Why Do Fingernails Turn Black?


Author: Richard Horgan
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Summary: A look at why fingernails turn black, what conditions may cause this to occur, and when you need to be concerned.

Tags: Why do fingernails turn black, skin cancer black nails, health problems black nails

One of the most common causes of black fingernails (a.k.a. Melanonychia), which overall remains a relatively rare modern society ailment, is as a side effect of taking medication. In cases where the medication contains fluoride or Cytoxan, the person taking such medication may may develop black discolorations beneath some or all of the nails. Several other medications may cause this side-effect; it all depends, as with most prescribed medicine side-effects, on the individual taker's metabolic make-up.

Skin Cancer

A much more serious possible cause of black nails is melanoma. Complicating this diagnosis is the  fact that a majority of African-Americans over the age of 20 normally develop longitudinal, pigmented black bands between their nails.

Doctors must rely on a variety of particular symptom watches in this case to differentiate between normal black line coloration and the possibility of an onset of skin cancer. Telltale signs include: a single toenail or fingernail only being affected; a family history of melanoma; and a band width of more than 3 millimeters.

Black Nails as Fashion Statement

On the voluntary side, that is in cases where women (and some men) deliberately color their nails black, the desired effect is usually one of edginess. Goth girls, whose look and heavy make-up tries to connect them with the darker and more supernatural side of things, often features heavy black eye shading and black make-up.

Similarly, when a celebrity such as Disney good girl Selena Gomez was suddenly seen sporting in public the fingernail polish tone of jet black, it was interpreted by celebrity websites as being an attempt to communicate that she was beginning to move on from her goody-goody, Disney star image. The Australian band Eskimo Joe meanwhile had their biggest hit in 2006 with "Black Nails, Red Wine," a song again celebrating the connotation of a girl with black nails.

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Works Cited

Family Physician Notebook
Nail Discoloration
http://www.fpnotebook.com

American Association of Family Physicians
Nail Abnormalities: Clues
http://www.aafp.org

Gather.com
Selena Gomez's New Bad Girl Image
http://celebs.gather.com







purple arrowCite this Article

"Why Do Fingernails Turn Black?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <http://www.sophisticatededge.com/why-do-fingernails-turn-black.html>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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