Different Types of Nail Disorders You Should Know.

Nail disorders are more frequent than you think. They are often overlooked but in some instances can be very harmful if not taken seriously. Nail disorders are a large group of conditions that affect the appearance of fingernails and toenails. Nails can reveal a lot about your overall health, abnormalities in the physical appearance of your nails, for example, color shape, and thickness can be a warning sign of danger. Nail changes may be an indication of fungal, bacterial, or viral infections. Other underlying conditions and inherited ailments oftentimes present themselves to us through common nail abnormalities.

The nails are affected by many disorders, these include deformities which are changes in the shape or size, dystrophy changes in the sizes as well specifically the thickness of the nails. Injuries are also commonly seen, ingrown toenails, and as stated above the presence of nail infections

From my experience most nail infections are fungal, the medical terminology is Onychomycosis, but bacterial and viral infections do occur. Most nail infections occur around the nail unit. It is made up of the nail plate this is the hard part of the nail that is made up of a hard protein called keratin. Some nail infections can change the physical appearance of this structure while others may not. Fungal infections often change their color and may cause flaking of the nail. There are other surrounding structures such as the nail bed, this structure is underneath the nail and attaches the nail to the finger. The nail matrix is located at the base of the nail and is where nail growth originates. Please read more about the parts of the nail unit and their functions here: The Structure and Growth of The Natural Nail

Some main disorders we often see in the nail salon;

Blue Nails

This is a condition caused by poor circulation, lack of oxygen in the blood, heart disorder, or topical and oral medications. The nail will not only appear bluish in color but also blue-gray, green, yellow, and red.

This condition is known as cyanosis. Cyanosis can be a sign of serious heart disease and may warrant a visit to your physician. I recommend a visit to your health care provider if you experience severe cyanosis or darkening of the nail plate and around the other structures of the nail unit.

Bruised Nails

This is a condition caused by blood clots that are formed under the nail plate, forming a dark purplish spot called (subungual hematoma). This is usually caused by a traumatic injury such as hitting your thumb with a hammer.

Corrugations Nail

This is caused by uneven nail growth, nails appear wavy with long ridges usually as a result of illness or injury, some conditions include psoriasis, poor circulation, and frostbite; As a certified Nail Technician, whenever I am doing a manicure with a client who has corrugation nails, I gently and carefully buff the nails. This helps to remove or minimize ridges.

Eggshell Nails- also called ( hapalonychi )

This nail appears soft and thin, normally flexible, and breaks more easily than healthier nails. Other factors that may contribute to this condition are improper diet, Thyroid diseases, medication, nervous disorders, or Iron deficiency. Be careful when doing a manicure or pedicure on these nails because they are very fragile and can break easily. use the fine side of the emery board to gently file and buff without adding pressure.

Furrow Nails (Depression)

This type of nail has lines running transverse or grooves across the nail plate.

this kind of nail disorder is normally caused by stress, pregnancy, illness, or injuries to nail cells in the proximal nail matrix. great care should be exercised when giving a manicure, avoid using metal pushers or anything that can cause damage to the nail.


This is a condition that causes the cuticles to split around the nail. most times People with dry skin tend to experience this, during the winter, hands being exposed to water for a period of time.

Hangnails can be a contraindication of nail enhancement, read my earlier blog post on Some Contraindications for Nail Enhancements and How to Identify Them.

Frequent Hangnails causes;

  • Removing too much of the cuticle

  • careless removing cuticle tissue

  • Dryness of the cuticle


these are white discoloration of the nails. These white spots are often caused by injury to the base of the nails, they usually disappear as the nails start to grow.


This is an increase in pigment cells called melanocytes, they become localized within the matrix bed which causes darkening of the nails. It can be seen on both fingernails and toenails. This disorder appears as a black band within or under the nail plate, extending from the free edge to the base. It can also affect the entire nail.


This is the forward growth of the eponychium while it is extremely adherent to the nail plate. It is not recommended to treat this condition by pushing back eponychium as this can cause exacerbation. Oil manicures may be employed to treat this disorder.

Hot oil manicures can help with correcting this type of condition. The cuticle is very important and if not properly cared for will definitely predispose the nail to infection.

Tile Shaped nails

These types of nails present a cross-wise curvature throughout the nail plate. Due to the increased curvature of the matrix bed, this is reflected by the nail plate.

Trumpet/Pincer Nails

In this condition, the edges of the nail plate curl around to form a trumpet-like shape at the free edge. This abnormal shape can also be described as cone-like. This irregular cone-like shape cause constriction of the nailbed and is often painful to those who experience it. It can also cause ingrown nails. There is not much to be done in this situation, however, trimming the margin of the nail may provide some degree of comfort for the client in most cases.

Thank you for being here with me today lovies, I hope you have learned something useful today, remember that our bodies are our temple and we should always know how it functions in both the good times and bad.

Until next time stay fabulous! Don't forget to follow me on my various social media platforms to get live updates on my daily practice, stay tuned.

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Ilgrid Indira Tibby is a certified Makeup Artist , Nail Technician & Author based in Jamaica.
Ilgrid Indira Tibby is a certified Makeup Artist , Nail Technician & Author based in Jamaica.

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