Marla Ahlgrimm: What Your Nails Reveal About Your Health

Marla AhlgrimmYou likely paint and file your finger and toenails, says Marla Ahlgrimm, but how much do you actually pay attention to them? If you aren’t already inspecting them each time the polish comes off, it’s time to start.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, your fingernails actually tell you a lot about your overall health. Odd coloring and other issues can indicate all sorts of problems. Here are a few to look for:

Pale white skin underneath with dark rings at the tip of the nail. 

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the skin underneath your fingernails should be similar in color to the rest of your skin. A pale white discoloration, particularly if accompanied by jaundice, may be a sign of problems with the liver.

Yellow fingernails. 

Discolored fingernails, particularly those with a yellow hue, likely indicate a fungal infection. Very rarely, Marla Ahlgrimm says that yellow nails might also be indicative of psoriasis, thyroid disease, diabetes, or lung disease.


Ripples in the fingernail, which look like tiny indentations running the length of the nail, could mean psoriasis. Marla Ahlgrimm also notes that these types of dips and divots might also signal that you have inflammatory arthritis.

Puffy skin around the base of the nail. 

A puffy nail fold indicates inflammation, which might be a link to a connective tissue disorder, such as lupus. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that puffiness around the nail bed could also indicate an early infection.

Marla AhlgrimmDark lines. 

One of the most troubling health conditions that might be indicated in your fingernails is melanoma. Dark brown to bluish lines underneath the nails should be looked at as soon as possible.

Nail Biting. 

Biting your fingernails might indicate that you have persistent anxiety. Alternately, Marla Ahlgrimm explains that excessive nail biting may be part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It also opens up extra room for bacteria to enter through broken skin around the nail base.

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