Your nails are on display every day, whether you know it or not. The nail art craze is booming. You need to take proper care of your nails, to keep problems like nail discoloration, cuticle issues and hangnails from ruining your look.
You probably spend a great deal of time shaping, trimming, painting and buffing your nails, or paying a manicurist to do it for you. However, you may not spend enough time studying them when they’re bare. This means you may be missing odd colors, spots, stripes and white nail beds, which may mean something is wrong with your body.
Of course, if you have concerns, you should consult with your primary health care provider, but just looking over your fingernails for abnormalities can be helpful in recognizing early warning signs of health issues.
So, what does your natural nail color mean? And what are the causes of white nail beds? When you have the answers to these questions, you can check your conditions out, so you know when you need to call your physician for advice.
Having healthy, clean fingernails is indicative of a healthy body. What if you have discolored nail beds? If your fingernails are pale or white, this could indicate an underlying condition that you need to deal with.
If you only have one finger with discoloration, the problem could just be with that finger. Perhaps it was injured in some way. But if all your nail beds are white on all your fingers, this may indicate a problem with your body that should be attended to.
White nail beds don’t look the same for each person who has them. You may have white in the beds of your nails with an arc of another color. Other people might have reddish nail beds. This article will help you determine what causes the problems.
What are the most common Causes of White Nail Beds?
There are quite a few problems that cause discolored nail beds. If you only have it on one hand, trauma may have been the cause. If you get your hand slammed in a door, or suffer another crushing injury, this can lead to different colors in your nail beds.
Another common problem includes medical issues, like diabetes. Diabetes can cause a lack of oxygenation to your fingertips. This can make bluish or whitish nail beds appear. There are also other medical conditions that would lead to white nail beds on all fingers. These include kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, anemia or malnutrition.
What if you are healthy, despite the white nails? That means the problem could be fungus-related. This causes whiter, softer nails. You can even lose fingernails to fungal infections.
When should You Seek Medical Help?
You should tell your physician about your white nail beds, but they are not necessarily cause for alarm. However, if you have other nail problems, you should have them checked out sooner. This includes fingernails that have raised ridges, thickening or distortions in their shape.
If you experience changes in the appearance of your nails, your physician may run tests to determine the cause. You may have the nails themselves tested, or have blood work that will rule out underlying medical conditions.
What Could your Nail Color Indicate?
- Red nails
Red nail beds may indicate a serious concern, and one that should be investigated right away. Problems that are associated with red nails include carbon monoxide poisoning, lung disease, high blood pressure, heart disease or even a brain hemorrhage. These are all emergency situations.
- White nails
If you have always had white nail beds, it likely doesn’t mean anything – it’s just your normal nail color. But if the color changes as time passes, or happens later on in your life, you could have a problem that your physician should diagnose. Problems include diabetes, hepatic cirrhosis, congestive heart failure or renal failure.
- Gray nails
Gray nails may indicate long-term health issues like arthritis, glaucoma, cardio-pulmonary disease, emphysema or lung problems. It could also be caused by lack of proper nutrition, or the swelling of edema. If you have surgery, you may develop gray nails, but this is temporary and usually resolves itself fairly quickly.
- Yellow nails
Yellow nails can be indicative of systemic health problems, like respiratory or liver issues or diabetes. If your nails are orange or yellow and curve or thicken into the cuticles, these diseases are more likely to be the cause. It may also be a sign of lymphedema or pulmonary disease.
- Blue nails
If your nail beds look blue, this is a sign that your fingertips are not getting sufficient oxygen from your circulatory system. This could mean that you have anemia, or other blood problems, or lung issues like asthma or emphysema.
- Green nails
Green nail beds often indicate a short-term issue, like a nail infection, a fungal infection or an allergic reaction to a cleaning agent. However, it can also signify the presence of advanced emphysema.
How to properly Care for Your Nails
If you keep your fingernails healthy and strong, you’ll be able to tell quite easily if a problem is developing. To keep your nails their healthiest, follow these simple tips:
- Do not bite your nails or pick at them.
- Wash your hands quite often throughout your day, to clear away germs.
- Keep your nails dry and clean.
- Moisturize your hands daily. Pay special attention to your cuticles. Do not remove cuticles or attempt to clean deep under your nails.
- When you manicure your nails, file only in one direction. Round the nail tips a bit.
- If you pay a professional for manicures, take your own instruments. This will allow you to avoid possible infection from non-sterile instruments used in nail salons.
- Don’t use nail polish remover that contains acetone or formaldehyde.
- Keep in mind that artificial nails may lead to fungal infections. Clean false nails on a regular basis and check underneath each day for discoloration signs.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
If you use nail polish a lot, remove it all every two weeks or so, and check for any discoloration underneath. Check also for changes in the thickness and texture of your nails.