Take a closer look at your fingernails to check for paleness, unusual colour and texture, even if your fingernails are often breaking, the root cause may be your health. It can be a result of nutrient deficiency or something more serious.
Here’s how to know what your fingernail conditions could mean:
- Brittle, rough, splitting fingernails are prone to crack easily and are one of the most commonly reported nail problems. This is mostly seen in women and called onychoschizia.
If your fingernails get wet or dry, due to excess use of water for cleaning dishes or washing, you should wear gloves when performing these activities.
You can also try applying lotions that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or lanolin and see a doctor. Hypothyroidism can cause brittle nails, as well as iron deficiency. Soft or weak nails can also be a result of nail treatments and due to the use of nail polish remover.
- Pale fingernails are often a result of protein deficiency in the body. It can further be a sign of serious illnesses like anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease and insufficient nutrition.
- Peeling of fingernails is likely caused by external trauma. Nails can also peel if you soak your hands too long in water. You must remember that it can also be due to iron deficiency. Consult a doctor and include lentils, red meat, fortified cereal, or baked potato skins in your diet. You may be required to take a biotin supplement.
- Ridges in your fingernails look like little horizontal or vertical waves. Vertical ridges run from the tip of your fingernail to the cuticle and might show other symptoms such as changes in colour. On the other hand, horizontal ridges, also called Beau’s lines, are a sign of a more serious symptom. Consult a doctor to find the underlying cause. It can be due to anemia or even kidney disease, in case of which nail growth stops until the problem has been treated.
- Yellow nails are caused by factors like a fungal infection or a reaction from a product like nail polish. There are a few natural treatments such as using Tea Tree Oil or Vitamin E to help tackle infections. You may also start taking multivitamins and your new nails should grow back clear again. However, if the color remains the same, it might be a sign of a larger issue.
- Black lines also called a splinter hemorrhage can appear multiple times and most likely take place if your nail suffered a trauma, such as accidentally slamming a door on your finger. It means that the blood vessel is inflamed under your nail and this should disappear over time as your nail grows. If it does not get better, see a doctor immediately because it could also hint at melanoma.
- White spots scattered on the fingernails hint at a zinc deficiency. Other possible causes include an allergic reaction, a fungal infection, injury etc.
- Half-moons are rounded white curves at the base of your fingernail. If you don’t have a half moon, it is nothing to worry about. It may be hidden under your skin. If they seem to have disappeared, it could mean you are suffering from malnutrition, depression or anemia. It is necessary to seek medical help if you also experience dizziness, anxiety, lightheadedness, weight loss and unusual cravings.
Several factors ranging from aging to poor nutrition makes your nails dry, thin and easy to break. While fingernails can provide valuable clues regarding your health, you must also be careful about maintaining their good health. You must eat whole foods, vitamins and minerals. Avoid biting or picking your fingernails, always keep them clean and moisturised.