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Nail Health Primer

Manicurists are often telling us to treat our nails as jewel’s not tools to keep the nails long and strong, but don’t forget the dietary secrets that can help your nails be pretty. Here are some basic answers to the most common problems our nails have are due to the diet and it’s not much more complex than adding in the right supplement, although we find our Omega-3 complex we sell at Hada Cosmetic Medicine very helpful. For you you may also need some zinc, selenium, biotin, and performing simple loving buffing. And we can even test your zinc levels if you notice your nails are not what you hoped here’s a quick guide to the fixes. Polish can dull nails over time, but actual deformities are due to nail plate being affected.

Once the offending problem is corrected, in most cases the new growth at the base will appear healthy and beautiful once again Once you correct the problem, the new nail outgrowth should be healthy, unless you have damaged your nail plate base. We also suggest taking some deep breaths and realizing a universal truth: nail outgrowth is slow. Be patient! If the beds don’t heal, then it’s on to another source.

Quick guide to Common Nail conditions

  • Beau’s lines are depressions across the fingernail which occur after illness, injury to the nail, eczema around the nail, or when you do not get enough nutrition.
  • Brittle nails are often a normal result of aging, but also be due to long term polish or illness
  • Leukonychia is white streaks or spots on the nails.
  • Pitting or crumbling or ouch even losing the nails can be due to injury, psoriasis or accompany disorders associated with hair loss.
  • Ridges are tiny, raised lines that develop across or up and down the nail. And they may be due to different causes than all of the above, is called nail dystrophy
  • and can even be caused by picking.
  • Drying: Nails, like skin need hydration, and sun protection, so use your products!
  • Hormonal Issues: In pregnancy the nails may grow well. In menopause, the lower estrogen will thin.

Nutritional as cause of nail issues:

  • Pale white nail beds can be due to lack of selnium (try brazil nuts, chia seeds or mushrooms)
  • Koilonychia is an abnormal shape of the fingernail. The nail has raised ridges and is thin and curved inward, and is most commonly caused by iron deficiency anemia.
  • Torn cuticles: How about your chromium levels

Infections as cause of nail issues:

  • Fungus or yeast cause changes in the color, texture, and shape of the nails.
  • Bacterial infection may cause a change in nail color or painful areas of infection under the nail or in the surrounding skin. Severe infections may cause nail loss.
  • Viral warts may cause a change in the shape of the nail or ingrown skin under the nail.
  • Certain infections (especially of the heart valve) may cause red streaks in the nail bed (splinter hemorrhages).

Medical conditions as a cause of nail issues:

  • Disorders that affect the amount of oxygen in the blood (such as heart problems and lung diseases including cancer or infection) may cause clubbing.
  • Kidney disease can cause a build-up of nitrogen waste products in the blood, which can damage nails.
  • Liver disease can damage nails.
  • Thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may cause brittle nails or splitting of the nail bed from the nail plate (onycholysis), thyroid disease can cause yellowing also
  • Severe illness or surgery may cause horizontal depressions in the nails (Beau’s lines).
  • Psoriasis may cause pitting, splitting of the nail plate from the nail bed, and chronic (long-term) destruction of the nail plate (nail dystrophy).
  • Other conditions that can affect the appearance of the nails include systemic amyloidosis, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and lichen planus.
  • Skin cancers near the nail and fingertip can distort the nail. Subungal melanoma is a potentially deadly cancer that can appear as a dark streak down the length of the nail
  • Hutchinson sign is a darkening of the cuticle associated with a pigmented streak and may also be a sign of an aggressive melanoma.


  • We don’t think that many individuals are subjected to poisons knowingly, but thin about your well water, your use of garden pesticides, and home hair dyes and common causes of exposures to many chemicals. Chemical and toxin exposures can be tested, mercury is one of the most common over exposures due to it’s presence in fish and can be a cause of lines parallel to the nail bed
  • Arsenic poisoning may cause white lines and horizontal ridges.
  • Silver intake can cause a blue nail, again, not common!


  • It’s not likely that short courses of medication will affect nail growth, but there are case reports from courses of medication that are only a couple of weeks long. Certain antibiotics can cause lifting of the nail from the nail bed.
  • Chemotherapy medicines can affect nail growth.


  • A new or widening dark streak in the nail
  • Blue nails
  • Clubbed nails
  • Distorted nails
  • Horizontal ridges
  • Pale nails
  • White lines
  • White color under the nails
  • Pits in your nails
  • Peeling nails
  • Painful nails
  • Splinter hemorrhages

Call for appointment 217-356-3736


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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