Health & Fitness

What Your Nails Say about Your Health


Nails leave an effective impact on your overall personality. It turns out, having pretty and graceful nails is not just good for your manicure; awful-looking and unpleasant nails can also indicate severe heath issues.

Read the Signs

Do you know what your nails say about your health? Ridges, spoon, white, pale, and dry nails may be a sign of certain diseases in your body. Sometimes, the problems in your heart, liver, kidney, and lungs can manifest in your nails.

Do you want to know more about your nails? Here we have collected some health secrets about the nails. Let’s get started!

When Your Nails Change Their Color

Different infections and conditions of skin can cause nail discoloration in which nails appear white, yellow, blue, and black. Some of them are discussed below:

White Spots on Nails

Deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins result in white nails.
Fingernails that are completely or partially white in color.

Typically, white spots are shown up during the puberty time of your life. The most common cause of these white spots is injury. Any harm to the base of your nail (matrix), where a nail is formed, can result in white spots. Other potential causes for this problem with nail color may include:

  • Poor health
  • Psychogenic stress
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Occupational trauma
  • Lack of zinc
  • Eczema
  • Protein deficiency
  • Pneumonia
  • Lead poisoning
  • Arsenic poisoning
  • Trauma injury
  • Liver cirrhosis

Yellow Nails

Yellow nails can develop in patients with chronic bronchitis and other diseases of lungs.
Nails affected by a fungal infection causing bronchitis.

Nails with yellow color are most likely to be affected by a fungal infection. Any adverse reaction of one of the products you are using, can also lead to pale nails. If the reaction becomes worse, nail can detach. Try using natural essentials like olive oil, tea tree oil, and Vitamin E on your nails.

But if the yellow color persists, this may be symptom of a perilous disease. In rare cases, yellow nails can denote conditions such as lung disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, and psoriasis.

No Half Moons on Your Nails

Missing half moon patients experience vitamin deficiency and other medical conditions.
No half moon shape at the base of your fingernail.

If you do not have a rounded curve at the base of your nails, it is an indication of unhealthy nails. The word ‘fingernail moons’ is derived from a Latin word ‘lunula’, which represents ‘little moons’. Absence and sudden dissipating can result in depression, malnutrition, and anemia. Whenever you feel signs like anxiety, unusual cravings, lightheadedness, unexpected weight loss and gain, and dizziness, you should seek medical assistance from your doctor.

Blue Nails

Lack of oxygen circulating in red blood cells turn the nails blue.
Blood lacking in oxygen procures a bluish tint.

There are multiple reasons which can contribute to bluish tinge nails:

  • Silver deposits can develop in your nail beds due to silver poisoning. There may abrupt changes in the pigmentation of nails. The irreversible condition aggravates farther silver.
  • Patients of AIDS are at more risk of developing blue nails because of anti-retroviral medications.
  • Deficiency of adequate oxygen is one of the major causes of blue nails.
  • Drugs for treating hypertension, liver conditions, and malaria can lead to blue nails.

Black Nails

Black nails are commonly caused by injury.
Melanin depositing in nails appear as black nails.

Black lines on nails, also known as splinter hemorrhage. Nails start appearing brown or dark red. They look like splinters and develop multiple times. One of the major causes of black lines on the nails is trauma. These lines are result of the blood vessels inflammation and may fade as nail grows.

When Your Nails Change Their Texture

Anemia, exposure to harsh chemicals, contact with ultraviolet light, hormonal problems, and nutritional deficiencies can change the texture of your nails. Have a look at some textural changes of nails.

Brittle Nails

Overactive thyroid can contribute to the nails becoming brittle.
Too little moisture and dryness result in brittle nails.

Brittleness in nails results in a sudden breakage and nails become weak and cracked. Its major causes are still unknown, but several root causes include:

  • Dryness
  • Malnutrition
  • Aging
  • Nail paint
  • Nail paint remover
  • Frequent soaking hands in water
  • Multiple underlying diseases

When nails start to crack horizontally, this is known as onychoschizia. But when they crack in a vertical direction, this is known as onychorrhexis. Brittle nails are more often seen in women. Try using lotions that contain lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids.

Rippled Nails

Nails that are rippled can point to psoriasis.
Ripples are found on the nails in the shape of vertical lines or marks.

Do your nails looks like someone has taken an icepick to them? That’s an indication of rippled nails. These kinds of nails are more common in patients dealing with dermatitis in the tips of fingers. This may happen because of atopic dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis.

When your nail surface is pitted or rippled, this may indicate early signs of intense diseases like psoriasis, scaly skin patches, alopecia areata (loss of hair), and inflammatory arthritis. In this condition, nail color starts changing in the very beginning and appears reddish-brown.


Wearing acrylic nails and direct exposure to chemicals contribute to the peeling of nails.
Peeling is a damage to the upper layer of skin (epidermis).

Peeling is likely caused by the extrinsic trauma to the nail itself. This can also be happened while removing acrylic nil paint. Frequently soaking your hands in sudsy water also results in peeling of nails. To avoid peeling, you should wear protective gloves while washing dishes.

Peeling of hand nails alone cannot develop because of any underlying health condition. But if your toenails start peeling, this can be an internal cause of zinc and iron deficiency. Take diet containing red meat, lentils, iron, baked potato skins, biotin and cereal.


Most frequently ridges are the signs of aging.
Ridges develop mostly in older adults.

Ridges grown in a vertical direction usually appear later in life. They run lengthwise from the tip of your finger to the cuticle and are generally innocuous. As long as they change the nail color, vertical ridges are considered benign.

Horizontal lines or grooves, also known as Beau’s lines, run across the nail. These ridges are an indication of slow or retarded growth of nail. They may develop because of damage to the cuticle, high fever, and stress. Several medications and peripheral vascular disease can also result in horizontal ridges.

Thin or Soft Nails

Soft and thin nails are associated with a deficiency of calcium, vitamin B, iron, and fatty acids.
Soft and thin nails due to overexposure to moisture and chemicals.

These kinds of nails break or tear easily or may bend before snapping. Soft or thin nails might be caused by direct exposure to moisture or chemicals, like nail treatments, nail polish remover, detergents, and other cleaning fluids. Deficiency of calcium, vitamin B, and iron may also result in thin nails.

Dark Lines Present Under the Nails

Dark lines under nails are stripes that start at the bottom of nail bed and end at top.
Blood vessels breakage can result in developing these dark lines.

Have you ever noticed dark lines present under your nails? Black toenails and brown streaks under the nails of hands may appear because of several underlying health conditions. In rare cases, doctors carry out a biopsy of that area to ensure if these lines are not related to skin cancer. If the dark lines under the nails just starts showing up, it is better to consult a dermatologist about it.

Curved Nails

Curved nails may suggest pulmonary and cardiovascular problems.
Enlarging the tips of fingers and curving of the nails around the fingertips.

Curved or clubbed nails develop when the tips of fingers enlarge in size. As a result, growing nails curve around them and are called curved nails. Most probably, this is a gradual process that takes more time to develop or might be inherited. This can also be associated with cardiovascular disease, lung disease, liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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