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What Your Nails Are Telling You

By Sydney Cook
Posted On May 23, 2016
What Your Nails Are Telling You


If there’s one thing we love in this world, it’s a good nail job – from marble nail art to gel lacquers and coffin shaped acrylics. Many of us rarely see our nails in the nude, but when the paint chips off, it’s what’s underneath the polish that could be scary. Believe it or not, your nails could reveal the scary truth about your overall wellbeing.

Below are five tips to help you decipher your nails’ messages.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  1. Yellow

Yellowing nails are a common side effect of wearing nails polishes without the proper base coat or never giving your pointers a break from acrylics. Typically, a few days sans nail polish will do the trick of removing the yellowish stain. Smoking could also stain your nails a yellowish tint. If the yellow tone sticks around for long periods of time and your nails begin to thicken, become tender, and swell, you may have a fungal infection and should consult a doctor.

  1. Pitting

Pitting of the nail beds is characterized by depressions and small cracks in the nails and is often associated with psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that leads to scaly or red patches all over the body. Speak to your doctor if your nails are covered in pits.

  1. White Lines and Spots

Despite your mom tricking you into eating vegetables when a white spot is seen on your nail bed, the small dots are not a cause for concern and will fade away or grow out on their own. They are usually a result of some sort of nail trauma – a banged nail or an aggressive cuticle trim. However, horizontal white lines that span the entire nail, are paired, and appear on more than one nail are called Muehrcke’s lines. Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, a board-certified family medicine and integrative and holistic medicine physician in Los Angeles, told Shape that these could be an indication of kidney disease, liver abnormalities, or a lack of protein and other nutrients.

  1. Ridges

Vertical ridges are usually not something to be alarmed about. They are typically a normal sign or aging, and as you grow older, the ridges will become more prominent. In some cases, ridges may be due to extreme stress, so take it easy. Learn how to de-stress here and here.

  1. Brittle and Dry

Weak nails that crack easily are nothing out of the ordinary. This is an indication that your nails have been overly processed with harsh chemicals due to manicures, acrylics, or home cleaning supplies. Take a break from the salon and give your nails time to breathe. If you work with cleaning supplies often, wear gloves and be sure to condition your nails after. If these tips don’t do the job, consult your doctor because a vitamin deficiency or hypothyroidism could be at play.