A few years ago, Baltimore student, Shanyana Isom lived a normal life. She had no chronic illnesses and was relatively healthy. After taking steroids prescribed to her to treat her asthma, Shanyana has become a medical mystery that Doctors to this day cannot explain.

Shanyana’s hair follicles produce what looks and feels like hard fingernails!

What started as an itch

After suffering an Asthma attack Shanyana suffered from constant itching and developed bumps on the skin. After a Doctor examined her Shanyana was shocked to discover the bumps on her skin were actually similar fingernails produced by her hair follicles. 

A website created by Shanyana’s family says that although Doctors could explain what was happening to Shanyana, no one can give a solution for Shanyan’s condition.

Image from Facebook SAI Foundation
Image from Facebook SAI Foundation

How do hair follicles produce fingernails?

According to Healthline, hair and fingernails are made of the same material, keratine which is a protein produced by the body. 

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In Shanyana’s case, her skin cells produce 12 times the normal number of cells per hair follicle, suffocating her skin and growing what her mother described to CNN as hard scab like spikes that were sharp and prickly like nails. 

It’s an expensive condition

Although there is no cure for Shanyan’s condition, she has been receiving treatment from John Hopkins hospital there is no actual cure for her condition. 

Under financial strain from Shanyana’s treatment and medication which are not funded by the American public health insurance, her family have shared her journey with the public and opened a Gofundme account to help Shanyana and other people struggling to pay their medical bills 


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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.