Although most people think of psoriasis as a disease affecting the skin, half of those afflicted by this condition also find it on the nails. According to the Psoriasis Association, the percentage for developing psoriasis on the nails is even higher for those living with psoriatic arthritis - 80%. It is also possible to have psoriasis on the nails without having it anywhere else on the skin, which is when it often can be misdiagnosed as a fungal infection.
Nail psoriasis may at times be very distressing since many feel shame and avoid their hands from being seen by others by covering up or hiding. If you experience psoriatic nail disease, you might notice a number of changes to your nails. These changes may be very mild, and won't necessarily require treatment, or they may be more severe and cause discomfort, where psoriasis treatment will be needed. For some reason, this skin disease tends to affect the fingernails more than the toenails.
Nail changes might include discolouration of the nail, or the appearance of small marks, or pits, on the nail's surface. Some people find that the nail may become detached from the nail bed, and a gap develops under the nail. A chalk-like substance may also develop under the nail, which raises the surface, making the area tender. Nail infections and fungal infections are also common with this skin disease.
What do I do if I have nail psoriasis?
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to keep your nails in good condition and prevent problems relating to psoriatic nail disease from occurring or worsening.
If you only experience mild symptoms or a small amount of pitting, nail varnish can help to cover problems up. In many cases, you might not even need any treatment, besides a standard care, such as keeping nails trimmed, clean and dry. If you do manual work, gardening or cleaning, remember wear gloves to avoid dirt from entering the nail.
Be wary of using varnishes or removers containing strong chemicals, as these may damage the nail. The use of false nails is not recommended, however, if it is desired, opt for clip-on nails, as they are milder on the nail if applied gently. A manicure close to the base of the nail should be avoided, due to the risks of infection.
Among other treatments, creams and topical steroids can be applied or injected into the nails to improve specific symptoms, and if you experience an infection, these may contain antifungal agents. You can also try Naloc Nail Treatment that is developed specifically for discoloured and deformed nails resulting from psoriasis.
Light therapy is also often used, and Vitamin D-based treatments can be useful for nail psoriasis.
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