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What Your Nail Color And Look Say About Your Health

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It would have been great to feature my nails here, but I don’t have pretty nails after all the biting and picking ?. The good thing is they look better now thanks to this article. Our nails can be very attractive skin appendages when properly cared for, and they also double as a natural tool for self-defense if you see it from my perspective ?. Humans use our nails to do all sorts of things. In this fashion-obsessed era, the appearance of your nails certainly increases your sex appeal. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. That’s correct, but the nails can do much more than just being ‘windows‘ to the soul. Your nails and their distinct color can have a lot to say about your personality and health.

Constantly increasing in length and thickness, the human nails are capable of letting you know your health status; and like hips, nails don’t lie ?. You spend your time trimming, shaping, buffing, and painting your nails, but you probably don’t spend much time looking at them bare. Yeah, they may not be as pretty without all that polish, but you may be missing spots, stripes, and odd colorations that could indicate that something’s completely wrong with your health even before you start feeling sick.

Human nail anatomy A. Nail plate; B. lunula; C. root; D. sinus; E. matrix; F. nail bed; G. hyponychium; H. free margin.

Health care providers often use the fingernail beds (Labelled F) as an indicator for predicting or diagnosing health problems without having to stick needles in you. This is because the nail bed is the skin just beneath the nail plate, and certain illnesses can’t help but show themselves on the skin.

Read More: 6 Dangerous Effects of Paracetamol You Probably Didn’t Know.

Nevertheless, checking your fingernails for the following abnormalities can help you spot early warning signs, so wipe off that nail polish and take a glance to know what your nail color says about your health.

1. Yellow Nails

Yellow Nails

In health, yellow is a color no one should want to be identified with, especially when it’s known to be associated with Jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes due to high bilirubin levels). But don’t let that bother you because yellowing of the nails is not a sign of jaundice. This can happen naturally with age, but it’s also due to nail lacquers or acrylic nails.

Read More: Insomnia: Here’s Why You’re Having Trouble Falling Asleep At Night.

On a scarier note, thickened and yellow nails are characteristic of fungal infection in the entire nail bed. Topical medication is usually ineffective because the infection is in the nail bed and underlying nail plate. Your doctor can prescribe an oral medication that will reach the entire breadth of the infected nail.

2.  Cracked or Brittle Nails.

Cracked Nails

Cracked nails are very common and there are a few possible causes. Brittle nails can occur from dryness on the nail plate (Labelled A), from swimming, extensive use of nail polish remover, washing dishes all the time without gloves, or just from living in a low-humidity environment. Other possible causes include chemicals (such as cleaning products) and aging. However, if brittle nails are an ongoing problem, speak to your doctor. Sometimes hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to keep the body functioning normally) causes this side effect too.

Read More: Here Are The 10 Worst Foods For Your Teeth.

To soothe cracked nails, try applying a super-moisturizing lotion. Like your skin, nails can absorb things easily, and lotion can prevent them from drying out in the future. Try choosing a product that contains hyaluronic acid or glycerin. Shea butter can also be used on the nails to help maintain their moisture. If that doesn’t help, you can also try taking biotin, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that promotes healthy nail growth.

3. Vertical Ridges.

Vertical Ridges on nails

Vertical ridges are actually a normal sign of aging and are not things you should bother about. Just like wrinkles on your face, you also get lines on your nails as you age. They may become more prominent as you get older.

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In rare cases, nail ridges may be due to nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and magnesium.

4. Horizontal Ridges.

Horizontal ridges

Unlike the vertical ridges, horizontal ridges appearing on your Nails have nothing to do with aging. Horizontal ridges may be due to trauma or severe illness with a high fever (such as from scarlet fever or pneumonia). Horizontal ridges, also known as Beau’s lines, may also be due to psoriasis, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory disease, or severe zinc deficiency.

Read More: Nail Biting: Read This If You’re Addicted To Biting Your Nails.

Another type of horizontal line is known as Mees’ lines, which are horizontal discolorations that may be due to arsenic poisoning, Hodgkin’s disease, malaria, leprosy, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

5.  Dark Lines.

Dark lines on Nail

We can both agree that the nail in the photo above looks weird, right? ? Dark lines on the nails should not be taken for granted. It could be an indication of serious melanoma. Dark brown or black vertical lines on the nail bed should never be ignored. Melanoma, also known as malignant melanoma, is the most serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color. The appearance of dark lines on the skin can be a sign of melanoma, which requires early detection and treatment, so you should see your doctor immediately.


6. Severely Bitten Nails.

Extreme Nail Biting

Okay,  most ‘nail biters’ developed this annoying habit when they were kids, and it’s challenging to quit. Nail-biting is a common habit, but if done excessively (constantly biting or picking at the skin around the nails), it could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). According to, psychiatric medication may be required to treat OCD-related nail-biting. A bitter-tasting compound that’s polished onto the nails can help. To learn more about OCD, see this post 10 Signs You May Have OCD.

7. Koilonychia A.K.A Spoon Nails.

koilonychia or spoon nails

The strange-looking word Koilonychia is actually Greek, and it refers to abnormally thin nails (usually of the hand) which have lost their convexity, becoming flat or even concave in shape. In a sense, koilonychia is the opposite of nail clubbing. In the early stages, nails may be brittle and chip or break easily.

8. Blue Nails A.K.A Azure lunula.

Blue nails

When someone has a blue face, it’s usually a clear indication that he/she lacks oxygen, and blue nails mean the same thing—you’re not getting enough oxygen to your fingertips. This could be caused by respiratory disease or a vascular problem called Raynaud’s Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels. Some people just have slower blood circulation, especially when exposed to cold temperatures. Have a doctor check your blood and oxygen levels if your nails are persistently blue.

9. Clubbing.

Nail Clubbing

According to, clubbing describes a situation where your fingertips become enlarged and the nail becomes curved downward. It can be a sign of low oxygen in your blood and is associated with lung disease.

Read More: Health: Find Out What The Colour Of Your Urine Says About your Well-being

Clubbing can also be related to liver or kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and AIDS.

10. White Lines.

White line on nail

Stripes on your nails are only a good thing if they are painted on. Horizontal white lines that span the entire nail, are paired, and appear on more than one nail are called Muehrcke’s lines. These could be an indication of kidney disease, liver abnormalities, or a lack of protein and other nutrients. They are thought to be caused by a disruption in blood supply to the nail bed because of an underlying disease. Shorter horizontal white marks or streaks are likely the consequence of injury to the base of your nail. These may last for only a few weeks or months and often vanish afterward.

There you have it, the 10 signs to look out for in your nail color and appearance, and how it predicts your health. So just before you apply that new amazing nail polish to flaunt your nails to your friends, take a look at your nails bare. Study them, note every little change in color and texture?. They may tell you things about your health, and as I said earlier, nails don’t lie.

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