Nails are made of many layers of hard keratin, similar to hair and there is also a thin layer of keratin covering most of the surface of your body; it's thickest on palms and soles. What's the difference between your hair, nails, and skin? Nail and hair keratins contain more cysteine (an amino acid) than the soft keratins of skin; this leads to stronger bonds between cells. Nails also have a lower content of fat and water and the skin regularly sheds its outer layer of keratin, while the nail doesn’t.
Cuticles - Many manicurists will
remove your cuticles, they shouldn't because they play a vital role
in protecting you from infection. Too much cuticle clipping or
picking opens the protective barrier and allows moisture and bacteria
in which can cause an infection, pain, and/or swelling and eventually
even damage the shape of the nail as it grows out.
Nails Grow Faster on Your Dominant Hand - The theory behind this is
that nails that are used more often and exposed to the elements grow
Nails Grow Faster in Warmer Climates - The sun helps the body create
vitamin D that your nails need to grow.
The Salon Can Damage Nails - A weekly manicure can hurt nails.
Continuous polishing can stain the nails and the adhesives and harsh
chemicals used in acrylic and gel polishes can strip layers off of
the nail, leaving them brittle. It takes six months for a fingernails
to be replaced.
Nails Can Be a Tip Off to Other Health Issues - Changes in shape,
color, thickness and the color of the nail bed can all be signs of
problems. Nails grow an average of two to three millimeters a month,
and it only takes six months for healthy lifestyle changes you to
show up in your nails.
White Spots - There are several causes for white spots, but few of
them are a problem. The most common cause is trauma to the nail or to
the end of your finger right before your nail. If the matrix, a layer
of cells at the base of your fingernail, is damaged, the spots can
appear. Prolonged polish wear, which can partially break down the
surface of the nail plate is another cause. If the white spots are
powdery an infection with a fungus could be to blame.
Brittle Nails (Onychoschizia) - These are caused by a dry nail
plate. Overdoing it with nail polish remover can cause this, but so
can frequent dishwashing without gloves or swimming. People
suffering from hypothyroidism, when the thyroid is working too slow,
it’s possible to see brittleness, too. The weather could also be
to blame. Fall and wintry weather and drying indoor heating systems
can bring about dry air.
Yellow Nails - Yellow nails could just be stained from polish. But
this change in color could also signal diseases like diabetes which
need to be treated by prescription or insulin. Yellow Nail Syndrome,
where the nail thickens, turns yellow, and growth slows, is often a
sign of a respiratory disease like bronchitis.
Lifting Nails (Onycholysis) - Chefs, bartenders, or health-care
workers may notice their fingernails separate from their nail bed
which is often due to irritation from excessive water exposure. An
aggressive manicure, nail hardeners, or glues could also cause the
damage. If the nail color is opaque white, green, or yellow it could
point to everything from a thyroid disease or psoriasis to injury and
Vertical Ridges – These are thin lines that run vertically up the
nail are likely normal. Vertical nail ridges are from aging; they are
like the wrinkles of your nails.
Spoon Nails (Koilonychia) – This is when the nails curve up and
it's time to have some bloodwork done. A very thin nail which
becomes concave in shape is usually a sign of iron deficiency or
anemia. Liver disease, heart disease, and hypothyroidism are also
linked to spoon nails.
Pitting Nails - Little indentations that look like they were made
from a mini ice pick occur in up to 50 percent of people with
psoriasis. It can also happen to people with alopecia areata, an
autoimmune disease in which you lose patches of hair.
Clubbing - If nails seem softer and the tips and appear larger or
bulging, it may indicate something serious. An increase in the
tissue around the ends of the fingers, right where the nail curves,
can indicate lung disease. It is caused by low oxygen in the blood.
But clubbing nails are also associated with inflammatory bowel
disease, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and liver disease. Chronic
respiratory disease or cardiothoracic disease could also be
Dirt under the nails? It turns out that stuff under the fingernails
is not only pretty common, but pretty harmless. It is most commonly
the keratin debris from the underside of the nail, as well as skin
cells from the nail bed. Dirt, lint, and personal care products are
also common culprits.
But if the gunk turns from gray to green it's a sign of bacteria
underneath the nails. Some bacterial organisms have a particular
affinity to the nail. Pseudomonas is commonly found on nails and
produces a green pigment. This bacteria can cause an infection, but
it most often occurs with women who wear artificial nails.
Be careful when cleaning under fingernails because overly vigorous
cleaning can cause the nail to separate from the underlying nail bed.