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5 Warnings From Your Nails About Your Health

By Jennie Waeland, August 13 2021

At LeSalon, we love talking all things polish and nail art, but it’s so important to be able to recognise when our bodies are changing and what it can mean.

So, what should we be looking out for?

Peeling Nails

The most typical reasons for peeling nails tends to be down to poor diet, rather than deeper underlying health concerns. If you find that your toenails are also peeling, this could be an iron deficiency. You can fix this by incorporating more iron into your diet (red meat, lentils, spinach, quinoa, biotin supplements). 

Peeling nails can also be down to things such as over-washing your hands or removing acrylic nails. Applying moisturiser regularly will help to counteract this external peeling. 

Yellow Nails

Again, these can be more common that you realize and can be caused by a variety of reasons. First, a yellow tint to your nails can be leftover pigment from a darker polish that has stained your natural nail. This is likely to happen if you don’t use a basecoat, which is why we stress the importance of using both a base coat and top coat during your manicure!

Yellow nails can also be the result of a nail infection. If it is a fungal infection, it can be accompanied by an unpleasant odour and flaking. Diabetic individuals are more likely to experience fungal infections, due to the breaking down of sugar and its effect on the collagen in your nails. We recommend consulting with your GP if you are concerned, but you can also try supplements such as Vitamin E or tea tree oil. 

A couple of tips I have for preventing bacterial and fungal infections is trimming your nails often; keeping dirt out from under your nails; wearing fresh socks and opting for breathable shoes. 

Black Lines

If you are seeing black lines forming on your nails, these could be splinter hemorrhages, which are inflamed blood vessels under your nail. They might also look brown or dark red, and can appear multiple times. This is usually caused by trauma to your nail, so if you trap your finger in a door or bang your nail against something. Luckily, this tends to disappear with time and grow out with your natural nail. 

In more serious cases, a dark line lying vertically down your nail can be a sign of melanoma, which is a rare form of skin cancer. This line tends to be a lot thicker than a splinter hemorrhage. To be safe, I’d recommend getting any dark lines on your nails checked out by your doctor. 

Dimpled Nails

Dimpled nails, or ridges in your nails can appear later in life, spanning from the tip of your nail to your cuticle. Without additional symptoms, these are benign and nothing to worry about. They can simply be due to a slower cell turnover in older age. Vertical ridges can sometimes be a sign of iron deficiency. 

A cause for concern is when the ridges run horizontally across the nail, which is nicknamed ‘Terry’s nails’. This can be linked to liver disease, kidney disease, psoriasis and thyroid problems. So definitely get your nails checked out by a doctor if the ridges appear suddenly, are pigmented or are horizontal. 

White Spots

If your nails have white spots, you are most likely experiencing a mineral deficiency of some kind. This is likely to be either a zinc deficiency or a calcium deficiency. So you should be topping up your zinc and calcium intake. You can mainly find calcium in dairy products, but don’t worry if you’re vegan or plant-based. You can also find it in green leafy vegetables, fortified juices and even alternative milks like almond and soy milk. 

For zinc, you can get it from red meat, chickpeas, nuts, wholegrains and milk products. And as usual, with both minerals, you can find them as supplementary tablets too. Other reasons for white spots include allergic reactions, nail injury or fungal infection. 

Fingernail Moons

Most of us have faint, half-circles at the base of our nails near the cuticle. These are called ‘fingernail moons’ and are actually based off of ‘Lunula’ which is the latin word for little moons. How cute is that?! So, normally, if you don’t have them, they may be hidden under your skin. 

If you have had them but can no longer see them, this may be down to depression or malnutrition. The only reason to go to the doctor is if they turn a red colour and you begin to feel dizzy, anxious or lightheaded, or if you experience weight loss or gain alongside the colour change. 

Peeling NailsIron deficiency, over-washing hands, removing acrylic and gel nailsIncorporate more iron into your diet, take Biotin supplements, moisturise
Yellow NailsLeftover polish pigment, fungal nail infection, not using a base coatCheck with your GP, use a base coat and top coat, try Vitamin E and Tea Tree Oil
Black LinesSplinter haemorrhage, trauma to the nails, MelanomaCheck with your GP
Dimpled NailsOld age, liver disease, kidney disease, psoriasis, thyroid issuesCheck with your GP
White SpotsZinc deficiency, calcium deficiency, allergic reactions, nail injury, fungal infectionsIncorporate zinc and calcium into your diet

It’s amazing that our nails are able to give us indicators about the overall health of our body. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment. As always, a regular manicure is a great way to look after your nails and your mobile nail technician can help you spot any concerns stemming from your nail health.

Jennie Waeland

Jennie Waeland

Jennie is LeSalon’s Social and Content Executive, covering everything from beauty, lifestyle and, of course, manicures. She graduated from the University of Roehampton with a degree in film and has since used her skills to produce various content and illustrational pieces.


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