What Do Your Fingernails Say About Your Health?


Most people think of fingernails as something to paint or accessorize, or something they need to scratch an itchy spot. What many people fail to realize is that your fingernails can serve as an indicator of your health.

Fingernails are made of keratin, a hard protein substance produced by the body. Fingernails are dead cells that have become compacted together, and as new cells grow, the old cells come out from under the cuticle.


Changes in the way your fingernails look or grow can indicate changes in the way your body is producing or eliminating cells. Since these cells are clear, they allow us to see through to the nail bed, which is a special layer of tissue that separates the internal layers of skin from the external layers of skin. Examining both the nail and the nailbed can give you valuable insights into your overall health. You just need to know what to look for.

Signs Of Arthritis

Digital myxoid cysts are small cysts right below the cuticle. These cysts are slightly painful, but almost always benign. The cause of these cysts is mostly unknown, but people with arthritis in their fingers are slightly more likely to develop them than people without arthritis. Digital myxoid cysts affect the nail, and they’re uncomfortable. They can be surgically removed if necessary.

Signs Of Psoriasis

Most people think of psoriasis as a condition that affects the skin and scalp, but it can also affect the nails. Psoriasis can cause a yellowish discoloration of the nails, as well as thickening or loosening of the nail and its surrounding skin. People with severe psoriasis might see black or dark red lines through their nails which are the result of ruptured capillaries.

Signs Of Thyroid Problems Or Slow Metabolism

Slow metabolism or hypothyroidism manifests itself on the nails and nailbeds in multiple way. People with low levels of thyroid hormone often complain of brittle nails that split easily. Rough and jagged cuticles are also common. Towards the cuticle of the nail, most people will have a faint, lightly colored half moon shaped marking. In people with slow metabolisms or nutrient deficiencies, this shape might completely disappear.

Signs Of Stress

Stress is more than just a mental condition. High levels of stress, particularly those that last for prolonged periods, can have an affect on hair and nails. People who are frequently stressed out might find that their hair sheds easily. Others find that their nails break off, grow slowly, splinter, or develop ridges. This is because the stress hormone cortisol can disrupt many of the body’s natural processes that lead to healthy hair and hair growth.

Signs Of Melanoma

Melanoma, or skin cancer, can develop on any skin. The nail bed is no exception. One of the strongest signs of melanoma in the nail bed is a brown line that runs from the cuticle to the end of the nail bed. This brown line is the result of a mole growing with the nail. Sometimes these moles can be noncancerous and aren’t a cause for concern, but there’s no way to know without speaking to a dermatologist.

Taking Care Of Yourself

If you or your manicurist notices something unusual about your nails, schedule a doctor appointment. Weak or brittle nails can occasionally be the result or a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. Even dehydration can play a role in diminishing nail quality. Always drink your water and take your vitamins, but be sure to rule out any potential adverse health conditions when you notice something wrong with your fingers, nails, or nail beds.

Why Healthy Nails Are Important

Bacteria, calluses, hangnails, ripped cuticles, and dirt building up underneath the nails can have an adverse effect on your health. Letting an expert manicurist tend to your hands will improve skin health and hygiene. Some people with arthritis, hand cramps, or joint pain find relief after a manicure. While a manicure can’t cure any serious health conditions, they’re an important part of keeping your body well.

Your manicurist might be able to spot if something is unusual with your fingers or nails and alert you to the problem. That bump might be a cyst, and that cyst might mean arthritis. The condition of your nails might suggest that your metabolism is running slowly, or that you need to reduce the level of stress in your life. Your doctor and your manicurist are two separate people, but they both want you to be happy and healthy.

Taking Care Of Your Nails

Work with your doctor to take care of your health, and work with Greentoes in Tucson to take care of your nails. Our manicurists use mostly natural and vegan products in our manicures. We create a stress free environment where our clients can feel at home. Book an appointment online or by phone to take a little break with us.

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529 N 6th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705

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615 W Roller Coaster Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704

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