Posts for category: Nails

By Oregon Dermatology & Research Center
November 12, 2018
Category: Nails

6 Nails Symptoms That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Nails can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside one’s body. They can be markers for anything from cancer to anemia. Keeping an eye on your nails can be crucial to your well being. Here are six signs that you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to your nails.

A brown vertical line on the nail may be a sign of a melanoma. Most melanomas don’t occur in the nail except for about 1 percent in Caucasians and in African Americans it jumps to abut 20 percent. Certain medications can possibly cause a darkening line on the nail, but it is very dark or brown and reaches from one end to the cuticle. It this is the case, go have it checked out.







Brittle nails can result due to a nutrient deficiency in your diet or a chemical your hands are exposed to. Often times malnutrition plays a huge role in brittle nails as well as iron-deficient anemia and thyroid disease. Nails grow from underneath the skin at what’s called the matrix and progress out towards the fingertip. Keratin is what your nails are made of which is a protein, not the commonly mistaken calcium. People often take calcium to try and make their nails grow longer and stronger, however, that’s not going to help one bit. Calcium will make your bones stornger but if it's nail strength you're after, make sure you are eating a well balanced diet with lots of protein.


Brittle Nails

                                                     Brittle Nail Patient of Dr. Phoebe Rich's


Vertical ridges on the nails are common, especially as you get older. When deep horizontal lines are present, those are called Beau’s line, and more concerning. Beau’s lines are indications that something has cause the nail to stop growing such as trauma, a blood transfusion, car accident, chemotherapy or stress. If the vertical ridges are truly bothersome you can use a ridge filer to help cover them up, just don’t use a buffer. If the horizontal lines continue to deepen and you're concerned always reach out to your doctor.

White spots on a nails are called punctate leukonychia. They are formed due to a trauma that was present while the nail was trying to form. Many people think it’s a vitamin deficiency however they purely form due to a minor trauma. On average it takes nails about 6 months to grow out, so as time goes on the white spots will grow out as well.

Excessive yellow nails may be associated with lung disease. It’s called yellow nail syndrome. It is a very rare disease that results in chronic infection and inflammation of the main air passages. Yellow nails, especially on the feet, can be a result of fungus. Either way have it checked out by your doctor.


                                         Patient with Yellow Nail Syndrome



Inflamed, infected and reddened skin around the nail is called paronychia. It is the cause of the cuticle being pushed back, which really shouldn’t happen. It is a common practice among nails salons and the like however, when the cuticle gets pushed back it allows for bacteria, fungus, yeast and mold to get underneath causing an infection. If it does become inflamed and painful, you should soak it in hot water for two or three times a day. If it does not seem to get better, than you should contact your doctor and oral antibiotics might be prescribed. The best way to prevent this is to use a sharp tool if the cuticle is too long or gets snagged and needs to be cut. You can also use a gentle towel after showering to massage the cuticle to get rid of any dead cells.

This is not a complere list of concerning nail symptoms however, they are the ones that you should be aware of and knowledgeable if they should be looked at by a doctor right away or if it can wait. As always feel free to leave a cmment below with any questions, we love to hear form you!

By Oregon Dermatology & Research Center
October 18, 2018
Category: Nails
Tags: Holiday Nails  

Tips for Healthy Holiday Nails
By Dr. Phoebe Rich

Everyone would like to have beautiful festive nails around the holiday season. As we enter the season of orange pumpkins, red and yellow turkey feathers, and green Christmas trees, the creative nail options are endless. How do you limit the damage done to your nails among all the hustle and bustle though? It is possible to be festive and still keep your nails healthy! Here are some tips to protect your nails during this holiday season:

    1. Wear gloves outdoors in cold weather to minimize excessive exposure of your nails to the harsh elements of winter. The winter is generally hard on nails. Cold and dry climates tend to make the nail more brittle and subject to breaking.
    2. To help protect your nails, moisturize them along with your hands. Use a heavy moisturizer on your nails several times a day to help protect them. Try to keep the moisturizer on your skin and reapply after washing your hands.


    3. Limit polish changes to no less than 10 days. It is tempting to change your polish frequently to match your holiday outfits. Removing and reapplying nail polish too often subjects your nails to dehydration and its associated problems. Using a light or translucent nail color allows for touch ups of nicks and chips without full removal which extends the duration of your pretty nails.

    4. Salon nail finishes are fine, however, try to avoid any filing or buffing of the surface of the nail plate. This removes a layer of nail cells and ultimately results in a thinned nail plate over the 6 months that it takes to grow a fingernail from the cuticle to the free edge of the nail. 

    5. Keep nails a bit shorter in the winter to minimize breakage.  

    6. Most people think that they want hard nails, but hard nails are actually brittle and fragile. Strong and flexible nails on the other hand, are more desirable. Hydration of the nails is what allows it to flex rather than break. Keeping the nail moisturized will minimize the dryness and fragility that is seen more often in winter. Overall, nails grow slower in the winter than in the summer, so it takes longer for the nail to replace damaged nail tips with healthy regrowth.

    7. Eat healthy and get your protein! Nails are made of keratin which requires amino acids derived from dietary protein. It’s easy to indulge in sweet holiday treats at the expense of a balanced diet during the holidays. Try to maintain a healthy diet with adequate protein during the holiday season to keep your nails strong and healthy.  

    8. Make a New Year’s resolution to wear gloves for all your cleaning and household chores, especially those involving wet products, to protect your nails (and hands). Hands may become chapped due to excessive hand-washing, cold and dry air, or overexposure to heat. Although nails do not become chapped, these same conditions that cause chapped hands in the winter will impact the health of nails.

Follow these 8 tips to healthy nails during the holiday season and you’ll be sure to dazzle all of your friends and guests at your next holiday party.