BY CYNTHIA WAIRIMU
The appearance of your nails in general is not enough to make a diagnosis. However, there are warning signs to look out for, and right here we will cover a few common ones.
In general, healthy nails are smooth and have an even colour. There will be changes due to age, contact with chemicals such as detergent and dyes that can cause irritation, brittle nails, injuries such as knocking your nail on something hard, car doors being the biggest culprits… most of these will simply grow out with the nail.
However, there is cause for alarm if you notice such things as: Discoloration such as white or dark streaks (yellow nails), changes in nail shape where they curl or where the tips become large and curve downward, thickness, brittle (dry and cracked) nails that are pitted, bleeding, swelling or redness around nails, pain around nails, a nail separating from the skin, horizontal and vertical ridges to mention a few.
Usually, these nail symptoms are as a result of lifestyle factors, such as choice of detergent, not wearing protective clothing while handling chemicals, direct physical injury (trauma), however, they can also be signs of much bigger problems such as liver disease, congestive heart failure, melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer), diabetes, kidney failure, Reiter’s Syndrome, hypothyroidism, iron-deficiency anaemia among others.
It would be wise to visit a practitioner if you feel that there has been a change in your nail development as it could unearth something that can be dealt with early enough to save a life or an organ.
Avoid biting your nails as this could lead to all manner of infections, do not allow anyone to handle your nails if you are not certain of their hygiene for example, the sterilization of the tools and nail care technique, avoid direct contact with harsh products such as detergents. When you notice that your nails have a problem, do not be quick to hide them under polish or stick-ons, this may make the problem worse. Let them heal first as you seek guidance on the same.
To maintain healthy nails; ensure you consume a well-balanced diet (zinc, protein, antioxidants, vitamin B7 and minerals are very important), use protective clothing while handling chemicals, get enough sleep and rest to boost your immune system and exercise!
On a lighter note, above are some of the craziest manicure ideas that graced 2018. Happy Holidays!