Contributed by the Skin Experts at Cosmopolitan Skin Care Solutions:
The other day I went to get a get a manicure. As soon as the old polish was removed, my friend leaned over from her chair to inspect my naked nails. “OMG, you have nail fungus!” she shrieked, pointing at the white spots dotting some of my nails.
“No I don’t!” I said quietly, but firmly, as I looked around to see how many people had heard her over-dramatization about my nails. A few glances did meet mine, but it didn’t seem like anyone else considered my white spots to be the huge deal that my friend did.
The poor technician stuck in between the two of us, who was currently smoothing cuticle softener onto my fingertips, looked up from above her surgical mask and shook her head at my friend. “No fungus. From trauma.” As she proceeded to pantomime things hitting my nails.
“Told you…” I said under my breath and smiled appreciatively at my manicurist for saving me from unfounded finger fungus accusations.
However, the topic of nails and their apparent health stuck in my mind (as you can tell). Although nails have come to represent a current standard in beauty in today’s society, they also serve as a big indicator of the overall health of your body. Just like your skin, any abnormality can be indicative of something much bigger happening. A white spot here or a bump there can be warning signs of other issues going on internally; with hints of problems from your liver, lungs or heart manifesting themselves on your nails. Keep reading to learn what health secrets your nails reveal…
White spots on the nails:
As my trusty manicurist said, white spots can often occur when a nail has suffered some sort trauma, such as being hit or even a rough manicure. (Pushing cuticles with too much force has been known to cause these spots.) However, these white spots can also be indicative of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Try taking a full spectrum once-a-day vitamin to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
If your entire nails are turning white though…that is cause for greater concern. If the nails are becoming mostly white with darker rims, you should schedule time with a doctor immediately as this can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis. In the picture below, the fingers are also jaundiced which is another sign of liver trouble.
Peeling dry nails:
Nails with ridges:
Yellowing of the nails:
If you don’t use dark polish and are experiencing yellow nails anyway, it could be a cause for concern. Discolored nails can hint towards anything from fungal infections, to diabetes, or liver, kidney, or lung conditions that may require medical attention.
Thin, flimsy nails:
Fragile nails that break easily usually mean that you have an iron deficiency. Again, this is something that can be easily fixed with a vitamin supplement.
The way that you treat your nails can actually help determine the current mental state you might be experiencing. Nails that are bitten down to the quick usually indicate persistent anxiety that could be alleviated with the proper treatment.
Nail biting or picking has also been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
If you can’t stop, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
And the scariest one for last… if you have a dark stripe underneath your nail, get thee to a doctor stat!
As I was writing this, the whole concept of wearing nail polish began to seem increasingly alien. When did it become the social norm to have parts of your fingers appear a wholly unnatural color? How did this come to be a standard of beauty, when the traits that are usually considered “beautiful” are indicators of desirable genetics for future off-spring.
In conclusion, after learning about all the unpleasantries that nails can indicate, my guess is that wearing nail polish is akin to coloring your hair or wearing makeup. It has become the norm because it is used as a disguise; it hides the truth about the body and reinforces an image of “health” that would be desirable to procreate with… and really– if we’re being honest– isn’t that the end goal of why we do everything that we do to groom and take care of ourselves?