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Why do some people have healthy, beautiful nails, while other people struggle with weak nails that break easily? You can try to cover up unhealthy nails with manicures, but a smarter move is to improve their health. Let’s talk about some common nail issues and how you can keep your nails healthy and strong.

Causes of nail issues can be harmless or serious, so it’s always best to let your dermatologist weigh in if you have a problem. Common nail problems include:

  • Ridges: These could be caused by something as simple as dry skin, but they could also be the result of an illness or metabolic disorder, so it’s important to see your dermatologist for a diagnosis.
  • Discoloration: White spots and lines can be the result of an injury, in which case they’ll grow out with the nail. Discoloration can also be caused by infection or nail fungus, however, and your dermatologist will want to treat the underlying condition.
  • Ingrown Nails: This happens when the nail grows improperly into the skin, or the skin grows too rapidly around the nail.
  • Bacterial Paronychia: This infection can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the nail folds. In some cases, it can also cause pus under the skin. It’s contagious, so see a doctor right away if you have these symptoms.
  • Thickened Nails: Injuries, fungal infections, diabetes, and psoriasis are all examples of medical conditions that can cause nails to thicken.
  • Nail Splitting: Wetting and drying your nails repeatedly can cause them to become dry and brittle and eventually split.
  • Onycholysis: This is the separation of the nail from the nail bed, and it can be caused by skin disease, infection, injury, or just growing your nails too long.
  • Skin Cancer under the Nail: Melanoma can look like bruising under the nail but must be treated early.

Taking care of your nails can help to prevent these issues. Keep nails clean and dry, and wear gloves while doing chores. Use good nail hygiene, and make sure you moisturize them. If your nails are brittle, consider a nail hardener, but skip any harsh nail care products. Don’t bite or pick your nails or pull at hangnails. Diet matters when it comes to nail health. Make sure you’re packing your diet with nutrient-dense vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, seeds and legumes, and yogurt and milk.

Whether it’s’ your skin, hair, or nails, you can trust Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology to help you care for your body. We’re committed to providing superior, professional skin care in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board- certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere.