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5 things your fingernails can reveal about your health according to a top celebrity dermatologist

Published on:26 September 2020, 11:40am IST
If your nails are looking shabby and dull, there could be more reasons other than missing out on that manicure session. A celebrity dermatologist reveals the link between fingernails and health.
Geetika Sachdev
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Your fingernails say a lot about your health. Image: Shutterstock
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Brittle and damaged nails, once in a while, could be a reminder for that long-pending manicure session. But if this is a constant problem, then there could be something more serious. If you notice some unusual spots, yellow patches or odd bumps, then your fingernails are trying to reveal all that’s wrong with your health. 

So without further ado, let’s find out the various ways in which you can identify illnesses through your fingernails. We’ve got top Mumbai-based dermatologist, Dr Jaishree Sharad to tell you all about it:

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1. If your nails look yellow
Sometimes, yellowing of nails happens because of overusing your favourite nail paint. Remove those remnants of polish and let your fingernails breathe. If the problem persists, then there’s definitely more to it, says Dr Sharad.

“If you have yellow nails, you could be suffering from onychomycosis, a fungal infection of the nails. Some other symptoms include thickening of the nail, and separation of the nail from the nail bed,” she adds.

2. If your nails look too pale or white
If your fingernails look too pale or white, then it could indicate problems like anemia or malnutrition, explains Dr. Sharad. In some cases, it could be triggered by even more serious health issues like congestive heart failure or liver disease.

White or pale nails are also a common sign of ageing, and are fairly visible in patients over 60 years of age.

fingernails and health
Watch out for pale nails! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. If your fingernails look too blue
Although this might sound odd, there are people who have blue fingernails and it’s not normal at all! The most common cause is low oxygen circulation in your red blood cells or cyanosis. Sometimes, the low oxygen levels can also make your nails look purple in colour.

“It indicates a lung problem, and it is especially important to stay alert during the pandemic,” advises Dr. Sharad.

4. If you see pits on your nails
Are there pits on your nails? If yes, it’s time to pay attention to the signs. It is most likely that you have psoriasis or arthritis, says Dr. Sharad.

According to a study by PubMed, up to 50% of those who have psoriasis see pitting on their nails, while 5 to 10% people have no symptoms. However, pitting of nails is more common in those who suffer from arthritis, and are above 40 years.

Also, read: Castor oil for the win! An elixir for beautiful hair, fingernails, and skin

5. If your nails are dry, weak or cracked
If you are prone to breaking nails or have cracked nails, then you’re not getting enough nutrition, ladies. Sometimes, it can also occur due to lack of proper absorption of nutrients, especially if your body is dealing with acute stress.

“In some cases, it could also point to an underlying condition like thyroid or hypothyroidism. It could also be due to deficiency of biotin,” explains Dr. Sharad.

fingernails and health
Brittle nails? You might be lacking nutrients. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There’s nothing to worry about, ladies, except for if you see a dark black ridge on your nails. “That is a sign of melanoma or skin cancer, so you need to be very alert,” says Dr. Sharad.

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Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.