This is not a drill: Stop ignoring these fingernail problems

Do the shape, texture and color of our nails determine how well our bodies are functioning?

Your body gives warning signals in many different ways—it may be through the sound of your voice, the smell of your breath, or the color of your skin. But there’s another way you can learn about your overall health that most people are unfamiliar with: your fingernails. Dermatologists said healthy nails have pinkish or mauve hue, don’t break easily and are free of any ridges or pits in general. So if your nails look anything but these, there’s a chance that you’re suffering from a nutritional deficiency or a more serious health condition. Here are some of the nail issues you should (really) watch out for.

Gnawed nails

You probably have developed the habit of biting your nails as a child, and you’d usually be able to break out of it as you grow older. But if by any chance you still have the urge to gnaw your nails whenever you feel anxious or nervous, then it’s time to do something about it.  

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, spending money to keep your nails pretty may likely stop you from biting your nails frequently. You may get a regular manicure at Nail Files or really cute nail art (acrylic nail stones are optional) at Ayumi Japan Eyelash & Nail Art Salon. Or just paint your nails at home using bitter-tasting nail polish.

NaiLove Nail Polish 12mL. Available in nine different colors at HBC

But nail-biting is harmless and will only need nail care—until it becomes chronic. Chronic nail biting increases the risk of infection, so we strongly recommend consulting an expert, especially if you think the habit is caused by extreme emotional or mental stress. “Everybody picks and bites to a [certain] degree. [But] when it gets to the point that people are doing damage to themselves, that’s when we treat it as something other than an everyday behavior,” said a psychologist.

Discolored nails

Sure, you take an extra step to take care of your hair, face, skin and other body parts—but have you ever stopped and properly cleaned your nails at least? Nail discoloration is often associated with poor hygiene. When dirt piles up on your nails, they become more prone to fungal infection. 

So if your nails turn yellow, reddish-brown, green or black, then it’s certainly telling you to clean them immediately. You may treat yourself to an ultimate nail pampering session at Nailworks. It offers manicure and pedicure, hand paraffin wax and nail enhancement services. 

If the discoloration gets worse over time though, it might already be because of certain medical conditions such as nail injury, diabetes, poor blood circulation and heart or lung diseases. And you might have to consult your doctor for a more in-depth diagnosis.

Soft or weak nails

Hand spa and nail polish services. Available at Nails.Glow

You likely have nails that are relatively easy to bend or break if they’re exposed to chemicals too often. And no, we’re not just referring to nail polish, decals or acetone, but also fabric detergent, dishwashing liquid and water. You read that right—overexposure to water can cause softening, and sometimes peeling, of nails. 

To avoid that from happening, wear gloves whenever you wash the dishes or do the laundry by hand, and take a break from painting your nails. What you can do instead is avail of a keratin nail treatment at Nailogy. As per nail experts, this treatment “promises to repair weak, brittle, or damaged nails in a flash.” You may also book a hand spa appointment at Nails.Glow as it will help rejuvenate and relax your hands and nails. 

But if you swear you aren’t overexposing your nails to any chemicals but still have soft nails, we suggest seeing a dermatologist as this might be a sign of vitamin deficiency. Remember, an expert’s advice will always be better than what you see on the internet.

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