Monday 20 June 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm on Summer Nail Care

Marla Ahlgrimm
Ladies take note: Your nails say a lot about your overall health, so pay attention to any changes outside of the ordinary. In the following brief Q&A, women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm discusses ways to prepare a prime pedicure and spot any potential health issues during your weekly polishing.

Q: What are fingernails made of?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Finger and toenails are comprised of layers of protein called keratin. This keratin grows from the base of the nail, originating underneath the cuticle.

Q: Do fingernails require special care?

Marla Ahlgrimm: One of the best things that people can do for their nails is to keep them dry. This inhibits bacterial growth which can be further transferred throughout the body through nail-biting or scratching. Nails should be trimmed straight across then rounded with a gentle curve. A proper moisturizer around the nail and cuticle will also go a long way towards maintaining nail health.

Q: How does the shape of the nail indicate a person’s health?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Healthy fingernails are uniform in color with a smooth or vertically ridged surface and a slightly convex shape that molds around the finger. However, nails that have multiple pits or indentions may be a sign of psoriasis or connective tissue disorders. Spoon nails, or those that curve upward, may indicate iron deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, or heart disease. Clubbing, a condition where the nail becomes enlarged and curves, may be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, low oxygen, or heart disease.

Q: Are dark spots under the fingernails cause for concern?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Black streaks not directly related to an impact injury should be checked out by a healthcare professional as soon as possible as it may point to a form of skin cancer known as melanoma. Less alarming but still worth a professional opinion are white nails striped with pink lines at the top. This condition, known as Terry’s nails, could be an early sign of diabetes, liver disease, or kidney failure. White spots are typically of little concern and may just be a mark of previous trauma or high fever.


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