for the dermatologist and do not “Pass Go.” This discoloration might be melanoma and require immediate attention.
DO a Nail Exam:
Many people do a mole check every year. So why not take a quick “nail exam?”
Check to see if there are some ripples or ridges. It’s important to know that the surface of your fingernail should be smooth. If you detect ripples or pitting, this may be worth a conversation with your doctor.
The direction of ridges is also noteworthy when it comes to the health of your nails and your body. Iron deficiency anemia can 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 in ridges.
Vertical nail ridges, which are fairly common, extend from the cuticle to the tip of your nail. Good news is they usually don’t signify anything serious. They often become more numerous or prominent with age, possibly due to variations in cell turnover within your nail.
However, if your fingernails change color or you develop horizontal ridges talk to your doctor. These changes could be symptomatic of an underlying health condition.2
Horizontal ridges may be Beau’s lines. They are transverse depressions in the nail plate and are usually caused by temporary cessation of nail growth. Researchers have proposed severe zinc deficiency as a cause of Beau’s lines, but some doctors believe Beau’s lines may be an indication of stress or form after a virus or the use of antibiotics.
Tips for Tip-Top Healthy Nails
One of the best things you can do for your nails is to eat a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Clinical studies have demonstrated that the daily use of 2.5 mg of Biotin, can help to strengthen and improve the quality of brittle nails.
No Nail Biting:
Now, about that nail-biting habit of yours….
Do you do it any old time or mostly during periods of anxiety and stress? In some cases it is a sign of persistent anxiety that could benefit from treatment.
Nail and cuticle biting is definitely unhealthy for your nails and can lead to infection. If you can’t stop, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
As we head into summer keep in mind that hot weather, dryness from air-conditioners and perspiration can dehydrate your nails, so make sure you drink plenty of water especially while traveling and stick to a healthy nail-care regimen,
This includes applying cuticle oil on your entire fingertip before going to bed to help reduce dryness.
Also, switch to a gentle soap or soap-free cleanser to wash your hands and always use lukewarm water instead of hot, which robs the skin of its oils. Be sure to apply lotion to hands and nails after each washing.
Ditch the Faux Nails:
Sadly, say goodbye to acrylics and, as difficult as it may be, gels. Both can strip the top layer of your nails when removed, leaving your nails weaker and more prone to break. When you’re at your favorite salon, never allow a manicurist to file down the top of your nail to make it smooth in preparation for an application of color. This also will lead to weaker nails that are more prone to crack and split.
Safer Nail Polish?
A word to the nail polish junkie (and who isn’t?). . . .experiment with as many colors are you want, but be certain to choose products that are formaldehyde and toluene-free, both ingredients can be extremely drying. Always use a base coat prior to polishing your nails. It can keep them from yellowing, especially if you tend to go for darker colors.
Investigate a new crop of nail colors that eliminate more than just formaldehyde and toluene.
ella+mila claims to provide fashion-forward nail products that are chip-resistant, dry quickly and offer a high-shine. They contain no toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, triphenyl phosphate (tphp), xylene or camphor, making it a seven chemical-free product.
* 7Free is formulated without parabens, phthalates, toluene, formaldehyde, camphor, xylene, and resin.
Another nail polish brand to check out is Smith & Cult which describes its polishes as cruelty-free, paraben-free and phthalate-free. More love for your ten fingers and toes!
Look into Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish which says it is a vegan nail polish. The colors are long lasting and void of many of the chemicals found in traditional polish.
Morgan Taylor’s nail polish is also 7-free. Advicesisters.com has reviewed many of their fashion-forward nail polish collections. See advicesisters reviews
Whichever polish you choose, don’t pick when it begins to chip. This habit is also destructive to the health of your nails and really doesn’t look so hot to anyone who happens to notice.
These are just a few of the things to look for to help assess your nail health. If you think you have any of these issues consult your doctor. Your nails are giving you important information for your health!