More About Nails

Photo Credit: Personal.psu.edu)
(Consider the fact that nail biting might also create an infection in your nails. You do not want to start walking around with your fingers looking like this.Photo Credit: Personal.psu.edu)

Why Our Nails Matter

Do you have strong nails on your hands and feet?  Well, you should! Hands and feet are used most often, and the fingers and toes are very prone to injuries.  Our nails, which is composed of hard protein called keratin, serve as protective covering to somehow shield our finger and toe tips, . Being rich in nerve endings, our fingers are highly sensitive areas making them prone to shock and various kinds of injuries like cuts, burns, bruises and trauma.  That’s why we need to have complete and healthy nails.

Parts of our nail (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Parts of our nail (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

However, do we give them proper attention; or take them for granted?  Are they as healthy as we want them to be?  Look at your  nails now.  Do they appear smooth and evenly colored?  Are they hard enough? Do they have white or black patches? Not brittle or chipped?And do they grow continuously; as in more or less one centimeter in three months?

You see, nails are also prone to diseases, and  they also serve as indicators of one’s health status. Caring for our nails and keeping them clean and well maintained are a must-do; in order for us to avoid infectious diseases and other health hazards.

In addition, it is said nails may reflect a person’s hygienic practices.  Generally, having clean nails all the time indicate high personal sanitary standards; such that people may be drawn to admire clean and beautiful nails;  or the exact opposite, be appalled at shabby or diseased nails!  Hence, it becomes a choice on whether to hail or to hide our nails. Which is preferable?

 Do we hail our nails? Or do we prefer to hide them? (Photo Credit: Ultimate Cosmetics)
Do we hail our nails? Or do we prefer to hide them? (Photo Credit: Ultimate Cosmetics)

What we should remember:

* Avoid biting or chewing your nail(s).  Nail biting might also create an infection in your nails.

* Longer nails catch and trap more dirt and bacteria than short nails.  Hence, more care on those who like to keep their nails long.

* Keeping hands wet for a long time may cause nails to break.

* Detergents and too much exposure to water make hands and nails dry, so always wear gloves when washing dishes or cleaning washrooms.

*  Refrain from using chemicals with  bare hands. Use gloves.

* Massage hands and nails with moisturizing cream or lotion to maintain good blood circulation to  finger tips and prevent drying of skin.

* Manicure and pedicure are best treatment for keeping your nails beautiful and regularly cared for.

* Applying nail polish frequently is not recommended. It can make your nails turn yellowish and damage the natural texture of nails.

* Allow your nails to breathe by leaving it without nail polish for at least one week every month.

* Avoid cutting off cuticles to prevent infection. Instead, use cuticle removers for hardened cuticles; carefully pushing it off after you have soaked your fingers in the solution.

* Use only nail polish removers that are not acetone-based to avoid dryness.

* Using of knives or blades to scrape off nail polish from nail is definitely a big no.

* Artificial nails bring glamor, but  not advisable for long use because nail beds can become more prone to fungal infections.

* Never use undersized or tight-fitting shoes to avoid nail disorders and bunions.  Using of socks is highly recommended!

* At least once every two weeks, pamper your feet and toe nails with routine cleaning and care to keep them good looking and healthy. Nails are prone to disorders and diseases, too.

* When typing, use your finger tips and not your nail tips.  Avoid using them as tools, too.

* Wet and dirty nails can bring about infectious diseases like Onychomycosis (ringworm of the nail).

* Patches on nails,  discoloration or unusual growth of nails may signify disorders to some internal organs.

  •   White patches could be a sign of some disorders in your liver
  •   Half pink, half white nails may indicate kidney concerns
  •   Reddish nail bed may relate to heart problems
  •  Yellowish nails and thickening could indicate lung disorders
  •  Pale colored nail bed may warn  you of anemia
  •  Yellowish nails with slight blue hue at the base of nail could indicate diabetes
  •  Nails that grow upwards, called spooning, is linked with iron or B12 deficiency
  •  Nails that curve downwards and bulging nail beds could relate to lack of oxygen, probably  lung problem, heart or liver diseases
  •  Denting or pitting of nails is most often associated with psoriasis
  •  Unusual thickening of nails usually signifies  circulation problems
  •  Ridges or furrows across the nail usually indicate stress

 

It is best to seek  medical assistance  when your nails show discoloration, brittleness, splitting,  fraying, cracking, redness, swelling, unusual thickening, or any other irregularity. Likewise, nail conditions which show signs of infection, inflammation or other forms of deformity should be properly checked immediately.

Your nails maybe suffering from onychosis, which refers to diseases or deformities of the nails, samples of which are shown below:

Onychomycosis (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Onychomycosis (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

 

Onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

 

Onychia (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Onychia (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Subungual Hematoma (mild) (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Subungual Hematoma (mild) (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Onychogryphosis ("ram's-horn nail") (Photo Credit: Footdoc)
Onychogryphosis (“ram’s-horn nail”) (Photo Credit: Footdoc)

 

Onychodystrophy (Photo Credit: Podiatrym)
Onychodystrophy (Photo Credit: Podiatrym)

 

Onycholysis (etachment of the nail from the nail bed) (Photo Credit: Captainatopic)
Onycholysis (detachment of the nail from the nail bed)     (Photo Credit: Captainatopic)

 

Melanonychia , black or brown pigmentation of the l nail plate (Photo Credit: kinandallergynews)
Melanonychia , black or brown pigmentation of the nail plate (Photo Credit: Skinandallergynews)

 

Beau’s Lines (deep grooevd lines) (Photo Credit: Medskin)
Beau’s Lines (deep grooved lines)  (Photo Credit: Medskin)

Knowledge is power!  The more we know and understand about our body parts (nails included!) and how to care for them, the better it will be for us. 

Web Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nail_disease

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onychomycosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrown_nail