What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health And How To Maintain Them

Nails have many obvious purposes, including helping you pick up, scratch, and separate things. However, many people do not realize that they can also provide important information about a person’s health.

Professor Johannes Kahn of the University of Melbourne, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Dermatology and a dermatologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said nails can be symptomatic of a serious condition.

“Nails can show signs of skin cancer or melanoma in the area of ​​the nail. A sign of systemic diseases that affect the joints, such as psoriatic arthritis.

“Nail chafing can be a sign of heart or lung disease, or a systemic malignancy.”

He said liver disease, kidney disease and anemia can also lead to certain nail changes.

“Horizontal lines can be a sign of previous trauma, severe illness, or previous chemotherapy. Recurrent nail infections (paronychia) can be a sign of immunosuppression. .”

In addition, Khan said it could also indicate a vitamin deficiency, for example, by brittle nails. There is a reason

hands with long nails
Nails are important to the human experience. Without them, people wouldn’t be able to easily scratch an itch or pick up a dropped needle.Oporty786/Shutterstock)

keep nails healthy

Important uses of nails make them important to the human experience. Without nails, you cannot easily scratch an itch or pick up a dropped needle. Proper nail care and maintenance is therefore important.

Khan pointed out that it’s important to protect the skin around your nails by avoiding exposure to things like excessive wet work, irritants, and harsh chemicals. It said that excessive hand washing should be avoided and only gentle washes without soap should be used.

He said you should use a good hand cream after washing, manual labor, and other similar activities to care for your nails.

“If the skin around the nails is very dry/chapped, a cream or gel containing urea can help,” Khan said.

He also said that since the cuticle acts as a vital seal for the nail unit, it should not be pushed back or damaged by sharp instruments or tools around and under the nail. He said that manipulating the nails with hard instruments should be avoided.

Khan pointed out that while nail clippers can be used without problems, care must be taken not to damage the nail or cut the surrounding skin. said.

But for major issues such as avoiding ingrown toenails, the professor pointed out that cutting the nails flat or square is of the utmost importance. caught on the skin.

He does not recommend self-treatment of ingrown toenails with instruments, and recommends consulting with a general practitioner or podiatrist first.

pandemic rising nails

Digital marketing and e-commerce manager for a beauty company kester blackAudrey Bornville said the company has observed an increase in nail damage since the pandemic.

“There is a significant increase in nail damage due to the drying out of hand sanitizer and more frequent hand washing,” Bournville said.

He further notes that nails can also be affected by a weakened immune system and mineral imbalances, and recommends that anyone desiring healthy nails should ensure that they are eating a balanced diet. I got

“If you’re lacking gut bacteria due to a weakened immune system and mineral imbalance, your hair and nails will also be affected,” she said.

“That said, the best way to take care of your nails is actually from the inside. A healthy, balanced diet is definitely important. Moisturize your hands and nails and use quality products.” is also an important factor.”

To help your nails heal, Bourneville recommends applying a hydrating multi-purpose oil and a moisturizing nail and cuticle mask to your cuticles regularly before bed. For extra hydration and care, Moisturizing Multi-Use Oil can be applied to cuticles morning and night.

Kester Black also notes that alternating nail strengtheners, treatments, and base coat nail polishes with overnight restorative masks that moisturize and nourish dry or damaged nails can help people, I’ve found it really helpful, especially for people who suffer from peeling nails from nail products like SNS and acrylics.

Red nail polish spills on light colored carpet

Professor Khan said it’s difficult to answer whether nail polish is carcinogenic. (Maria Dreifhout/Shutterstock)

Risks of manicure and beautification

But what about the risks that many people associate with manicures and nail beautification?

Kahn noted that it’s difficult to answer whether nail polish is carcinogenic, but noted that formaldehyde, a key ingredient in many nail polishes, could be a chemical to watch out for. did.

“It’s not clear if the amounts in nail polishes have any adverse effects. Some nail polishes are marketed as ‘5 free.’ Contains no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin or camphor. ”

“Nail polish and acetone polish remover can lead to damage to the nails themselves, irritant contact dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis.

Khan said nail polish can damage the cuticle, causing infections, thinning, lifting and grooves on the nail plate. He said there are potential risks.

“Some beauty treatments carry potential risks from repeated exposure to UV light,” he said.

But according to Bourneville, nail polish isn’t harmful and has actually been shown to improve nail health and aid nail growth by providing an extra layer of protection over your nails.

She said the nail polish contains carcinogenic ingredients, but the ingredients are not considered carcinogens for their intended use.

According to Bourneville, nail polish is made of ethyl acetate and butyl acetate, both of which are solvents, so absorbing them or applying large amounts to your skin can certainly pose a health problem. . However, when used in polishes, the ethyl acetate and butyl acetate evaporate quickly and dry the nail polish film, leaving behind a non-toxic film.

“Nails don’t allow ingredients to be absorbed into the bloodstream the way skin does, so nail polish is very safe,” Bourneville said.

Lily Kelly


Lily Kelly is an Australia-based reporter for The Epoch Times covering social issues, renewable energy, the environment, health and science.