What Are My Nails Trying to Tell Me?
The most concerning condition that your nails might indicate is melanoma, which is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. If you see a dark streak that runs the length of your nail, you should see a dermatologist right away. More discoloration can be less ominous for your nail health. Brown, yellow, or yellow-red discoloration might indicate psoriasis, which is a skin disease that is not life-threatening but often affects skin and nails.
The state of your nail health can even hint at kidney disease. There are three main signs, so be sure to look out for all of them. The first is “Beau’s lines,” which run side-to-side across your nails. Second, ridges in your nails can also indicate kidney disease. The final sign that your nail health may be pointing at kidney disease is white streaks or spots, which would be distinct and pronounced.
Another dangerous condition that might affect your nail health is anemia., e.g., if your nails are brittle or shaped like a spoon. Individuals with anemia don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in multiple symptoms. Fatigue is the most common symptom of anemia, but nail health is also a helpful indicator.
Another symptom of poor nail health to notice is yellowing. Often, yellowing of the nails indicates fungal infection. These infections more often affect toenails, but they can also alter the appearance of your hand nails. That being said, yellowed nails can also indicate diabetes or thyroid conditions. Because these nail health indicators can mean several different things, it’s always safest to see a dermatologist.
How Can I Improve My Nail Health?
There is good news regarding your nails, namely that much of your nail health is in your control. There are many small habits and routines that you can adopt to take charge of your nail health, and almost all of them are easy and cost-effective. Read on to discover all of your options!
The treatment recommended most often is staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. When we’re talking specifically about nail health, a well-balanced diet should include zinc and Vitamin B, but other nutrients that contribute to strong nails are protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Integrating these things into your diet should be relatively easy and will make a big difference in the appearance of your nails!
The next habit to maintain nail health is pretty straightforward—trim your nails! Keeping your nails trimmed makes it easier to avoid breaking or snagging, which can often be painful. A file is your best option for keeping the very edges of your nails smooth. However, there’s a risk when you trim your nails too often. Trimming your nails daily and in unusual shapes will increase your risk of painful conditions or slowed nail growth. Instead of trimming your nails every single day, only trim them when they need it or when you notice they’re getting long.
The next step to maintaining your nail health is to wear dish gloves while washing items in the sink. Using hot water with soap is excellent for washing your dishes but not so great for your nails. Even the strongest nails become dried out and weakened when you submerge them over and over. If you wash dishes every day, trimming your nails is vital.
Finally, we should note what habits to avoid. Many people bite their nails or use their nails as tools, such as opening soda cans or difficult packaging. Unfortunately, these practices are not suitable for your nail health. Using communal showers without flip-flops and wearing shoes that don’t fit well are also unnecessary risks for your toenail health.
A Parting Reminder
No matter what tactic you use to improve your nail health, it’s never too late to start. It can be challenging to maintain nail health while living with a busy schedule, but simple strategies like changing your diet, trimming your nails consistently, and wearing dish gloves will make a big difference. Stay tuned for more!