Nailed It: What Your Fingernails Can Tell You
Your fingernails may say a lot more about you than you think. In fact, “nails often reflect our general state of 'health' and some changes can be linked to various health issues," according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). So, how do we know if our nails are trying to tell us something?
One major thing to look out for is “changes in shape, texture, and color of nails,” says Skincare.com expert and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dendy Engelman. “[These changes] can prove to be important clues to underlying health issues, including digestive compromises, food intolerances, and a variety of nutritional imbalances.”
The AAD says that “nail problems make up 10 percent of all dermatologic conditions.” So, just like you would check your body for moles and markings that might be discolored or appear to be changing in shape and size, it is important to check your fingernails for brown streaks or other forms of discoloration, roughness, and changes in thickness. Whether you are a fake nail type of gal, or like to keep it au natural, using your nails as a tool to indicate any changes in your overall health can be equally as important as taking good care of them.
Changes in shape, texture, and color of nails can prove to be important clues to underlying health issues, including digestive compromises, food intolerances, and a variety of nutritional imbalances.
The AAD suggests keeping your nails clean and dry “to prevent bacteria from collecting under the nail.” You may also want to break up with your nail biting habit, as it “can transfer infectious organisms between your fingers and mouth” and may even damage the skin around your fingers. They also say that if you wear nail polish regularly, you may notice that your nails can appear yellow upon removal. You should not worry too much about this, as it can be a normal occurrence—especially with bright red or orange polishes. If you remove the polish, your nails “should return to their normal color over several weeks, if the same polish is not reapplied.” In addition to these precautions, stay away from using your nails as a tool and try to keep your nails cut “straight across and rounded slightly in the center,” to keep them strong and healthy-looking.