Do You Know the Signs?
Before you book your next mani-pedi or apply your own polish, take a good look at your nails, all twenty of them. Fingernails and toenails can give us strong indications that something could be wrong internally. So, if you are constantly covering them up with gloss, gels, acrylics etc, you may be missing some important signs. And please don’t trust your nail techs to catch them. They are busy rushing through the applications to supply the demand of glam happy clients and pocket your hard earned $50-$100+ (and they are not doctors).
In Ayurvedic medicine and most functional medicine practices, we use nail analysis as one of several assessment tools.
So, what is Ayurveda?
Many people have heard this buzzword, particularly in the yoga world. Relative to the history of this science, it is a very new concept here in North America. Ayurveda has been around thousands and thousands of years. In fact, it’s older than Chinese Medicine! Ayurvedic Medicine is the ancient healing system of India; historically it is their standard medical care. It is based on balancing our three mind-body types (doshas) in accordance with the environment. You can find a general explanation on my Ayurveda page. There are so many characteristics which describe each dosha type. Here are just a few to start:
Vata: dry, cold, brittle, active mind, artistic, restless sleeper (vivid) dreams), anxiety, (nail biter), high sex drive.
Pitta: sharp, hot, medium frame, reddish hair, ambitious, loves luxurious things, passionate, moderate sex drive.
Kapha: heavy, oily, larger framed, decent sleeper, good memory, passive, unimaginative approach to sex.
Peaked your curiosity? In a future article, I will describe the doshas in detail including the role different elements play in each energy. But for now, I listed some Ayurvedic Nail Signs below as they relate to each dosha:
Are your nails thin? Brittle? Dry? Rough cuticles? Break easily? Do you bite them? …Vata Dosha
Do you have soft, pink, flexible nails which are medium in delicacy? ……Pitta Dosha
Are your nails strong? Shiny? Oily? Rarely break? Do you have soft cuticles? ….Kapha Dosha
Don’t solely go by your nails to identify your dominant dosha. You can have kapha nails and a dominant vata dosha, like me.
In Ayurveda nails are a by-product of your bones. Therefore brittle nails can reflect brittle bones. As you can see, nails can give clues about your dominant dosha and also tell us which dosha is out of balance! A detailed dosha questionnaire is a cornerstone tool in addition to nails, tongue and pulse assessments to determine your natural constitution and the dosha imbalances. I incorporate Ayurveda into my functional medicine evaluations when clients request an ayurvedic protocol to get them back to health.
Which Dosha Dominance Are You?
If you are curious and would like to see what your dosha constitution is, the questionnaire is on my website. Click here to download. Follow the instructions and make sure you are answering all questions based on your entire life, not your current status.
Here are some nail indications of underlying health issues:
Yellow nails- serious pulmonary disease, lymphedema,
Bluish nails- poorly oxygenated blood (aka unoxygenated hemoglobin)
White nails – Occurs usually later in life and could be a sign of several systemic diseases such as cirrhosis, chronic renal failure, CHF, diabetes mellitus, chronic hypoalbuminemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Dark lines – from cuticle to nail: see a dermatologist to rule out melanoma as soon as possible. Read my personal story about this: “Cancer Scare…”
Pale nails with dark rims at the tips – Called Terry’s Nails; possibly liver cirrhosis
Red, puffy nail folds (below cuticles)- infection possibly parasites.
Vertical ridges- trauma, aging, insufficient protein (malnutrition)
Horizontal depressions – malnutrition, heart attack, poorly controlled diabetes
Nail pitting- This looks like tiny pits or indentations in the nails and could be a sign of psoriasis or atopic dermatitis
Split/cracked- usually in the elderly – sign of dryness (According to Ayurveda it is the vata dosha that starts to dominate in this late phase of life)
Puffy nails- skin puffy in cuticle- Autoimmune or collagen vascular disease
Gnawed nails- OCD, psychopathology- anxiety, addiction behaviours.
Note: Please check with your dermatologist or primary care physician if these or any other suspicious signs appear on your nails or elsewhere on your body.
So after my nails were nearly destroyed by the SNS dipping toxicity, here’s what I did to restore their condition and bring the shine and strength back (my kapha nails):
It actually comes from your internal state of health first and to a lesser degree the external applications. It takes 3-6 months for fingernails to regrow completely. Toe nails take much longer, approximately 12-18 months Hence, conditions like toenail fungus are slow to respond to natural intervention, particularly with continued wear of closed shoes and socks, but so worth it if you can make it to the finish line with natural remedies which means no side effects and no toxicities! I successfully cleared my few damaged toe nails in a shorter period – (6 weeks) over this past summer.
In my previous blog article I explained the damaging effects of an SNS dipping powder manicure I tried as an experiment early this year before an overseas trip. Truthfully, there was a point when I was afraid my nails would never be the same. They were cracked, dry, discolored and some tips just tore off like a soft, wet cardboard. This article describes the toxins that lurk in your common mani-pedi salon treatments and their short and long term effects on your health!
Waiting for Nail Tech to try to Remove the Rest of the Glue.
I used a LOT of GUT therapy, some mineralization, collagen and some topical remedies sourced from food …(yes, food!) which I found in my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator . I also created some blends using strategic essential oils to clean disinfect, repair, strengthen and moisturize! The ebook on Natural Nails is coming soon with all those juicy homemade secrets and functional nutrition protocols. However, I posted a sample of what I did in the YouTube video below!
Ok, why the gut therapy?
Your gut rules your immune system and speaks to your brain. Any toxicity and tissue damage warrants healthy gut in order to heal from inside out, all the way to your hair, skin and nails! If you wish to get an understanding on how “second brain” really affects all aspects of your health, I wrote a book on this relationship. It’s available on my new online store! Click HERE for the book!
I had to go “sans polish” for a few months and just use the oils to shine the nails. Not easy to do at the beginning, but worth it because of the successful outcome and the restoration of that natural French Manicure look. The damage caused by these nail treatments could tempt you to cover up with another manicure. Don’t do it! Why would you allow the compounding effects of chemicals to build up and penetrate past your nails and into your body?
My YouTube video below describes the ingredients and solutions I created. Rescuing your nails and keeping them healthy could give you a glamorous look with a natural shine or safer polish does NOT break the bank. This is a huge money saver! It just takes some time and pampering self care. How hard is that if it can save you from illness? And if you want a nail salon glam treatment once in a while, go for it! Let’s face it, that black tie event or high school reunion may be around the corner. Just give them an ample break in between and continue to exercise healthy nail habits and nutrition to decrease the toxicity.
Take a look and please subscribe to my channel. I’m creating more videos for you. The details on everything to do with nail health and beauty will be available in the upcoming book on Hair Skin and Nails.
My Hair, Skin and Nails Series Continues…
(I’m working backwards so the “skin” part is next!)
Please share this article to your Facebook page, forward it in an email or place a comment or question below. And feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel (More videos are coming!)