Your nails might not be the first place you look to for signs that you’re killing it at this life thing, but surprisingly, you can tell a lot about your health from your nails.
What do healthy nails look like, though? First, “normal” fingernails should have white tips with a smooth finish and subtle shine, Dana Stern, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical School, tells SELF. Your nail beds should be flesh-colored, meaning they skew pink, tan, or brownish. “Cuticles are intact and well moisturized,” Dr. Stern adds. “Hangnails are absent.”
If your nail color, shape, or structure starts to look a bit odd for reasons beyond normal wear—say, you spent all weekend deep cleaning the house or you’re really due for a manicure—then it’s possible your fingernail health may indicate a deeper issue with your overall health, Dr. Stern says. Here are the most common nail problems that potentially signal something that’s more than skin-deep, according to dermatologists.