• MDermatology

Fingernails and your health

Have you ever wondered about what your nails say about your health? Here is a quick guide...



Pink/ Mauve

Not Normal:

Green: Green Nail Syndrome is caused by a bacteria called pseudomonas. This bacteria releases a green pigment when trapped under the nail. It is most common in people that have their hands in water quite a bit as this is where the bacteria tends to be found.  Although this is not a harmful condition, it can be unsightly! It can be treated with vinegar soaks.

Yellow/ orange: Nails tend to turn yellow with no thickening when stained by darker shades of nail polish. Some of the darker dyes in these colors can stain the nails directly.If there is thickening of the nail plate along with the yellowish color and some lifting of the nail plate with debris underneath, the early signs of a fungal infection are likely present.One more cause of yellow thickening of the nails with excess curvature is excess swelling in the extremities.

Black streaks, lines need to be checked by your dermatologist as Melanoma under the nail plate can present in this manner.

White nails: think about liver disorders such as hepatitis. See your doctor to have blood work checked 

Blue nails: think lack of oxygen: lung problems such as emphysema or heart problems. See your doctor to check your oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter 

Red: Another color to remember is red! Red lunulae (the half moon at the base of the nail) are associated with many internal diseases such as autoimmune conditions, copd, heart failure, carbon monoxide poisoning, cirrhosis. See your doctor to have blood work checked  Textures

Pitted nails- little pits scattered across the nail plate are seen with psoriasis and alopecia areata (hair loss in circles- autoimmune condition). This can be treated by your dermatologist.

Brittle nails/ split easily: thyroid conditions can cause this. Also, chronic inflammation of the nail folds called paronychia has been associated with this.  Vertical ridges: normal as we get older but can be associated with iron deficiency anemia. See your doctor to have blood work checked 

Concave or spoon shape nails: think iron deficiency anemia! See your doctor to have blood work checked 

Horizontal ridges: these are associated with any illness that stops or slows the nail growth suddenly. Examples would be kidney conditions, chemotherapy, diabetes.

One deep vertical divet from cuticle to free edge of nail- I often see these with an underlying cyst below the cuticle. 

Read more as Dr ILYAS discusses nails and health with VitaminShoppe!

Montgomery  Dermatology, LLC

Phone (610) 265-1166

FAX (610) 265-1186

860 1st Ave #8b, King of Prussia, PA 19406
10000 Shannondell Drive, Audubon, PA 19403

  • Black Instagram Icon

©2019 by Proudly created with