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Skin, Hair And Nails

Skin, Hair And Nails

 

Hair, skin and nails are all made from a protein called keratin. Our genetics play an important role in the thickness and colour of our hair, skin and nails.

 

In addition to being important for physical beauty, our skin, hair and nails are also important for our protection. Skin protects our organs from damage, hair helps to regulate our temperate and our nails protect the sensitive ends of our fingers and toes.

 

 

Disorders of the skin, hair and nails
The condition of our skin, hair and nails is often indicative of our health. There are a range of disorders that can impact the health and appearance of our skin, hair and nails. Common conditions may include:

 

Skin:

  • Psoriasis – red, scaly patches on the skin which may be sore or itchy
  • Eczema – an inherited chronic skin condition which results in itchy skin
  • Acne – cysts on the skin caused by hormonal fluctuations
  • Dry skin – resulting in itchy, red, cracked, flaky skin
  • Sunburn – the skins reaction to ultraviolet radiation

 

Hair:

  • Hair shedding - often occurs during pregnancy, illness and medication use
  • Ringworm – a fungal infection
  • Folliculitis – a bacterial infection of the hair follicles
  • Hirsutism – excessive hair growth
  • Alopecia – hair loss which can occur in patches or over the whole head

 

Nails:

  • Bacterial infection – results in inflammation around the nail bed
  • Fungal infection – such as tinea
  • Ingrown toenails – when the toenail grows into the skin
  • Brittle nails – often caused as a result of trauma to the nail-bed
  • Nail splitting – most commonly caused by having constantly wet hands
  • Ridged nails – ridges running along the nail usually as a result of trauma to the nail-bed.

 

 

Nutrition
A healthy diet is important for healthy skin, hair and nails. Some key nutrients include:

  • Protein – protein deficiencies can result in hair loss and ridges on the nails
  • Iron - iron deficiency can result hair loss and/or in a condition called koilonychia which results in spoon-shaped nails
  • Selenium – a deficiency can result in white nail beds, whilst a toxicity can result in brittle nails, or hair and nail loss
  • Zinc – a deficiency can result in hair loss
  • Antioxidants - such as vitamin C and E fight free radicals which result in ageing skin.

 

 

Tips to keep skin, hair and nails healthy
Follow these tips to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy:

  • Avoid harsh chemicals,
  • Rinse off after swimming in a chlorinated pool,
  • Use moisturiser and hair conditioner,
  • Avoid cigarette smoking,
  • Ensure you consume a nutritious diet.

 

If you are concerned about the condition of your skin, hair or nails, seek advice from your local Health Care Professional.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Nails_-_fingernail_and_toenail_problems?open

 

Heimburger DC. Adulthood. In: Shils ME, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ. Modern nutrition in health and disease, 10th ed. Baltimore (MD): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006 p. 830-842.

 

Alam M, Grossman ME, Longley BJ. Kwashiorkor in patients with AIDS. Cutis 2001 [cited 2007 12 July];67:321-324.
Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11324396

 

Ishida T, Himeno K, Torigoe Y, Inoue M, Wakisaka O, Tabuki T, et al. Selenium deficiency in a patient with Crohn's disease receiving long-term total parenteral nutrition. Intern Med 2003 [cited 2007 1 Jun];42:154-157.
Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=12636234

 

Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; 2000 [2007 28 May].

Available from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9810.html

 

http://www.pennutrition.com/KnowledgePathway.aspx?kpid=6751&pqcatid=146&pqid=6767

 

Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; 2000 [2007 28 May].

Available from: http://www.nap.edu/books/0309072794/html/

 

Alhaj E, Alhaj N, Alhaj NE. Diffuse alopecia in a child due to dietary zinc deficiency. Skinmed 2007 [cited 2007 13 July];6:199-200.

Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17618180

 

Ead RD. Oral zinc sulphate in alopecia areata - a double-blind study. Br J Dermatol 1981 [cited 2007 13 July];104:483. No abstract available.

 

 

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