What are the white marks on my nails?Have you ever noticed that your nails tend to get white marks on them that come and go? We're not talking about the lunula -- the crescent shaped white mark at the base of your nail -- that's there to stay. We mean the little spots of discoloration that dot different nails. Have you ever wondered what they are? Well, the technical term for these spots is leukonychia, a term which covers the range of white discoloration of the nail plate that can be caused by different things.The typical cause of the spots is trauma to an area of the nail. Say you bump into a chair and hit your nail pretty hard. If you watch over the next couple of days, a white spot is likely to appear and it will eventually go away. Other things, like fungal infections and a zinc deficiency can also cause leukonychia. Presumably there would be some additional symptoms that would help you differentiate these issues from a nail trauma.In more severe cases, the entire nail may turn white, which can be caused by a host of diseases, like typhoid fever and cholera. But it's also an inherited condition, so check your family history before running to the clinic fearing cholera.
5 Tips for Nail Biters
The effects of stress are far reaching. We mainly think of it as a mental state, but it can also have quite an effect on your physical self. The serious physical side effects of stress include high blood pressure, an increased heart rate and an overworked liver. Then there are nervous habits. These include scratching your skin, grinding your teeth, pulling at your hair, and the most common of all: nail biting. Although nail biting occurs most often in puberty, some people carry the nervous habit into adulthood. Although it's fairly harmless, it can increase your risk of infection and lead to sore or bleeding cuticles. If you're a nail biter, it's time to quell the habit by reading the following five tips.
5. Stress Management: Although it sounds harmless to call nail biting a nervous habit, what's usually going on when you're chowing down on your fingernails is some pretty serious stress. Learning some stress management techniques could go a long way toward allowing you to ignore your nails in times of stress. Breathing exercises are always a healthy way to try to calm yourself. So is meditation. If you don't have the patience for these things, try some good old fashioned tough physical exercise. Grinding out a spinning class, lifting some weights or going for a long run are all great ways to get the stress out. At the very least, you may be too tired to bother with the nail biting.
4. Bitter Polish: Chances are if you were a child nail biter, your parents tried painting your nails with a bitter polish at some point to dissuade you from putting your fingers in your mouth. Make sure if you try this technique that you buy one of the polishes that's specifically made for nail biting cessation. This will ensure that you aren't ingesting the nasty chemicals that make up clear nail polish. The idea here is pretty rudimentary - the gross, bitter taste on your nails should make you want to quit putting your fingers in your mouth. The key here though is using the stuff. If you're a nail biter, you may be reticent to use a bitter polish because you're so used to biting your nails. Regular use over the course of a month should help you kick the habit, though you may need to extend beyond that.
3. Substitution therapy:Substitution therapy is one way you may be able to make some headway in your quest to stop biting your nails. It's a pretty basic psychological idea. What you're trying todo is replace a negative habit with another positive habit. This kind of therapy is used to kick all kinds of issues, but in the case of nails you'll probably get more out of a replacement that involves your fingers. Some of the more common recommendations for nail biting include artsy things like drawing, painting or working with clay. If you don't have an artistic bone in your body, you may want to think about getting a stress ball you can squeeze when you feel the urge to bite your nails. Over time, using substitution therapy can help you stop biting your nails altogether.
2. Reminder: One of the big reasons why someone might continue to bite their nails well into adulthood is because it's become a mindless habit. If you've been a nail biter for 20 plus years, you probably don't even think about it when you bring your fingers to your mouth. Reminders can go a long way to help you here. Some recommend putting colored tape or bandaids around a couple of your fingers to alert you. Others bring a little pain into the equation with the old standby reminder: snapping a rubber band against your wrist when you feel the urge. If things are really bad and none of these reminders work, wearing gloves around the house is a more fool-proof, if a bit cumbersome, way to keep your nails intact.
1. Care for your nail:The typical nail biter's nails and cuticles can be pretty unsightly, so some believe that simply taking better care of your nails might inspire you to keep them out of your mouth. On your own, you can keep them trimmed and filed. Female nail biters may find that keeping them polished will help in the same way that a bitter solution might. If you need some professional help, getting regular manicures is a great way to keep your nails in the kind of shape you won't want to mess up by biting them. Artificial nails are another great way to keep you from biting, and you'll be preserving your actual nails underneath until you kick the habit
3 Reasons Your Nails Are Naturally Dark
You're probably familiar with the type of nail discoloration that occurs when using dark nail polish. It can leave a tint behind even after diligent rubbing with nail polish remover. That type of staining is pretty straightforward and easy to fix with a nail primer. Sometimes even pristine nails can display unique hues, though. Unusual shading may be related to the skin under the nails. If you have dark skin or are unusually pale, your nails may appear naturally darker or lighter. If you've just finished a workout and your blood is well oxygenated, your nails could look a darker or more vibrant shade of pink, too.More often, nail color is a reflection of your lifestyle or overall health, though. Dark or discolored nails can be a warning sign of a vitamin deficiency or even of a medical condition you should address sooner rather than later. On the next pages, let's take a look some reasons you may have naturally dark nails.
3: You Have a Vitamin Deficiency:If you're a vegan, vegetarian or just prefer fruits and vegetables to meat most of the time, you may face a challenge getting enough protein into your diet. Animal products contain all the amino acids the body needs to maintain itself. Relying on other sources like nuts, grains, seeds and vegetables for nutrients is doable, but without some know-how and judicious monitoring, forgoing animal protein on a regular basis can lead to deficits.Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient present in animal products, but it's often harder to find in sufficient quantities from other sources. A B12 deficiency can cause dark nails or nails that tend to curve. It can also cause tiredness, light headedness, bleeding gums, constipation and other symptoms. Although gray or brownish nails are an indication of vitamin B12 deficiency, the dark coloration can also be a symptom of illness, particularly if the condition is recent or presents with thickened nails, concave nails or nails that are lifting from the nail bed. Yellowish nails can also be a symptom of a zinc or iron deficiency, too.
2: You're a Smoker:If you've been smoking for a while, you may be used to seeing yellow tobacco stains on your fingers. The yellow discoloration that occurs on your fingernails is something a little different. Some of the yellow may be coming from cigarette smoke wafting up your fingers from the ciggy in your hand. There's a more ominous cause, though. That yellow tint you see on your nails after months, years or even decades of smoking is the effect of reduced blood flow from inhaling cigarette smoke. The color is unsightly, but it's also an indication that your nails aren't receiving proper nutrition, which leaves them vulnerable to fungal infection.
1: You May Have a Medical Condition Just because you've had quirky, colorful nails for a while doesn't mean that bluish, brown, yellow or two-toned darkening is biologically normal for you. What you've come to expect as the regular appearance of your nails may actually be a subtle indication that you have a medical problem that needs attention. In fact, doctors will often inspect a patient's nails for symptoms of disease. It's true that a recent change in the appearance of your nails is a potential warning sign you should discuss with your doctor, but darkening that's been present for a long time can still be significant.If you have a doctor's appointment coming up, avoid applying polish to your nails for a while, and ask your doctor to have a look at your naked nails. We don't want to alarm you here. Nail coloration (shape and density) can suggest illness, but one symptom, like nail color, can occur across a number of conditions, some minor and others major. If you think your nails may be trying to tell you something, listen to your digits and get a professional assessment.
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