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VERIFIED CONTENTConsultation: lek. Ewa Ordyńska, allergist and dermatologist

The appearance of nails often reflects the condition of the body, so it's worth taking a look at them. He althy nails are pink and smooth. Changes in their shape, color or structure can be the result of improper care, poor nutrition, or disease. Find out what the individual changes on your nails mean.

Only somechanges to nailsappear as symptoms of dermatological diseases (e.g. mycosis). If you are concerned about the appearance of your nails, see a dermatologist. Perhaps the causes of trouble are trivial and all you need is skilled care. Treatment will be required for more serious problems.

Weird shape of nails

»Spoon-shaped nails.The plate resembles a spoon - it becomes concave in the center and its edges are curled upwards. The cause of this deformity is most often iron deficiency or anemia, as well as hormonal disorders. Such nails can also occur in children (it usually passes with age).

» Watch nails.The nail plates are round and convex, resembling watch glass. They accompany the so-called drummer's stick fingers, which are characterized by hypertrophy and expansion of the fingertips. The most common causes of such nail changes are congenital heart defects, chronic lung diseases, some digestive system disorders, and cirrhosis.

» Nail claw.The nail plate is significantly thickened, elongated and curved like a claw, turning yellowish or gray at the same time. Deformities may arise as a result of injuries, chronic pressure on the nail (e.g. due to poorly chosen shoes), as well as with peripheral circulatory disorders.

» Tubular nails.The plates are thickened, and their free edges are curled (resemble a roll), horn masses accumulate under the nail. Such changes are the result of an inherited disease, usually accompanied by hyperkeratosis of the skin on the hands and feet.

When NAILS get sick - see the photo gallery!

See the gallery of 6 photos

What should the nail matrix look like?

At the root, under the skin, there ismatrix , i.e. the layer of cells from whichthe nail grows out. The white crescent moon, called the nail plate, is where the living part turns into a dead horny plate.

We can shorten it painlessly with scissors. The nail lies on the bedding, or the placenta. The whole thing is surrounded by nail shafts. Cuticles, i.e. the epidermal margins, grow on the plate, protecting the nail against drying out and infections.

Changed surface of nails - what does it prove?

Even the very surface of the plate proves your he alth.

  • Longitudinal grooves sometimes mean gastrointestinal disturbance or osteoporosis. They can also talk about aging nails. They are the equivalent of wrinkles on the skin. Such changes have a genetic basis and appear in some 30-year-olds. They are also the result of frequent nail injuries, e.g. during a slightly delicatemanicurewith the use of metal nippers.
  • Crescent-shaped transverse furrows, most often on all nails, are a symptom of malnutrition or neurological complaints. They are characteristic of people undergoing chemotherapy. Irregular furrows are a reminder of debilitating diseases, such as pneumonia. They also accompany psoriasis and eczema. If you notice them, see your doctor.

Take care of your nails

  • Do not bite your nails - it weakens the plates.
  • Protect your nails from detergents.
  • Do not cut the skins - it is easy to damage the plate then.
  • Use primers for colored varnish.
  • Strengthen nails with conditioners.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, silicon, zinc and copper - they keep nails in perfect condition.

Discoloration on nails - what do they mean?

  • White discoloration on the nails- the white color may cover the entire plate or appear in the form of tiny points (the so-called blooming of the nail). The first case is true nail albinism, that is, the glow of the nail plate. It may be related, inter alia, to with psoriasis, heart failure, cancer, calcium and protein deficiencies. On the other hand, whitish spots (point vitiligo) usually result from an injury to the nail plate.
  • Yellow discoloration on the nails- such nail discoloration is often the result of painting them with red varnish (without the use of a primer), because the dyes contained in the varnish are transferred to the nail plate. It can also appear as a result of taking certain medications (e.g. beta-carotene, tetracyclines), in the course of type A or B jaundice, psoriasis, mycosis, as a result of smoking (usually it concerns the finger).pointing and center).
  • Brown discoloration on nails- such discoloration is caused by some medications applied externally (including cygnoline, potassium permanganate), as well as henna. It also occurs in diseases of the thyroid gland, malnutrition, nicotine abuse.
  • Green discoloration on nails- may appear as a result of bacterial infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which usually occurs as a result of frequent soaking of hands in water with detergents, cuts during manicure or mycosis .
  • Gray-blue discoloration on nails- usually the result of poisoning (e.g. with silver - silvery), as well as the use of certain medications (e.g. anti-malarials). It also occurs in diseases related to peripheral circulation disorders (e.g. Raynaud's disease) and in disorders of copper metabolism (Wilson's disease).
  • Black discoloration on nails- partial darkening of the plate is usually the result of trauma (subungual hematoma is formed). The dark color of nails is sometimes the result of the use of certain medications or chemicals. And black lesions under the nail on one finger, which, unlike the hematoma, do not move with the plate's growth, may be a form of malignant melanoma.

What changes on nails indicate mycosis?

Mycosiscauses half of all nail changes. It usually appears on the nails of the feet, less often on the hands. Nail fungus, like athlete's foot, is easy to get infected in swimming pools, hotels, using someone else's manicure andpedicure , towels, and borrowing shoes.

The infection is also favored by wearing tight plastic shoes. The nail plate becomes thickened, uneven and dull, and turns yellow, greenish or brown in color. At the same time, it is clearly weaker, prone to splitting and hurts when touched. Home treatments will not cope with this type of mycosis, so you need to see a dermatologist to prescribe the right medications.


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