What your nails say about your health

Cracks? Grooves? White lines? Your nails can tell you a lot more about your lifestyle than you may realise.
09 April, 2015

Carla Challis

Did you know your nails can reveal a lot about your health, diet and lifestyle?

From white spots and bumps to flaky, brittle or ridged nails, your nails are holding many a secret and can be an indicator of something you and your diet are lacking.

Clair Rose, head of cosmetics at RenuNail says that like skin and hair, your nails are at the mercy of your diet and lifestyle.

“Our hormones, stress levels and lifestyle play just as much a part in our nail health as they do in our hair and skin health,” she says.

Read on to discover what your nails might be trying to tell you...

Peeling – Peeling nails could indicate that your body is unable to absorb minerals properly. It could be that you’re not chewing your food properly or that you have a low amount of stomach acid, meaning your food isn’t digested properly.

Dry cuticles – It may seem obvious but yes, dry cuticles indicate a level of dehydration. People who wash their hands a lot or are always doing the washing up are more likely to suffer from this. Clair suggests using a nourishing cuticle oil to help hydrate the cuticles and the nail bed itself.

Grooves – Known as ‘pitting’ of the nail bed, small dots or cracks in your nails could be a sign of psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that leads to scaly or red patches all over the body, or trauma to the nail bed.

White spots or lines – These can indicate that your daily intake of sugar is too high – are you having too much fruit or chocolate? If you see white marks, try to up your fibre, vegetable and whole grain intake.

Yellowing – Yellow nails are rather unsightly and their cause could be linked to discolouration from smoking, wearing nail polish too often without a base coat or even a nail fungus. Try to give your nails a few days without nail polish every few weeks and always use a clear base coat to avoid staining the nail. If the problem doesn’t improve, see your doctor.

Brittle – We all break a nail from time to time but if yours are more sensitive than most and crack or break easily, it could be down to your thyroid or liver. Too little thyroid hormone often leads to hair loss and brittle nails that grow extremely slowly and are more likely to lift away from the nail bed. Or it could indicate liver congestion from lack of vegetables. Seek your Doctor’s advice if you’re concerned.

Hard to grow – As Clair explains, hard to grow nails are like combination skin and it can be hard to pinpoint the problem. Trauma to the nail can be a contributor, and heavy typers sometimes find their nails won’t grow past a certain length. Clair recommends keeping your nails short and regularly cutting them to encourage growth.

by RCarla Challis