Keratin (a type of Protein) containing fat and water goes to the formation of our nails and influence the overall health of our nails. Apparently, nails are non-organic and do not serve any specific function but still are prone to a lot of problems and diseases that may be very painful and time consuming to get completely cured of. Fingernails are more exposed to the external elements of weather including a lot of house hold chores and general work, leading to a lot of fingernail problems.
Although some of the fingernail problems can be related to hereditary aspects, a lot of problems can be associated to lack of proper nutrition, improper nail care, and developing unhygienic habits. While some serious fingernail problems can lead to chronic disorders and demand professional treatment, some problems can be easily eliminated by practicing self-help techniques.
Some common fingernail problems include:
- Hang Nail Hang nails are a resultant effect of tears in the cuticles or nail folds. The general tendency of the cuticles leads them to stick around the nail plates which at times causes tearing out of the stretched parts as and when the nails grow. Therefore, in order to prevent the development of hang nail problems it is essential to soften the cuticles through a regular massage either with a lotion or cream.
- Brittle Nails One of the most common of all fingernail problems can be associated to brittle or fragile nails, caused due to the lack of fat and water. Excessive use of nail polish removers can dehydrate the nails to a great extent and thus it is advisable to use as less removers as possible. Dipping your fingernails in water for a long time can also lead to dehydration and thus to fragile nails which tend to break off very easily. Using a pair of gloves while working with water and massaging the base of the nail plates with a moisturizer can be very effective for preventing the nails from getting brittle.
- Discolored Nails Discolored fingernails might be the result of nail infections, leukonychia or blood clotting. Leukonychia can be identified with small white marks appearing on the nail plates due to minor nail injuries. Depending on the intensity of the injury these marks might disappear in a few weeks or continue to stay for months. Blood clotting can be the result of severe nail injuries and trauma and can be noticed with the color of the nail getting purple or black. As the injury is healed, the color of the nail returns to its original color. Nail infections also lead to discolored nails changing their color to a yellowish one.
- Fungal Infection The Disorderly look of the nails can be a result of fungal infection, making them thick and discolored. These infections make the nails vulnerable due to which they start breaking off easily. Immediate medical help is recommended when anticipating a fungal infection.
- Spoon Nails Spoon nails refer to a nail deformity caused due to trauma, iron deficiency or malnutrition. The curled up edges of the nail plate indicate a spoon nail, which is considered as a hereditary problem.