Know Your Health Through Your Nails

· November 23, 2014

You can learn a great deal about your health through your nails, because they show if you are suffering from an illness or if you have nutritional deficiencies.

Your nails are formed by a transparent and bright layer, and are made up of various parts. The part of the finger that is “glued” to the nail is known as the nail bed and is very vascularized. Conversely, the part that is closest to the finger that has the shape of a half moon with a whiter color is called the lunula.

Nails grow approximately one to three millimeters a week. Different injuries can happen to them that can show you some health problems. We will talk about these problems below.

Yellow Nails

Nails that have a small cuticle, look very yellowish, and have a convex shape can be mainly due to the use of nail polish that is too pigmented and that has been used for too long. Tobacco can also cause your nails have a yellowish color, although another possibility is dryness or simply age.

Likewise, sometimes this color can be related to some lung problems, sinusitis, or simply frequent respiratory infections. Sometimes it can be caused by the use of medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis because these medications contain sulphur.

Currently, there are some products that can clean and bleach your nails. They are bubbly pills that are mixed with a little bit of water and you submerge your nails to let them soak for a half hour. Dry them very well and apply a moisturizing cream. You should avoid nail polish for a few days.


Onycholysis consists of the separation of the nail from the nail bed. Its cause can be experiencing trauma or suffering from periungual warts. It is also often caused by psoriasis, when the root of the nail is mainly affected. Hyperthyroidism can be another cause of this problem. Sometimes the nail may even have a dark brown color.


When the nail grows, superficial layers are formed. However when these layers are interrupted they produce irregularities and form certain (very small) pockmarks. This can be caused by psoriasis.

Likewise, if you have a localized dermatitis – whether it is abnormal or chemical – you may suffer from this problem.


This happens because the tissue inside softens and produces a curve in the nail, which is resembles the shape of a spoon. This can be a sign that indicates a lung problem, colon inflammation, cirrhosis, endocarditis, or celiac problems.

Interestingly enough however, in most cases, people that have these abnormalities in their nails don’t suffer from any of the health problems we mentioned. It can simply be the direct cause of genetics.


This a problem that is opposite of the previous one because the nail tends to sink instead of bulging (it happens in any direction), and the nails will become very soft.

Its cause is directly related to handling solvent materials that come from petroleum. However, another reason can be a shortage of iron, regardless of if you have anemia or not, but when this problem happens, you should analyze your levels of ferritin.

Beau’s Lines

These are depressions that happen to the whole nail. They form several lines. These lines can be on all your nails or on just a few.

They are caused by injuries in your nails or serious malnutrition problems, lack of calcium or zinc, or simply diabetes or psoriasis problems.

It can also often be because the normal growth of the nail is interrupted or because you have undergone chemotherapy treatments.

Muehrcke’s Lines

These are white lines that form crosswise. The are especially caused when albumin levels aren’t at the proper amount. So, when these levels are controlled, these marks will disappear on their own.

Just like in the previous case, they tend to be caused by poor nutrition or for undergoing chemotherapy treatments.


This is a problem in which the nail turns white – either all over or in parts. It can form white lines or dots. It can also happen in all nails at the same time or just in a few.

These are very common marks that can be seen in adults or in children. They don’t have any clinical importance and are temporary problems that can be solved by eating foods rich in zinc.

Striped Nails

The stripes can be vertical and are very common. They are a simple defect in the nail’s growth and don’t indicate any health problem, although it can possibly be an age problem.

Because it is a normal nail aging problem, you should resort to nutrition, which you can achieve by applying keratin-based nail polish, which will help the nail regenerate and be able to grow evenly.

Chip-Shaped Hemorrhages

When someone has this problem, you can see red lines underneath the nail. Many times, they can be a sign of endocarditis, significant trauma, or psoriasis. A shortage of vitamin C can cause hemorrhages in other cases.

Changes in Color

The lunula may change color often. When there is a shortage of iron, the nail bed will turn very pale. When there is a cirrhosis problem, the nail may turn white.

Halves of Nails in Different Colors

This happens when the nail becomes two colors. The distal part of the lunula becomes a brown color.

When you have kidney problems, two colors in your nails can often be caused: the part that is closest to the nail growth will turn whiter, which leaves the nail in two tones.

Weak or Split Nails

This is a relatively common problem and can be caused mainly by dryness. Therefore, the solution is to hydrate them very well and often.

The easiest way to hydrate your nails is to massage them with a cotton ball soaked in almond oil. You should do this a few times a day. At night, use a good cream and massage your fingers (especially your cuticles).

In Conclusion…

As you have realized, there are many problems that can affect your nails. But each and every one have a quick and easy solution. You just have to be aware of the changes that happen to them and know how to recognize the problem on time in order to find the proper solution. Remember that you should apply a good moisturizing cream every night, and mainly focus on the cuticle area.