Your nails do a lot for you. They protect your fingers and toes from outside elements, make it easier to remove dog hair from your sweater, and come in handy when you have an itch.
Your fingernails and toenails are made of micronutrients needed to help maintain their strength, health, and shine. If you’ve started to notice that your nails are turning yellow or starting to crack, this may be an indication that an underlying health issue is going on.
According to The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), “Nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can signal health problems including liver and kidney diseases, heart and lung conditions, anemia, and diabetes.”
In this blog, we’re going to look at some common fingernail and toenail problems you should know. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, schedule an appointment with your local dermatologist right away. They will be able to help identify what may be causing your nails to deteriorate in health, while also recommending the best treatment solution for you.
Nail Problem #1: Your Nails Are Brittle, Dry Or Cracked
If you wash the dishes religiously every night after dinner, your nails may become dry and brittle. This is likely due to the harsh chemicals that can be found in most soaps and detergents. While these cleaning products may not appear harmful on the surface, they can wreak havoc on the health of your nails. Dry and cracked nails are usually a sign of some sort of fungal infection, and can also be associated with vitamin deficiencies including vitamins A, C, and iron.
What To Do: If your nails are cracked, dry, or brittle, you should consider adding foods that are rich in vitamin A and C into your diet. The next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up your favorite berries or green vegetables.
Nail Problem #2: You’re Noticing Toenail Fungus
Also called onychomycosis, toenail fungus is a common infection that occurs under your nail’s skin. If you’ve ever experienced athlete’s foot before, you may be more susceptible to toenail fungus and nail infections down the line. It has also been found that people with diabetes and suppressed immune systems are more likely to experience fungal infections. Some common signs of toenail fungus include:
- A noticeable discoloration beneath the nail (yellow, brown, or white)
- An unusually thickening of the nail
- Cracks or noticeable breaks in the nail
Nail Problem #3: You Experience An Ingrown Toenail
Your big toe is the most susceptible to an ingrown toenail. This occurs when the corner or side of a toenail starts to grow into the soft flesh of the toe. As a result, you may experience physical pain, as well as swelling around the toe. There are many reasons why one might experience this nail problem. Some factors that may increase your chances of an ingrown toenail include:
- An abnormal toe shape
- Nail trauma or fungal infections
- Improperly fitting shoes or socks
- Toenails are clipped too short
When an ingrown toenail is left untreated, it can lead to serious infection. Complications can also arise if you have severe diabetes. A minor foot injury like a cut or scratch can become infected and may even require surgery.
Nail Problem #4: Your Nails Have Turned Yellow
If you’ve started to notice that your nails have gone from a healthy clear color to an ugly yellow color, it may be a sign of infection or fungus. In some cases, it can even mean that your nails are having an allergic reaction to things like nail polish. There are some lifestyle factors that can lead to yellow nails, including aging and smoking. Yellow nails can also be a telltale sign of nutritional deficiencies.
Tips For Curing Yellow Nails
Depending on the root cause of your yellow nails, there are a few at-home treatments you can try to lessen the discoloration of your nails. Let’s take a look at some remedies below.
- Tea Tree Oil – Discolored nails are often the result of an infection or fungus. Tea tree oil has been shown to help prevent common strains of nail fungus from growing. Simply mix a drop of tea tree oil into olive oil or coconut oil and swab the infected nail with the solution.
- Baking Soda – Did you know that fungus thrives in environments where pH levels are acidic? If your toenails are yellow, soaking them in a bath of baking soda my leave your nails looking much clearer and healthier.
Nail Problem #5: There Are White Spots On Your Nails
We’ve all seen white spots on our nails, but what do these spots actually mean? More often than not, white spots are a result of nail trauma. As your body recovered from trauma, white spots, or calcium deposits, may make its way to your nail’s surface. To combate white spots, consider adding more zinc to your diet by eating things like mushrooms, shellfish, and spinach.
Nail Problem #6: There Is Dark Discoloration Underneath Your Nail
If your fingernails or toenails have started to turn black, purple, or brown, visit your local physician right away. While this may be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, it may also be a form of skin cancer such as melanoma, Addison’s disease, and Bowen’s disease. To combat dark and discolored nails, it is recommended that you eat antioxidant-packed foods like fruits and vegetables. These foods will promote a healthy immune system and can help your body fight off harmful pathogens that may be producing your dark pigmentations.
Noire The Nail Bar: Manicures & Pedicures In Brentwood, TN
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind nail experience in the Brentwood and Nashville area, stop by Noire The Nail Bar for a fruit infused manicure or pedicure. With more than 25 years of experience in the nail salon industry, we believe that pampering yourself is a great way to escape the daily stresses of life, at least for an hour or two. Learn about our Nashville nail salon services online today.