24 June 2024

Disturbing appearance of nails – what could it mean?

niepokojący wygląd paznokci

Aesthetic looking nails are every woman’s dream. Unfortunately, few ladies can enjoy them. Due to improper diet or various diseases, nails often become brittle and have an unnatural color. In many cases, as a result of improper functioning of the body, white lines are formed, which are visible on the surface of the nail plate. Disturbing symptoms may indicate more or less serious illnesses. What are the changes in the appearance of the nail and what characterizes them and how to treat it in the event of deterioration of the nail plate?

Changes in the appearance of nails

Many diseases are manifested by changes in the nails. Interestingly, only some of them are associated with diseases of the nail plate. Most of the changes are the result of a malfunction of the whole organism. It happens that the white or brown streaks visible on the nails are caused by systemic diseases. Therefore, any changes in the appearance of the hands should make us suspicious. All the more so if the appearance of the fingers deteriorates significantly overnight. Some changes resulting from an incorrect diet or infection even have their own names. It is certainly worth knowing about their characteristics so that you can quickly recognize them in the event of ailments.

disturbing appearance of the nails - mycosis


The changes in the nails most often mean mycosis. Depending on the severity of the disease, the disease may take slightly different forms. People who struggle with mycosis at the very beginning may notice a change in the color of the plaque. Usually, you will notice white spots on the nail first. These turn yellow or brown over time. During mycosis, keratinization of the nails occurs. The plaque becomes very thick and delaminates regularly. Importantly, mycosis can affect both the feet and hands. In addition, the disease is easily transmitted. Therefore, it is a very common ailment.

Reasons for formation

The most common causes of onychomycosis is direct contact with the fungus. It is easy to catch the disease in the swimming pool, when we do not use flip-flops or during stays in guest houses. When one household member struggles with onychomycosis, there is a high probability that the disease will spread to other people. Especially when they share a towel or exchange shoes. Onychomycosis can also be the result of untreated onychomycosis of the skin of the feet or hands. Especially men and women struggling with diabetes and disturbed hormones are at risk of the disease. Obesity and wearing shoes made of windproof materials contribute to the disease.


Ringworm requires long-term treatment. Mainly due to the fact that the disease spreads quickly. Most often, nail changes require a visit to the doctor. The dermatologist will quickly recognize the disease and prescribe the appropriate pharmaceuticals. It is very important to use ointments and other mycosis preparations on a regular basis. Lack of regularity can make us struggle with mycosis for months. Besides, there is no point in using home remedies because they do not bring satisfactory results. It is best to opt for treatment with a specialist. When eliminating mycosis, it is also important to take care of proper nail hygiene. For this purpose, it is worth using anti-fungal solutions and disposable accessories for the care of the plate.

Mees bands what are they?

One of the most popular changes that can be seen in the toenail is the so-called Mees Bands. Their characteristic feature is white color and the fact that they appear singly. Importantly, the strands can be noticed not only on the hands, but also on the feet. Consequently, they are quite easy to recognize. People who deal with Mees Bands may notice these wobble up the nail plate over time. This is due to the growth of the nail.

Reasons for the formation of mees bands

Although the Mees Bands do not look like a serious ailment, they may indicate serious diseases of the circulatory system. White lines on the nail are very often the result of heart failure or sickle cell anemia. The causes of the appearance of streaks also include poisoning the body with carbon monoxide or metals such as arsenic or thallium. The change in the appearance of nails is characteristic of kidney failure and malaria.


First of all, in order to get rid of the white lines on the nails, you need to find out what caused them. Usually, after the underlying condition has healed, the Mees bands disappear on their own. If there is a suspicion of poisoning the body, a visit to the doctor is necessary. The specialist will select the appropriate treatment. The same applies to malaria. When streaks are the result of heart or kidney failure, it is not always possible to completely eliminate the lesions. Nevertheless, the appearance of white lines helps to diagnose diseases, which translates into more effective treatment.

The Muehrcke bands

There may also be horizontal lines on the nails, which most often do not appear individually, but in pairs. They are called the Muehrcke Bands. The lesions are white and usually appear only on the hand. Importantly, unlike Mees bands, Muehrcke bands do not move as the nail grows. Their position is always constant, so they are easy to distinguish from each other.

disturbing appearance of nails - muehrcke strand

Reasons for formation

There are many reasons for the formation of Muehrcke’s nails. The most common of these include hypoalbuminaemia and glomerulonephritis. Nevertheless, it happens that horizontal white lines within the nail are a consequence of nephrotic syndrome and serious liver diseases. Interestingly, Muehrcke’s bands may be the result of chemotherapy as well as the use of antibiotics. Especially when pharmaceuticals contain tetracyclines.


Depending on the cause of the appearance of Muehrcke bands, there are several ways to eliminate changes. One of them is to cure diseases that are the direct source of changes. Therefore, when a person who wants to get rid of Muehrcke’s nails suffers from glomerulonephritis or liver disease, he must start pharmacotherapy. It is worth adding, however, that the changes are not visible until after a longer period of treatment. If the white bands are a side effect of chemotherapy or taking antibiotics, they require a change of medication to eliminate them. In a situation where it is not possible to choose an alternative pharmacotherapy, wait until the bands disappear by themselves.

Beau Lines
disturbing appearance of nails - beau lines

When the nails are not smooth, so-called Beau furrows may be suspected. The lesions take the form of transverse grooves and look very unsightly. They most often appear on the nails of the thumbs and big toes. Nevertheless, in extreme cases, all nail plates may change. It is worth adding that Beau’s furrows are parallel to each other and most often they do not differ significantly in color from the rest of the nail.

Reasons for formation

Unfortunately, changes in the structure of the nails may indicate serious diseases. It happens that the Beau lines are the result of a cancer or disturbances in the functioning of the endocrine economy. Transverse grooves very often alert us to the occurrence of liver and kidney diseases. Furrows also accompany diseases of the circulatory system (e.g. in coronary artery disease). Interestingly, Beau’s lines may appear as a result of the weakening of the body after a few hours of birth, as well as in the case of calcium deficiency.


As with the Muehrcke Strands or the Mees Lines, treatment of Beau’s Furrows consists in eliminating the direct causes of unsightly changes. In many cases, the visibility of the furrows can be reduced with the use of special conditioners or vitamin nail polishes. In addition, people who decide to see a dermatologist may ask for a prescription of pharmaceuticals. The appearance of nails can be improved by taking dietary supplements that provide the body with the necessary micro- and macroelements.

disturbing appearance of the nails - treatment
How to take care of your nails?

In many cases, changes to the nail structure cannot be prevented. Especially when the ailment is caused by a serious illness. Nevertheless, nail care can reduce the risk of infection with ringworm. In addition, proper hygiene can strengthen a weakened nail plate and reduce the visibility of unsightly changes. How to take care of nails when they are prone to discoloration and crushing?

  • Eating a balanced diet – an essential element of caring for the healthy appearance of your nails. For the plate to be smooth and have a nice color, eat dishes rich in silicon, magnesium, calcium and zinc. It is worth reaching for dairy products, as well as herbal teas (e.g. horsetail infusion). Supplying the body with a large dose of minerals reduces the likelihood of the nail crumbling.
  • Applying conditioners – a particularly important activity in the case of nail discoloration. Professional preparations contain a lot of vitamins that penetrate the nail structure. Regular use of conditioners lightens the yellow spots on the nails and prevents the plate from splitting. However, we should choose products that do not contain irritating pigments and aromas.
  • Taking dietary supplements – the perfect solution for people whose menu is not very diverse. Capsules intended for people complaining about changes in the nail plate are a great source of silicon and calcium. Thanks to this, the nails do not crumble and grow faster. In addition, supplements contain a lot of vitamins that support the regeneration of nails in the case of mycosis. However, you should choose preparations with a high degree of bioavailability.
  • Using the right files – applies mainly to women. Ladies who have noticed changes in the appearance of their nails should give up metal accessories for the care of the plate. It is best to replace them with glass files that do not crush the nails excessively.

Katarzyna Kroteniuk

Editor-in-chief of diet4u.org blog

View all posts by Katarzyna Kroteniuk →

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