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What 6 Major Nails' Issues Can Tell You About Your Health

Our nails, often seen as purely aesthetic, can actually reveal a lot about our overall health. They act as tiny windows into our body's internal state, reflecting nutritional deficiencies, underlying conditions, and even injuries.


Nails' issues

By paying attention to changes in their appearance, we can gain valuable insights and potentially address health concerns early on.This blog post explores six common nail changes and what they might signify.


1. Brittle Nails: Breaking and Splitting Easily

What they look like: Brittle nails are thin, dry, and prone to cracking, peeling, or splitting at the edges. They may also lack flexibility and break easily.


Brittle Nails

Causes and Factors:


  • Dehydration: Lack of sufficient water intake can lead to dry, brittle nails.

  • Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamins like biotin, iron, and B vitamins can contribute to brittle nails.

  • Frequent hand washing or use of harsh chemicals: Exposure to water, detergents, and cleaning products can strip away natural oils from nails, making them brittle.

  • Age: Nails naturally become thinner and more brittle with age.

  • Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like thyroid disease, psoriasis, and eczema can also cause brittle nails.


Solutions:


  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body and nails hydrated.

  • Diet: Include foods rich in biotin, iron, and B vitamins in your diet. Consider taking a multivitamin if dietary changes are insufficient.

  • Protect your nails: Wear gloves when doing housework or using harsh chemicals. Apply moisturizer regularly to hands and cuticles.

  • Avoid harsh treatments: Limit the use of nail polish remover and opt for acetone-free options.

  • Consultation: Book an appointment at Star Freud Wellness for Vitamin injections and Vitamin IV Drips. You can also book a 15-minute free Online consultation with us to choose a better option



2. Yellow Nails: A Discoloration to Be Aware Of

What they look like: Yellow nails can range from a mild discoloration to a deep yellow hue. The entire nail or just the nail bed may be affected.


Yellow Nails

Causes and Factors:


  • Fungal infection: This is a common cause of yellow nails, especially in toenails.

  • Smoking: Can stain nails yellow over time.

  • Psoriasis: This skin condition can affect the nails, causing them to become yellow and thickened.

  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as antimalarials and antibiotics, can cause yellowing of the nails as a side effect.

  • Nail polish: Long-term use of dark nail polish can stain nails yellow.


Solutions:


  • Treat underlying conditions: If a fungal infection is the cause, an antifungal medication will be prescribed by your doctor.

  • Quit smoking: This will help prevent further yellowing of the nails.

  • Limit nail polish use: Allow your nails to breathe regularly and opt for lighter-colored polishes.

  • Consult an expert: If the cause is unclear or you suspect a medication side effect, consult your doctor. Star Freud Wellness Clinic team is always ready to take care of your well-being. You can also explore different detox services available at our Clinic.



3. Nail Pitting: Tiny Dents on the Nail Plate

What they look like:  Nail pitting appears as small indentations or depressions on the surface of the nail. These pits can be shallow or deep and may affect one or all nails.


Nail Pitting

Causes and Factors:


  • Skin conditions: Psoriasis, eczema, and alopecia areata can cause nail pitting as a side effect.

  • Injury: Trauma to the nail bed during development can cause pitting.

  • Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiency in zinc or iron can contribute to nail pitting.


Solutions:


  • Address underlying conditions: If a skin condition is the cause, treating it can improve nail health.

  • Protect your nails: Use gloves when doing activities that could injure your nails.

  • Nutritional changes: Include foods rich in zinc and iron in your diet. Consult an expert about potential supplementation.



4. Vertical Ridges: A Common Occurrence

What they look like: Vertical ridges are fine lines that run vertically up and down the length of the nail plate. They are usually a normal finding, especially as we age.


Vertical Ridges

Causes and Factors:


  • Normal aging: Vertical ridges become more prominent with age.

  • Dehydration: Mild dehydration can sometimes cause temporary vertical ridges.


Solutions:


  • Hydration: While vertical ridges are generally not a cause for concern, staying hydrated can improve overall nail health.


Important Note: Deep, wide, or sudden changes in vertical ridges can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you notice such changes, consult your doctor.



5. Horizontal Ridges: A Cause for Investigation

What they look like: Horizontal ridges are deep lines that run across the width of the nail plate. They may appear as a single line or multiple lines.


Horizontal Ridges

Causes and Factors:


  • Serious illness: Horizontal ridges can sometimes be a sign of a recent illness or a more serious underlying condition.

  • Recent injury: Injury to the nail matrix (the area where the nail grows) can cause a horizontal ridge to develop months later.

  • Nutritional deficiency: Severe protein deficiency can rarely cause horizontal ridges.


Solutions:


  • Seek medical advice: If you develop horizontal ridges, especially if they appear suddenly or are accompanied by other symptoms, consult your doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns.

  • Nutritional evaluation: If a deficiency is suspected, your doctor may recommend dietary changes or supplements.



6. Dark Streaks: A Reason for Caution

What they look like Dark streaks or lines running vertically under the nail can be brown, black, or red.


Dark Streaks

Causes and Factors:


  • Melanoma: A rare form of skin cancer can sometimes appear as a dark streak under the nail. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

  • Injury: Bleeding under the nail due to injury can cause a dark streak.

  • Subungual hematoma: This is a collection of blood under the nail, often caused by trauma.


Solutions:


  • Immediate medical attention: If you notice a dark streak under your nail, especially if it appears suddenly or is accompanied by pain, see your doctor right away to rule out melanoma.

  • Treat underlying injury: Depending on the cause of the dark streak, your doctor may recommend treatment for the underlying injury.


Remember: Early detection and treatment are crucial for any health concern. If you notice any significant changes in your nails, don't hesitate to consult your doctor or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Nail Change
Possible Causes
Important Note

Brittle Nails

Dehydration, Nutritional deficiencies, Harsh chemicals, Age, Underlying conditions

Consider consulting an expert if the cause is unclear or if brittleness is severe.


Yellow Nails

Fungal infection, Smoking, Psoriasis, Medications, Nail polish

Persistent yellowing, especially with other symptoms, warrants a doctor's visit.


Nail Pitting

Psoriasis, Eczema, Alopecia Areata, Injury

Consult a doctor if pitting is severe or accompanied by other skin problems.


Vertical Ridges (Common)

Normal aging, Dehydration

Deep or sudden changes in ridges may require medical evaluation.


Horizontal Ridges

Serious illness, Recent injury, Nutritional deficiency

Seek medical advice if ridges appear suddenly or with other concerning symptoms.


Dark Streaks

Melanoma (serious), Injury, Subungual hematoma

See a doctor immediately for any dark streaks under the nail.



Taking Care of Your Nails: Essential Tips for Healthy and Beautiful Nails


Having healthy nails not only improves their appearance but also reflects overall well-being. Here are some essential tips to keep your nails strong, beautiful, and healthy:


  • Maintain good hygiene: Regularly wash your hands and nails with lukewarm water and a gentle soap. Avoid using harsh soaps or scrubbing excessively, as this can dry out your nails.

  • Moisturize regularly: Apply hand and nail cream daily to keep your nails and cuticles hydrated. Look for lotions rich in ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, or vitamin E.

  • Trim and file properly: Use sharp nail clippers or scissors to trim your nails straight across. Avoid cutting them too short. File the edges gently in one direction to prevent splitting.

  • Wear gloves for protection: Protect your nails from harsh chemicals and cleaning products by wearing gloves while doing housework, gardening, or using harsh chemicals.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals like biotin, iron, and B vitamins is crucial for healthy nail growth. Consider consulting a doctor about potential deficiencies.

  • Limit nail polish use: While occasional nail polish application is fine, avoid wearing it constantly. Take breaks between polishes to allow your nails to breathe.

  • Remove polish gently: Use an acetone-free nail polish remover to avoid drying out your nails.

  • Consider supplements: Biotin supplements may be helpful for promoting nail health, especially if you have a deficiency. However, consult your doctor before starting any supplements.

  • Avoid bad habits: Biting your nails or picking at your cuticles can damage them and increase the risk of infection.


While a beautiful manicure can enhance your appearance, prioritise healthy nail practices over purely aesthetic considerations. By combining proper nail care with a healthy lifestyle, you can achieve strong, beautiful nails that are a natural extension of your well-being.




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