When nails are healthy, they are smooth, hard, pink and glossy
. But each day they are subjected to numerous damaging factors
that can affect their appearance: repeated hand washing, impacts, cold, sun exposure…
Our nails also become more fragile with age: after 60, their growth slows down and they often become dry, brittle and dull.
Diet plays a major role in nail health: a deficiency in certain nutrients (protein, trace elements and vitamins) often results in soft, brittle, ridged, pale or yellow nails. Lastly, at any age, certain health problems can have repercussions on nails:
• Ridged nails can be due to hypothyroidism or anaemia.
• Pale or blue-tinged nails can sometimes be a sign of poor circulation.
• Brittle, soft or splitting nails are often a sign of nutritional deficiencies or hormonal problems.
• Yellow nails can be due to smoking cigarettes or using coloured nail varnish, but they can also be caused by hyperglycaemia and certain treatments, including chemotherapy.
• A dark stain or line on a nail is most often a sign of a bruise caused by an impact, but it can also signal a melanoma, and as such you should quickly see a skin specialist. On the other hand, contrary to popular belief, the small white spots that sometimes appear on nails are not a sign of a calcium deficiency. Actually, they are usually caused by bumping the nail.