- Thickened nails may be a sign of psoriasis.
- Red nail beds may be a symptom of diabetes.
- Pale nail beds can indicate anemia.
- White nails have been associated with kidney disease.
1 AnswerRealAge answeredAlterations in the appearance, shape, and texture of your nails can indicate an underlying health condition. For example:
1 AnswerRealAge answered
To trim nails, cut straight across with sharp nail scissors or clippers. Slight rounding of the tips is fine, but avoid filing nails into a point, which may cause weakening and make the nails more prone to damage. Soak nails that are difficult to trim in warm salt water for five minutes before trimming.
Pay attention to the cuticle -- the seal between the nail and skin. Don't clip or remove the cuticle, which can leave the nail open to infection. Instead, push back the cuticle gently with an orangewood stick. Do this after showering, when the cuticle is soft.
1 AnswerIf you lose a whole nail, experts say it will likely regrow if the matrix isn't severely damaged. The matrix is the skin below the nail. Fingernails and toenails grow out of the matrix.
Nails develop when cells in the matrix increase in number and become flattened and pushed together. Each cell becomes a thin plate, and the plates pile up to form the nail. As the cells below the nail root move up to the skin's surface, they form a hard protein called keratin, in a process called keratinization. When the hard nail cells accumulate, the nail is pushed forward.
If you've lost a fingernail or a toenail, ask your doctor if the nail is likely to regrow and what you can do to protect the area while this is happening.
1 AnswerPoor nail health can be a sign that you are not getting enough nutrients in your diet. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiency can affect the appearance of your nails. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for your nails as well as your overall health.
1 AnswerNail polish is sometimes recommended by doctors as a cosmetic fix for psoriatic nails (nails that have changed shape or color as a result of the autoimmune condition psoriasis). However, dermatologists warn that long-term use of polish can lead to brittle nails that peel or split easily. If you have a nail disorder, it is best to ask your dermatologist whether using nail polish could worsen the condition.
1 AnswerBrittle nails can be a normal result of aging. However, they can also be a sign that you may have a thyroid disorder or another medical condition.
If you have concerns about your brittle nails, talk with your doctor. He or she can help determine the cause and suggest a treatment or management plan to restore their strength. If there is no underlying reason for your brittle nails, your doctor may recommend that you do the following:
- Moisturize your nails daily.
- Keep them trimmed (straight across and slightly rounded at the top).
- Stay away from harsh polish removers.
- Try a biotin supplement to thicken your nails.
1 AnswerThe best way to protect nails and keep them healthy is not to do too much to them. Keep them trimmed to a length of just beyond the tips of your fingers and toes. Avoid using polish removers more than once a week. Wear gloves when doing chores or tasks that could expose your nails to breakage or harsh chemicals. Don’t use your nails as tools, and don’t pick or bite your nails or the skin around them. Applying olive oil, petroleum jelly, or hand creams before going to bed at night will help keep your nails hydrated and less likely to split.
1 AnswerNails are made of keratin, the same protein found in skin and hair. The nail plate sits on a soft layer of skin called the nail bed, which is rich in blood vessels that give nails their pinkish color. At the base of the nail plate is the cuticle, a fold of skin that seals the nail to the finger and protects the matrix beneath it. The lunula, or “half moon” at the base of the nail, is the visible part of the matrix (also known as the growth center) where keratin is formed. Fingernails grow about three times faster than toenails, and all nails grow faster in warm weather than in cold. Healthy nails have a uniform color and a smooth surface. Like hair and skin, nails regenerate themselves naturally, unless they become damaged. Ridges, white spots, and black spots are some of the signs that a nail has been damaged.
1 AnswerSeveral home remedies can help keep nails well hydrated and flexible and can correct problems such as nail staining from nail polishes. Rubbing olive oil, coconut oil, or petroleum jelly into nails each night will hydrate cuticles and nails, counteracting the drying that can occur from washing dishes or other daily chores. (Wearing cotton gloves to bed can keep the oil on the nails, not on bed sheets.) To remove yellow stains caused by dark nail colors without going overboard on nail polish removers, try rubbing toothpaste or lemon juice into nails.
Allergic reactions are the most common complication from nail cosmetics. Symptoms may include burning, stinging or itching. A person may have an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) to components of acrylic nails or the adhesives used to apply them. This usually results in some redness and peeling of the skin around the nail. If peeling is excessive or persists despite the use of moisturizer on the affected skin, consult a dermatologist. The most common allergens in nail cosmetics are methacrylate (MMA) compounds in acrylic nails, toluene sulfonamide formaldehyde resin in nail lacquers, and formaldehyde in some nail hardeners.
Most experts do not recommend cutting the cuticles.
In many areas, manicurists are regulated and must be licensed.
There is a risk of infection when tools are used on multiple people and not properly sanitized. Disinfect instruments used to cut nails or perform home manicures and pedicures.
Sometimes a gap develops between the acrylic nail and the natural nail. For example, if the acrylic nail is bumped or jarred, it may separate from the natural nail. This gap provides a moist, warm environment in which bacteria and fungus can grow. If such an infection occurs, the natural nail may become thickened and discolored and should be evaluated by a dermatologist or qualified health professional.
Some nail conditions may be harmless. These may include vertical ridges, which may become more pronounced with age. White lines or spots may indicate fungal infection, or they may simply result from injury to the nail plate or nail bed. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional and dermatologist before making any decisions about health conditions.
Proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes are the first lines of defense against fungal nails.
Avoid application of polish to nails suspected of infection. Such areas may appear red, discolored, or swollen.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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