You spend so much time trimming, shaping, buffing, and painting your nails (or having someone else do all of that for you), but you probably don’t spend much time looking at them bare. And that means you may be missing spots, stripes, and odd colors that could indicate that something’s up—in a bad way—with your body.
While nothing replaces a visit to your physician for a proper diagnosis, checking your fingernails for the following abnormalities can help you spot early warning signs, so wipe off that polish and take a glance.
RELATED: Want smooth, glowing skin? Learn about a popular supplement that's said to be better than Botox!
You can use your keyboard to see the next slide ( ← previous, → next)
Stripes on your nails are only a good thing if they are painted on. Horizontal white lines that span the entire nail, are paired, and appear on more than one nail are called Muehrcke’s lines. These could be an indication of kidney disease, liver abnormalities, or a lack of protein and other nutrients, Dr. Agarwal says. “They are thought to be caused by a disruption in blood supply to the nail bed because of underlying disease,” she explains.
Shorter horizontal white marks or streaks, however, are likely just the result of trauma to the base of your nail. These may last from weeks to months and usually will disappear on their own.
Image courtesy of Dermatlas.org