When providing a manicure or pedicure it is advisable to analyse the nails first to make sure you are using the correct products for the nail type and to check for contraindications. However, the nails may also provide a clue to some underlying health or nutritional problems. Illness or injury may often have an effect on the growth, colour or appearance of the nail.
Psoriasis may cause one or more of the following; a pitting of the nail plate, thickening and uneven growth of the nail plate, a spot may appear which looks like a slight discolouration resembling an oil spot and in more severe cases complete separation of the nail occurs.
Thyroid disorders have an effect on the nail depending on the type. An over active thyroid causes rapid nail growth and thinning of the nail plate whilst an under active thyroid causes slow growth and thick dull looking nails.
Anaemia causes the nail to become spoon shaped however if there is a severe iron deficiency as a result of the anaemia the nail bed may appear white instead of the normal healthy pink colour.
Heart conditions may cause microscopic bruises under the nail plate. However tiny blood spots can also appear as a result of trauma or injury to the nail.
Discolouration can indicate different things; zinc deficiency when white spots appear, gall bladder or liver problems if they look yellow.
When ridges appear it may indicate health or nutritional deficiencies; fine lines and ridges may suggest a lack of natural oils and moisture, deep horizontal ridges may indicate gout, heart or circulatory disorders.