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Have you ever looked down at your nails and thought, “What the hell is going on here?”

I used to do that quite a bit when I was growing up because I had those big white stains underneath a few of mine. I had heard through the grapevine that they were a sign of a calcium deficiency, so I freaked out. But as it turns out, I would come to find out that they were just a sign of a past injury to the base of my nail, from knocking them around to putting too much pressure on them. My nails eventually grew out, and the white spots would disappear.

But as Glamour and dermatologist Debra Jaliman pointed out, some nail issues are caused by more than just accidental bumps and knocks here and there. Not that you should immediately lose your sh-t, but if your nails have looked like the following for a while, it might be time to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Koilonychia, Or Spoon Nails

If your nails are very thin to the point that they take a concave shape (hence the use of “spoon nails”) or even go flat, it could be an issue of iron deficiency or a very rare condition: Plummer-Vinson syndrome.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Nail Clubbing

Now you should have known a long time ago that things are serious if your nails looked like this. The increased tissue around the fingertips, according to Dr. Jaliman, is a sign of a lung disease. Other more serious possibilities include inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and AIDS.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Beau’s Lines

Those deep, grooved lines in your nails? The possibilities are a bit more all over the place for this one. It could be an infection, injury, malnutrition, or your body’s reaction to a drug used in something like chemotherapy.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Yellow Nails

Yellows nails are often the stain of what was left behind from a particular color of nail polish. But in the case above, it could be a sign of diabetes or a fungal infection. If your nails are yellow and also slow to grow, a respiratory disease could also be the culprit.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Verticle Nail Ridges

Nails looking like Ruffles chips? Dr. Jaliman claims that if such ridges go up the length of your nail, this appearance may just be a symptom of getting older. Wrinkles all over, sis, even on your nails.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Nail Pitting

Small indented dots on your nail could be a sign of psoriasis or alopecia areata.

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Google – Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Terry’s Nails

If your nails appear a cloudy white, except for regular pink tips, that’s not a good thing. It could be liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes.

Onycholysis

Onycholysis

Onycholysis

This one is gross. And a sign that you might be getting too many manicures with acrylics and gels that are causing your fingernails to separate from the nail bed and change colors. If it’s not that, it could be caused by thyroid disease, an infection, or psoriasis.

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Shutterstock

Soft Nails

Those nails look a bit dehydrated. Could be your nail polish remover or all those water-based activities you take part in, that even includes washing dishes frequently.

 

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