Nail Health: What Is It and Why It Matters
What Are Your Nails Telling You?
Throughout history, people have been caring for their nails.
For more than five thousand years, people have viewed their nails both as a way to pamper themselves and as a vehicle to instill personal messages and monikers, much like we do with tattoos and piercings. (1)
But nails are more than a canvas to express your style.
In fact, nails can reveal an awful lot about your mental and physical health.
In this blog we discuss what healthy nails look like, why nail health is important, and some quick and easy tips to get your nails healthy and strong today!
WHAT DO HEALTHY NAILS LOOK LIKE?
Although you may notice when something looks blatantly wrong with your nails, many of us don't necessarily know what a healthy nail looks like.
Healthy Nails Should...
Be smooth and have a natural texture.
Be free of spots or random discoloration, which we'll cover a bit later. (2)
Be even across and not feel overly dry. (3)
Be free of any pits or grooves.
FUN FACT: The color of our natural fingernail is actually not the color of our nail. It's the color of the tissue beneath the nail! (4)
Nails should also be strong and not easily breakable. This is important so your nails can fulfill one of their many purposes -- protect the important tissue beneath the nail. (5)
The skin under your fingernail, the hyponchium, is also important, and should be neatly tucked against your nail to prevent bacteria from getting under your skin. (6)
WHY HEALTHY NAILS ARE IMPORTANT
Keratin, the protein our nails are composed of, is actually the same material horse hooves are made of -- but that doesn't mean they're invincible! (7)
In fact, our fingernails are easily prone to breaking and sensitivity, which isn't good, considering the important roles they play for our bodies.
Nails provide us strength, protection, mobility, and allow our sense of touch to operate more finely. (8)
FUN FACT: Despite our fingernails' strength, they actually increase our finger's sensitivity! (9)
Our sense of touch is so important that there are extra nerve fibers under our fingernails, which makes that area of our body more sensitive.
In fact, the fingertip has the highest density of nerves anywhere on your body! (10)
SIGNS OF UNHEALTHY NAILS
So now that we know what healthy nails look like and why they're important, let's take a look at some signs of unhealthy nails:
PALENESS: can be a sign of poor nutrition, liver problems, heart disease, or anemia
SNOWY: can be a sign of liver disease or hepatitis
GOLDEN: can be a sign of a fungal infection, or if really decaying can be a sign of thyroid or lung problems, or even diabetes or psoriasis
BLUE: can be a sign that your body is suffering from a lack of oxygen
LINES UNDER NAIL: a potential indicator of melanoma
BRITTLE NAILS: can get spongy and wet, can leave nails weak and dry
PEELING: also as a result of water exposure; can be affected by harsh products
RIDGES: can be caused a wide range of problems, from anxiety to disease (11) (12)
But if your nail is looking slightly off, don't worry just yet!
Dr. Mark Benor, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, says, "... Nail issues usually don't bespeak a serious underlying illness." Still, if you're unsure about something, it's always best to consult your doctor. (12)
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIX THEM
Although you should consult your doctor if you're concerned about your health, there are certain things you can do today to bring your nails back to full strength!
DON'T BITE YOUR NAILS
20-30% percent of people bite their fingernails, which is one of the worst things you can do.
Not only can biting your nails expose the precious tissue beneath your nails, it can also expose you to bacteria like E. coli and other germs that can linger under your nails post handwashing.
Biting your nails can also cause damage to your jaw and teeth, and lead to more serious health problems down the line, such as ingrowns and irreversible shortening of the nails. (9)
Many nail problems are actually a result of stress. (13)
Getting adequate sleep and using stress-relieving natural oils like LAVENDER can help alleviate your anxiety, and bring you and your nails back to full strength.
GARNER'S GARDEN has all of the LAVENDER products you need to get you back to your mental and physical best, including our 100% All-Natural Sleep Mist, which uses the stress-relieving power of lavender to bring you the great night's sleep your mind and body needs.
AND GARNER'S GARDEN HAS TWO MIRACLE PRODUCTS THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR NAIL HEALTH:
Garner's Garden 100% All-Natural Argan Oil nourishes your nails, hair, and skin, and is the most gentle oil you can use! Containing Vitamin E, essential omega fatty acids, and linoleic acids, our All-Natural Argan Oil will leave your nails hydrated, smooth, and healthy!
Garner's Garden 100% All-Natural Cuticle Oil combines the essential oils Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Grape Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, and Lavender Oil, and Vitamin E to repair dry and cracked nails on your fingers and toes. Our All-Natural Cuticle Oil also strengthens the nail, leaving it ready for all you need to do each and every day!