Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nail 'em

If the appearance of your nails shows they’re in bad condition, this is due to nail damage or health issues. A naturopath or doctor can best diagnose the problem. You’ll then need to treat the underlying cause to improve the condition of your nails. Here are nine of the most common nail problems.

  • White spots are caused by mild knocks, such as hitting the unexposed or matrix area of your fingernails. They’re like bruises which appear months later.
  • Pitting can run in the family, be caused by knocks or be a result of illnesses, for example, psoriasis, eczema and arthritis.
  • Brittleness results from nails drying out after being in water for too long or exposed to harsh detergents and chemicals.
  • Vertical ridges are a sign of normal ageing, but can also be caused when the cuticles have been badly damaged.
  • Horizontal ridges are related to health issues, such as an interruption to nail growth due to illness or poor diet.
  • Lifting nails can result from rough removal of false nails, psoriasis or a fungal infection, and aggressive nail cleaning which can lift your nails off the nail bed.
  • Hangnail is a small strip of torn skin at the side of your nails which is usually caused by dry skin or nail biting. To remove, trim the torn skin with clippers. Don’t pull it.
  • Fungal infection can be spread from person to person. A poor immune system and diabetics are at higher risk. Seek medical advice for treatment.
  • Bacterial infection can start when hands are constantly wet, or if nail biting exposes the underlying tissue. It can also be associated with candida, a yeast-like parasitic fungus for which you should seek medical advice.

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