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Top Tips for Nail Health

Are you proud of your healthy fingernails?

Judging by the ever growing market for false acrylic nails, it would seem that many people prefer to hide their nails.

Amazingly, the condition of your fingernails can reveal a clear picture of your general physical and mental health.

Beau's lines

Horizontal indentations in the nails which travel all the way across can indicate diabetes or malnutrition amongst other things. The lines can also be the result of an accident or a previous illness where there was a high fever. Some find that the lines simply disappear as the nail grows, while others will have to wait until the nail growns out completely.

Clubbing of the fingertips and nails

Some conditions such as issues with the liver, heart, lungs or bowels can cause fingertips to grow wider and the nails to curve around them. Named 'clubbing' this condition indicates that a medical check up should be considered.

Discoloured Nails

While most people know that some yellowing of the nails can be caused by cigarette smoking (yet another reason to stop smoking), discolouring can be the result of various medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis, especially when taken in conjunction with other symptoms.

Some respiratory conditions are indicated by all the fingernails being a dull yellow. The nails are often thicker than normal as they tend to grow very slowly.

Fungal infections or lymphedema (swelling of the hands) could also be the culprit.

Nails can take on a variety of colours ranging from red and black due to blood under the nails, to a greenish tinge or even white spots. A doctor's opinion should be sought for any long term discolouration.

Pitted Nails

Fingernails that have small indentations tend to plague people who suffer from psoriasis or dermatitis.

Alternately pitting, taken together with hair loss, could indicate alopecia areata, a condition caused by malfunctioning of the autoimmune system.

Dirty Nails

Nails that constantly have a thick layer of dirt under them show the world that the person to whom they belong really does not have any respect for themselves. In general, dirty nails of this sort are seen on the person who is careless about their appearance and health. Because of this, it may also be an indication of depression and low self esteem.

Nail biting and picking

Often shown by nails which are very short, the nail biting and picking habits generally starts in childhood and can often be linked to worry or insecurity. There are many products on the market which claim to help conquer nail biting. Usually, these contain an unpleasant, bitter-tasting ingredient which is painted onto the nails and surrounding cuticle.

Without doubt, though, good hypnotherapy is the most effective and easy treatment for nail picking and biting. Picking the nails can cause long term trauma, weakening the nails and making them soft and easier to tear and flake. Often the picker will be unaware that they are doing it. Wearing gloves, when possible, makes indulging in this habit more difficult. Many people grow out of these habits as they reach adulthood, however some cannot manage to do so.

Both habits, when so ingrained, may not respond to the strongest will and desire to stop and external help will probably be required. Effective hypnotherapy can help overcome both of these habits easily and rapidly.


In appearance onycholysis looks as though the nails, which are opaque, are detaching from the nail bed.

The nails will easily catch on material or other objects. Instigated by injury, infection, thyroid issues or reactions to medication, nail products or even by nails being left to grow too long, this condition tends to be painless, but should be checked out by a doctor to ascertain any treatment needed.

Spoon nails

This unsightly condition is where the nails grow in a concave manner and the sides appear to be away from the fingertips. It can be caused by an iron deficiency. When accompanied by general tiredness, spoon-shaped nails can indicate anaemia. On a lighter note, spoon nails may be the result of a deformity due to injury and can grow out in time.

Split Nails

Split fingernails can be prevented by regular use of moisturiser and use of rubber gloves when doing washing up or using chemicals. Nail polish remover can cause split nails, therefore it is advisable to use it no more than once a week.

Terry's Nails

Nails that have a pearlescent opaque appearance, often combined with a darker area between this and the white tips are known as Terry's Nails. Some health issues can be the cause such as heart and liver problems, however the condition can also be caused by malnutrition or simply old age.

Vertical ridges

Narrow ridges running vertically from the cuticle to the tip of the nail may indicate a mild dietary deficiency although this can also can be the result of hereditary factors.

By paying attention to the condition of your nails and what they are trying to tell you, you can help ensure a long and healthy journey through life.

About Author Peter James Field :

A leading British hypno-psychotherapist, with practices in London &amp; Birmingham, UK, Peter Field is a Member of the British Association for Counselling &amp; Psychotherapy &amp; Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. His self hypnosis download 'End Nail Biting Now!' is available at: <a href="" target="_blank"></a> For hypnotherapy, please visit his therapy website: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Friday, August 6, 2010
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