Everything You Should Know About Psoriasis of the Nails

What is psoriasis of the nails?
Fingernail and toenail abnormalities are indicative of the autoimmune condition known as nail psoriasis. Discoloration, pitting, and structural abnormalities to the nails are all symptoms of this condition. The illness can get better with the right treatment, and the disorder is not communicable.

Regardless of any prior circumstances, anyone can get nail psoriasis. However, you have a higher chance of getting this disease if:

  • You are past the age of forty.
  • Due to a family history, you are genetically predisposed to developing psoriasis.
  • Psoriatic arthritis affects you.

Symptoms of nail psoriasis

It is important to be able to identify nail psoriasis symptoms, so you can start the treatment as early as possible. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Pitting: If you observe any dents or pits on your nail, it could be nail psoriasis. The pits can be extremely small (0.4 mm) or larger (2 mm). You can also have any number of pits on the nails.
  • Discolouration: In cases of nail psoriasis, the nail bed changes colour. The patches, also called oil drop spots or salmon patches, appear red, pink, yellow or brown. 

Nail structure: A nail psoriasis symptom can be changed in the nail structure. The nails might become extremely thin and crumble. Grooves might develop horizontally across the nails. In some cases of nail psoriasis, nail fungus might develop.

In some cases, the discomfort and tenderness might affect the ability to walk or stand and/or use the hands. 

Prevention of nail psoriasis

Maintaining personal hygiene is a good way to prevent the occurrence of nail psoriasis.

  • Always keep the nails short.
  • Use a nail file to smoothen the edges of the nail.
  • Wear gloves while handling chemicals like washing dishes and washing clothes.
  • Moisturise the hands, cuticles and nails every day.
  • Wear comfortable and roomy shoes. 

Causes of nail psoriasis

There are no specific nail psoriasis causes as this is an autoimmune disorder. For healthy people, new skin cells grow every 28 to 30 days. For people with nail psoriasis, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days and when it moves to the skin surface, it creates a skin rash

If someone has skin psoriasis, they may also have nail psoriasis. 

Nail psoriasis treatment

If you suspect you have nail psoriasis, contact your healthcare provider. This disorder might not be curable by most treatment plans. Some nail psoriasis treatment options are:

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are an effective nail psoriasis treatment and they can be in the form of an ointment, cream or nail polish. The medication must reach the nail bed and the area of the finger from where the nail starts to grow.

The medication has to be applied twice a day and it will take about 4 to 6 months to see any noticeable improvements.

  • Oral medicines: A nail psoriasis treatment for more serious cases, there are some liquid medicines and tablets. These medicines are methotrexate, apremilast and cyclosporine.
  • Injections: Another treatment plan is the use of injections. A thin needle is used to inject medicines like adalimumab, ustekinumab and etanercept into the skin around the nails.
  • Phototherapy: This treatment for nail psoriasis uses ultraviolet light from special lamps. These rays are used in combination with a drug called psoralen.
  • Laser therapy: Laser therapy treatment involves the use of a pulsed dye laser that targets the blood vessels under the nails, reducing the severity of the disorder. This nail psoriasis treatment occurs once every 6 months. 

If you have nail psoriasis, you might feel self-conscious about your nails. In this case, you can apply nail polish or lightly buff the nails. But avoid fake nails, as they can make the situation worse and further damage the nail bed.

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