When you hear the term “psoriasis,” you no doubt think about your skin or your scalp. You know about itching, flaking and discomfort in other areas, but probably the very last thing you think about is your fingernails. The fact is, though, psoriasis can also affect your nails. It changes the way that your nails look, often causing thickening or a change in shape or color, and it can also be painful. Fortunately, nail psoriasis is very treatable.
If you have nail psoriasis, your nails may become very unsightly, turning brown, yellow or green, or developing white or red spots. You may also notice grooves or ridges, or little holes on the surface of the nail. You might also find that there is a buildup of white, chalky material under the nail that could even cause it to become detached from the skin. Needless to say, this is painful. Brittle or broken nails are also a symptom of nail psoriasis. In its advanced stages, nail psoriasis may make it difficult for you to move your fingers. This loss of functionality can impair your ability to work and to socialize effectively.
Preventing Nail Psoriasis
As is the case with many illnesses and disorders, prevention is far better than a cure. In order to prevent nail psoriasis, you should do the following:
- Keep your nails short.
- Wear gloves when you are working with your hands.
- Use a nail file to make sure that your nails are always smooth.
- Moisturize your hands morning and evening, and whenever they have been in water.
- Use clear nail polish to protect the surface of your nails, but be sure that you are not allergic to any of the chemicals in the polish.
Remember that taking care of your nails is part of your daily hygiene, just the same as washing your face or brushing your teeth.
Treating Nail Psoriasis
Generally speaking, the same treatments that work on scalp and skin psoriasis can also work on nail psoriasis. However, because nails grow slowly, you may not see improvement right away. Treatments for nail psoriasis include:
- Medication that is either taken orally or applied directly to the nails
- Phototherapy using ultraviolet light
- Protective lacquers to strengthen and hydrate your nails – used in the same way as nail polish
- Antibiotic creams that work to ease the discomfort of nail psoriasis and cure any infection that may have resulted from the condition
- Coricosteroid injections applied under the nails every few months, under local anesthetic
The Final Word
Nail psoriasis is unsightly, and can also be very painful. Fortunately, there are remedies available that can ease the discomfort and correct the condition. If you have symptoms of nail psoriasis, you should see your doctor immediately. The condition will not get better on its own, and if left untreated, it can cause significant and permanent damage to your nail bed.
If you have any specific questions, please visit or contact our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb.