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What Your Nails Indicate About Your Skin Health

nail issues that indicate health

Nothing like painting dead skin cells, right ladies?!

Now that we have your attention, we are referring to your lovely nails. First of all, yes, it's true. The visible nail is actually dead skin cells being pushed up! Nevertheless, they actually serve a very real and important purpose. Your nails can say a lot about your overall health including your skin. In fact, nearly 10 perfect of all dermatological conditions are nail-related. Let's take a closer look at the connection between nails and skin health. We'll also explore some common signs to look out for.

Are Nails Skin?

Before we dive into health revealing symptoms, let's talk nails. Nails are not technically considered skin, they're more like modified types of skin (as is your hair). They are structures or skin appendages, made from skin cells, same with your hair. The part that we call the nail is technically the “nail plate.” The nail plate is mostly made of a hard substance called keratin.

So, while nails are not skin, they are closely connected to the skin's health. The skin and nails are made up of similar proteins and are exposed to the same environmental factors. Any problems or issues that affect the skin can also impact the nails, and vice versa.

Here are some common signs that your nails may be telling you about your skin and overall health:

Pale Nails (White Nails/Leukonychia)

One of the most common signs is pale nails, also known as white nails or leukonychia. Several things, including trauma, dietary deficiencies, anemia, kidney or heart disease, or poisoning, can cause pale nails. Another cause of leukonychia is psoriasis, a common skin condition. 

White Nails with Darker Rims

Another common sign your nails may give you about your skin health is Terry's nails. This has the appearance of white nails with darker rims. This is often an indicator of diabetes or liver problems, specifically hepatitis.

Yellow Nails

Yellow nails or yellow nail syndrome, can be a sign of a fungal infection, which can cause the nails to thicken and crumble. In rare cases, yellow nails signify a serious condition such as severe thyroid disease, diabetes, lung disease, or psoriasis.

Dark Stripe

The presence of a dark steak, line, or stripe under the nail plate may indicate melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer but it is highly treatable when caught early.

Nail Biting

Nail biting or picking is another common sign that your nails may be giving you about your health. Biting or picking at your nails can be a sign of persistent anxiety, stress, or an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Stress can also cause acne and other skin problems so it's important to manage your stress levels.

Caring for Your Nails and Skin

To keep your nails and skin healthy, it's important to eat a healthy diet, take a beauty supplement, and avoid harsh chemicals and irritants. It's also important to avoid biting or picking at your nails and to use gloves when working with harsh chemicals or water.

Your nails can say a lot about your overall health, and the state of your nails can also impact your skin's health. By understanding the connection between nail and skin health and being aware of common signs and symptoms, you can take the necessary steps to maintain both.

If you notice any unusual changes or discolorations in your nails, talk to a doctor to determine the cause and get appropriate treatment. By taking care of your nails and skin, you can ensure that they stay healthy and strong for years to come.


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