What the Colour of Your Nails Says About Your Health

Your nails provide clues to your health.

illustration showing nail healthimage credit: shutterstock

When something is wrong with your health, one visible clue is nail discolouration. (Your hair can also reveal a lot about your health and so can your skin!) Healthy nails have a pinkish hue and are evenly coloured. Abnormal colouring varies depending on the cause, which may be a problem affecting the nails or a condition somewhere else in the body. Here are some examples of what can lead to nail discolouration:

Yellow Nails
Nails can become yellowed due to lymphedema (a buildup of lymphatic fluid in tissues), lung disease or psoriasis.

Green Nails
What is known as “green nail syndrome” is often caused by a type of fungal infection called pseudomonas.

Brown Nails
Nails may become stained brown from nicotine use, nail polish or even chemotherapy.

Red Nails
Bruising due to injury can turn part of a nail purple. Red or purple streaks can also result from a splinter hemorrhage (a little bit of bleeding that occurs from under the nail). Here’s how to heal those bruises naturally.

Blue Nails
Nails can turn blue as a result of taking minocycline (antibiotics) and from several other oral medications.

Black Nails
A severe pseudomonas infection or bruising are common causes, but melanoma is also a possibility. A black nail should be seen by a dermatologist.

White Nails
White nails can be hereditary or a sign of low albumin (protein deficiency). White streaks may develop from trauma to the nail. Nails can also fade and turn white from vitiligo, a skin condition caused by a loss of pigmentation.

Next, find out if collagen is the key to longer, stronger nails.

Information provided by the Canadian Dermatology Association.


Originally Published in Best Health Canada