Nail 911


6 signs
it might be time to skip the salon and see a doctor

When it comes to nail care and maintenance, most of us would argue that we’re pretty on top of things—after all, who doesn’t love a good mani? But often times, keeping your nails lacquered 24/7, can mean covering up common problems—without even realizing it. And while a little TLC can go a long way, sometimes solving your nail issues goes beyond a trip to the salon—and means booking an appointment with a podiatrist or a board-certified dermatologist.

Like a crystal ball, nails can provide important clues about what’s going on inside your body. According to Dr. Cirlincione, changes in the look and feel of your nails—yellowing, brittleness, thickening, darkening—can be one of the first red flags of an underlying condition. In reality, these warning signs are often glossed over—pun intended—because they’re constantly being covered up with polish. And while it can be easy to overlook nail issues, there are a few warning signs that are easy to spot. So next time you’re due for a polish change, check your bare nails for changes in appearance and keep a look out for these common problems.


If you are dealing with thin nails that bend and crack easily, you might be running low on certain nutrients and vitamins. It can also be a sign that you are stressed out (who’s not these days?). And while that might not be cause for a Dr.’s visit just yet, taking a vitamin enriched supplement daily is a good place to start.


While sometimes a white spot on your nails can mean that you are not getting enough calcium, more often than not, it’s just a little bruising below the nail and will grow out and go away on its own. If you keep it covered in your new favorite spring polish and wait it out, you’ll be good to go in a few weeks. However, if you notice that half or more of an entire nail has turned white, that could be cause for concern. While a small, white half-moon shape at the base of your nail is totally normal, if that white area starts to take over the nail, it could be an indicator of heart or liver issues, which means it’s time to see the derm.


Whether you’re obsessed with acrylics or can’t live without a gel manicure, excessive use of harsh chemical nail treatments and constant exposure to nail hardeners and glues can cause a condition known as onycholysis, where your fingernails come loose and detach from the nail bed, causing a change in color to the separated area which can turn opaque white, green or even yellow. It can also be associated with injury to the nail. On a more serious note, if you have natural nails and no obvious cause for them to be lifting up away from your fingers, definitely call a dr. Nail separating can sometimes signal thyroid disease, psoriasis, or infection.


As far as nail issues go, if you notice a black or brown stripe on your nail bed: DO. NOT. IGNORE. IT. While a small dark stripe or purple patch can be a result of a nail injury that caused broken blood vessels under the nail bed (like if you slam your finger in a drawer), a black line on one or more nail may also be melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer. While not every dark streak signals danger, having a dermatologist determine whether it’s benign is where you should be heading.


Like crow’s feet, vertical ridges along the length of your nails often develop with age and can be easily smoothed out with a ridge-filling base coat or a gel polish such as CALMING Clear Gel-Performing Enriched Nail Finish. However, if you spot horizontal lines running across your nails, you might want to investigate further with a doctor. Often called Beau’s lines, horizontal depressions can indicate a zinc deficiency or more seriously, diseases of the blood vessels, pneumonia and diabetes.



If your nails are feeling dry or brittle, you may be overdoing it with the nail polish remover, especially if it contains acetone. Prolonged soaks in hot, soapy water are also not doing your nails any favors (yes, dish pan hands are actually a thing!). Fortunately this is an easy fix. Invest in a pair of rubber gloves, switch to a non-acetone remover like REMEDY REMOVER and pamper your parched nails with an ultra nourishing nail conditioner like HYDRATION Clear Moisturizing Nail Treatment with Pentavitin.