Do you know what your nails say about your health? Here’s how to tell.

by The First Refresh

When was the last time you really looked at your nails? And we don’t mean just a glance, we mean paying attention to them like how you would you skin when doing your skincare routine in the morning and night. 

In between manicure sessions when the nail polish is all off, do you know what healthy nails look like? Here’s how to check.

1. Pay attention to your nail color

When it’s not painted, look at the colour of your nails. Healthy nails are typically pink in colour, and uniform in colour, with nails being white in colour as it grows from the nail bed. 

If your nails are looking pale and closer to white, it might be indicative of any or a combination of conditions such as overuse of nail polish and remover, anaemia, poor nutrition, protein deficiency, or more serious conditions like diabetes, liver health and kidney disease, so it’s good to get that checked out by a doctor. 

However, if you just happen to see random white spots on your otherwise pink nails, there’s no need to worry! These are likely caused by injury - perhaps that time where your son accidentally dropped something on your hand, or an accidental careless knock against something in your rush to get somewhere quick. It also might hint at calcium or zinc deficiencies or allergic reactions. 

Apart from white and pink, there are other colours to take note of — yellow’s a sunny colour but not a good look on nails. If your nails are looking yellowish, there might be various causes at play, such as nail polish stains, smoking, or a fungal infection. 

Bonus: Perform a Capillary Nail Refill Test to check on your circulation!

Apart from being an indicator of deficiencies, did you know that your nail colour can also indicate how healthy your blood flow is? Try pressing dow on your nail, just enough to make the colour disappear, before seeing it flow back when you release the pressure. If your blood circulation is good, the pink colour should return within 2 seconds after pressure is removed. If it takes more than 2 seconds, it’s a sign of dehydration, or poor blood flow.

2. Check for texture changes

The texture of your nails can tell you a lot about its health. 

If you see slight ridges or ripple-looking lines running lengthwise (vertical lines) along your nails, don’t worry! Ridges in your nails are perfectly normal and are usually simply signs of ageing. 

However, if these ridges are running horizontal and running deep, it might be a sign of a serious condition and might also stop nail growth. These lines are also known as Beau’s lines, and would need to be examined by a doctor.

Thin nails are a tell-tale sign of overexposure to chemicals such as washing detergents (tip: wear gloves when doing the dishes!) or nail polish remover. It might also be a sign of low vitamin D levels, calcium or iron. 

Sometimes, nails might also appear pitted, with tiny indentations on the surface. These might be attributed to stress, zinc deficiency or more serious conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or joint inflammation. If this bothers you, gentle buffing and nail polish can help to hide these small dents in your nails (Mani Party’s our recommendation!).