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Article: What do our nails reveal about our health?

Que révèlent nos ongles sur notre santé ?

What do our nails reveal about our health?

Well-groomed nails are important for our self-image and are indicative of our state of health and nutrition.

Their color, their appearance, or even the presence of spots, streaks, undulations: all these signs can indicate possible health problems linked to the heart, liver, lungs, or even nutritional deficiencies.

In addition, on a daily basis, nails are subject to external attacks such as pollution, stress, manicures or exposure to chemicals.

Examining the condition of your nails can therefore be useful to complete a diagnosis established by a doctor.

Here are the different aspects of nails indicative of health problems:

  • Yellow Nails: Healthy nails are usually pink in color. Yellow nails are caused by heavy tobacco consumption, applying nail polish without a protective base, or poor liver function. Mycoses and fungi can also be the cause of the yellow color. In this case, the advice of a dermatologist is recommended to check if the nail is not infected. Local treatment is then administered to treat it.
  • White nails: nails with small white spots can indicate anemia or simply shocks which alter blood circulation. These microtraumas can also be a sign of psoriasis or an inflammatory disease such as eczema.
  • Black nails: When nails are black, you need to monitor them closely. The appearance of a black spot or black stripe on the nail may be a sign of malignant melanoma. This is a tumor that must be treated as quickly as possible and can be treated like skin cancer. The presence of hematomas which occur following a shock or pinching is benign.
  • Blue or purple nails: Blue or purple nails are very often due to poor blood circulation. So that they become pink again, it is advisable to heat the hands and take medication to encourage the opening of the blood vessels. 
  • Red nails: Red spots on the nails can cause heart disease or poor lung or kidney function. Also, if the skin around the nails is swollen and red, it is likely an infection, lupus, or another connective tissue disease. This inflammation can be quickly treated locally. 
  • Domed nails: nails that tend to bulge slightly are benign. However, if they develop suddenly, they can cause a lack of oxygen in the blood which can lead to various diseases of the lungs and heart. Additionally, nails that hollow at the center are a sign of hypothyroidism.
  • Fragile and brittle nails: nails that are fragile and break easily can be the cause of nutritional deficiencies, psoriasis, excessive use of aggressive products (cleaning products, nail polish, etc.) or of hypothyroidism. 
  • Striated nails - with lines - with cracks: first of all, striations on the nails are very often due to a lack of iron or a hormonal change such as the arrival of menopause or dehydration of the nail . Horizontal white lines, on the other hand, indicate a lack of protein. The presence of vertical cracks indicates a vitamin B12 or magnesium deficiency. Finally, lines that are hollow and horizontal can indicate a nutritional deficiency or a risk of diabetes.

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To care for and regain strong and shiny nails, here are some tips:

First, to maintain healthy nails , you must avoid biting them because there is a risk of developing a viral or bacterial infection.

In addition, trimming your nails regularly is necessary to strengthen them and prevent breakage.

It is also very important not to expose your nails too much to harmful products. For example, you must space out nail polish applications by several weeks to let them breathe, or use a glove to protect them from aggressive cleaning products.

If the nails are damaged , crack and break easily , it means that they are not hydrated enough. Applying a moisturizing, nourishing, good quality and hypoallergenic cream daily is therefore recommended.

Once a week, you can use certain vegetable oils (castor, argan, olive, etc.), in the form of treatments, to deeply nourish and moisturize the nails. To maximize the effect of the oils, you can do a gentle massage for several minutes. These vegetable oils are also very effective for taking care of your hair .

Obviously, having a healthy and balanced diet is essential to maintain healthy nails. Deficiencies that lead to malformation or stains on the nails can be treated by taking food supplements rich in essential nutrients to improve the condition of the nails.

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If the condition of the nails deteriorates due to a health problem or illness, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the appropriate treatment.

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