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Tales of the nails

Beauty By Pauline Muindi

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Your nails say a lot about your personality, your tidiness, and your sense of style. They can also speak volumes about your health. From their shape, texture, colour, and overall condition, you can use your finger and toenails for clues on your health. Here are some of the things your nails are trying to say to you:

Weak, brittle nails
This is characterised by breaking, peeling and splitting of nails.
Over-processing from acrylic nail polish or gel manicures is one of the main causes. Your body could also be running low on vitamin A, C, or biotin (a B vitamin that strengthens and helps nails grow). Take a break from nail polish or gel manicure to give your nails a chance to heal. Also take a daily multivitamin supplement and keep your nails sufficiently moisturised by applying a creamy lotion.

Yellow nails
Have you noticed your nails turning yellow? Usually, this is a sign of nail polish overuse. However, a more dramatic shade of yellow might indicate other things such as a fungal infection, psoriasis, chronic liver disease, or staining from cigarette smoke. To prevent yellowing from nail polish, apply a basecoat before you apply your favourite shade. Dip your nails in denture cleaner to remove stains. If the nail discolouration is accompanied by pain, it is likely that you have a fungal infection and should consult a dermatologist. If you can't trace the cause of the discolouration, see a doctor for a medical checkup.

White spots
Do you have white spots on your nails? The cloudy white spots, called leukonychia, are usually the result of some type of trauma to the nail such as banging the nail on a hard surface. They are usually not a cause of concern and will fade out as the nail grows. If they don't go away with time, consult a dermatologist.

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Dark vertical bands
Vertical lines running from tip to cuticle are quit common (and mostly harmless) in black people. However, they could also be symptoms of benign moles in the nail bed, psoriasis, or even skin cancer. If the band changes or darkens, consult a dermatologist immediately.


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