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I have a friend who scratches her skin, causing black dirt to collect under her fingernails. Could it cause a disease? Is it a bad thing? Please answer.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I have a friend who scratches her skin, causing black dirt to collect under her fingernails, Could it cause a disease? Is it a bad thing? Please answer.

Michelle Amoah Hacienda Heights, California

Dear Michelle:

No, she won't get a disease from this, nor is it a bad thing. Our skin is constantly growing new skin cells and shedding old skin cells. When your friend is scratching, she is getting a collection of some of the old skin cells and skin oil. This can look pretty dark under the nails.

Regular bathing with a mild soap, such as Dove, and warm water can help to wash away the old skin cells. Occasional washing with a soft body sponge can also help to rid the skin of dead cells and keep it smooth.
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Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Sep 1, 1998
Words:135
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