What the colour of your tongue, snot, nails, hair and, yes, your poo say about your health.

Image: iStock. 

You might have noticed your hair goes a little darker in winter, or that you’re seeing more skin spots as you get a little older.

Don’t freak out — changes in colour on our body are pretty normal. But when these changes occur in certain areas and products of your body, it can tell you important information about the state of your health.

Here are some of the areas of your body it pays to be aware of — and yes, your poo is included. (Sorry not sorry.)

Your nails

If you constantly have your nails painted, it’s good to give them a rest once in a while so you can pay attention to how your nails are naturally looking, particularly in terms of colour. Here are some changes that can indicate health issues.

Black areas

NSW-based GP Dr Harry Nespolon explains that if your nails develop black areas, you should book in to see your doctor as soon as you notice as it could be a melanoma.

Various colours

Colours can appear on your nails for various reasons — if you have removed nail polish, have recently dyed your hair, or if you are taking certain medications, including antibiotics and anti-malarial medications, as Dr Nespolon explains. But again, if you’re unsure about the exact cause, see your doctor.
It's good to take a break from painting your nails so you can monitor them. (iStock)


A common but difficult-to-fix discolouration of the nails is fungal infection, which can cause your nails to turn a slight green colour (this is called onchychomycosis). See your doctor for treatment options if this is the case.


One of the most common causes of your nails turning red is called a subungal haemotoma.
"If you injure your nails you can cause a clot (which will be red) that can result in the original nail being replaced by new nail, that can look odd for a while as it grows under the old nail," Dr Nespolon says. 
See your health care provider and get them to examine your nail to either confirm or rule out a bone fracture or other injury.
Watch: We've got a DIY nail art tutorial for you that won't take you forever. Promise. (Post continues after video)

Your tongue

Your tongue isn't just there to taste delicious food; it can also serve as a little messenger for what's happening way further down in your body. The following colours on your tongue can indicate different health issues.

Black spots

Dr Nespolon explains that if you notice a dark area in the middle or on other parts of the tongue, you might have hairy tongue. This is commonly caused by antibiotics, smoking, or alcohol. The black colour is caused by a fungus that grows in small areas.

There are a few other reasons why your tongue can have black spots on it, including from oral piercings, exposure to chemicals, ailments and oral cancer. Be sure to see your doctor to narrow down what the cause is.

Your tongue colour can tell you a lot about your health. (Image via iStock.)

White patches

White spots can indicate that your tongue is very dry. They can also be a sign of oral cancer or leukoplakia, or that you have Lichen planus. Dr Nespolon also explains that while many people think white patches on your tongue can indicate thrush, this generally only occurs in infants, older patients, and some people with systemic diseases such as diabetes or asthmatics who take steroids.

But do visit your local GP if you notice the patches, just to determine what the cause actually is.


Bright red

If your tongue is looking a tinge redder than it normally does (and you haven't been eating red lollies...) it could mean that you have a folate or B12 deficiency, Dr Nespolon says. However if combined with a fever, it can point out something quite different.

"Fever and tongue colour that looks like a strawberry could mean that you have scarlet fever and you should see a doctor for antibiotics," he explains.

Again, book an appointment in with your doctor if you notice your tongue is suddenly redder than usual.

Your snot

Let's talk about snot, baby...

It mightn't be the most glamorous of subjects, but it's an important one — because the colour of your mucus can reveal many secrets about your health. Here we go.

Your snot says a lot about your health. So go on and have a know you want to...(Image via iStock)


Clear snot reflects a bill of good health. Nothing to see here, move along.


Red mucus commonly occurs during winter due to cracks in the mucus membranes of the nose, which cause your blood vessels to bleed a little. It can also happen if you have a very dry nose and tear your nostrils when blowing it.


Discoloured snot, which is commonly yellow or green, can mean a variety of things. Dr Nespolon says it could indicate a common cold (a viral infection), and it can also mean you might have sinusitis, which is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Be sure to see your GP if you notice changes in the colour. (Post continues after gallery.)

Your bowel movements

We know it might a be a little uncomfortable to talk about, let alone look at, but paying attention to the colour of your poo is something we should all be doing.


Let's keep this as brief as possible. Brown poo is normal; however, light brown to yellowish poo may indicate you are producing too little in the way of bile salts.


Bright green

A bright green poo can indicate a quick transition through the bowel and usually happens if you have diarrhoea.

Yep, we're going there. (Image: iStock.)

Greyish or pale yellow

This can indicate problems with organs like the liver, so see your doctor to confirm why it is happening.


Red poo can reflect a number of things. You might have eaten beetroot or taken iron tablets recently; or it could be caused from more serious factors, like haemorrhoids, anal fissures, bowel polyps, peptic ulcers and also bowel tumours. You should always talk to your doctor if you see any blood after you poo. (Post continues after gallery.)

Your hair

Dull colour.

If you've noticed your hair losing its shine and looking a little duller than normal, it could be an indication you're not getting enough protein in your diet.

study conducted by the University of California, and published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, found those who took a protein supplement had significant improvement in overall hair shine, health, volume, scalp coverage, and thickness of hair body after 90 days. Interesting.

Have you noticed your hair changes when your health does?