What your Nail Beds can tell you about your overall health: Low Zinc, Diabetic, Cancer?

Psst! Your nails are speaking to you. They whisper things about your health. Depending on nail texture, color, or shape, your nails could help you determine the state of your health. Read on to find out!

1. Onychorrhexis/Longitudinal Ridges 

  • Small projections from the nail fold to the free edge of the nail.

  • This may be due to basic genetics or age. Aging may cause weakness or brittleness. Brittle nails have higher chances of ridging because blood flow is somewhat weaker at old age. Hence, there are fewer nutrients to go around.

  • Other causes: minor trauma, systemic amyloidosis, nail-patella syndrome, collagen vascular diseases, graft versus host disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Reference: Nail as a window of systemic diseases (


2. Beau's Lines (Transverse Linear Depressions)



    3. Clubbing or "Lovibond's angle"

    Terry Nails

    4. Terry Nails

      5. Onychosis

      • This condition is characterized by the painless separation of nail plate from nail bed which starts at the tip of the nail toward the finger.

      • It may be due to trauma in incorrect product removal, psoriasis, fungal infection, and allergic reactions.

      • Other causes: diabetes, anemia, photosensitive drug reactions, hyperthyroidism, peripheral ischemia, bronchiectasis, syphilis.

      • Reference: Nail Abnormalities: Clues to Systemic Disease - American Family Physician (

      6. Nail Pitting

      • Nail pitting is characterized by punctuating depressions on the nail plate due to defective layering of the nail plate.

      • Most common cause: psoriasis

      • Other causes: Reiter syndrome, sarcoidosis, alopecia areata, localized atopic/chemical dermatitis

        Reference: Nail Pitting in Psoriasis - PubMed (

      7. Melanonychia

      • A streak is caused by increased pigmentation in the nail matrix.

      • Thin streak: ethnic variation or a nevus

      • Wide Streak: bleeding may have occurred underneath the nail melanoma

        Reference: Nail as a window of systemic diseases (

      8. Habit Tic Deformity

      • This is characterized by the depression of the central nail. Some people call it "Christmas tree-shaped" because of its horizontal depressions.

      • Due to repetitive trauma from rubbing of the index finger over the thumbs or vice versa

       Reference: Habit Tic Nail Deformity - PubMed (


       9. Yellowing Nails

      • Lymphedema, autoimmune disease, pleural effusion, yellow nail syndrome, immunodeficiency, bronchiectasis, sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis, nephrotic syndrome, thyroiditis, tuberculosis, Raynaud’s disease

       Reference: Yellow Nail Syndrome - MeSH - NCBI (


      10. Blue Nails

      • Have you ever noticed your nails turning blue due to cold weather? Don't worry! This occurs because of low oxygen saturation (cyanosis) due to poor blood circulation (Raynaud's phenomenon). Since blood isn't getting there fast enough, try increasing circulation by exercise (heat-generating movement) or pressing around your wrist, palms, and fingers (squeeze it repeatedly for warmth).

        Reference: Nail as a window of systemic diseases (

      11. Red Nails


      12. Leukonychia (White Spots/Crescents)

      • A painless condition wherein white lines or dots appear on fingernails or toenails.

      • Possible cause: Trauma, hypoalbuminemia, lack of zinc, and other vitamins.

      Reference: Nail Abnormalities: Clues to Systemic Disease - American Family Physician (


      Photo Taken by Katherine Humphreys (,of%20patients%20with%20this%20condition.)

      13. Muehrcke's Lines (Transverse Opaque White Bands)


      14. Paronychia

      • Got the case of the greens? This is the most common infection of the hand which might be due to an infection on the surface of your skin at the sides of your nails. A lot of times, the nail folds are red, swollen, & tender. It could be edematous bulbous (swelling) and red to a certain extent.

      • The most common cause is a retracted cuticle, which is why it is best to keep your cuticles pushed instead of cut. When your skin becomes cut and open, allergens can enter (e.g.: C. Albicans, S. aureus. or Streptococcus sp.). 

      • Other reasons may be due to nail-biting or frequent hand immersion in water (the skin gets soft and easily puncturable) or it may be a sign of diabetes.

        Reference: Fungal infections of the nail - PubMed (

      15. Onychomycosis

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