Today, psoriasis is known as a common skin condition experienced by innumerable people worldwide. In the US, about 7 million people suffer from psoriasis and about thousands of cases are diagnosed yearly. Generally, we assume psoriasis to be a skin disorder that leaves patches of raised red skin with silvery scales. But psoriasis not only affects the knees, elbows and scalp, but also affects our nails!
Studies prove that individuals with nail psoriasis also have skin psoriasis. Only about 5% of people with nails psoriasis do not have skin psoriasis.
Causes Of Psoriasis Of Nails:
Psoriasis is not a contagious disease. How does this ungainly skin disorder nails develop is yet to be known. But from what we do know, the following are some of the main reasons of getting nail psoriasis:
- Psoriasis is known to result from a combination of immunological, environmental and genetic factors.
- If an individual has a sibling or a parent with psoriasis, then there is a 16 to 25% chance that she/he’ll too get it at some point.
- If both the parents have psoriasis, then the person has a 75% risk of getting it
Symptoms Of Psoriasis Of Nails:
People who have nail psoriasis often experience skin symptoms. If an individual has nail psoriasis and does not experience skin symptoms, then it might be difficult for the doctor to diagnose the condition.
The following are some of the signs or symptoms of nail psoriasis:
- Clear yellow to reddish nail color, which looks similar to a drop of oil or blood under your nail plate. This condition is known as salmon patch or an oil drop.
- Tiny pits in the nail or pitting of nail matrix. This condition develops when the nails surface loses cells.
- Lines which appear side to side across the nails. This is known as beau lines of the nail.
- Skin getting thick under the nail. The doctors call this thickening as subungual hyperkeratosis. This might lead to weakening of your nails.
- Nail plate with white areas is called as midmatrix or leukonychia disease.
- Crumbling of the nail is another sign of nail psoriasis. The nail becomes weak and brittle.
- Loosening of nail is called onycholysis of the nail hyponychium and nail bed. The nail develops a white area, where the nail gets separated from the skin underneath. The nail bed might get infected too.
- Small black lines appear on the nails. These are called dilated tortuous or hemorrhage capillaries. This occurs when small capillaries in the finger tips bleed between the nail and the skin underneath.
- Redness of the arched area at the bottom of your nails. This condition is known as spotted lunula. When the capillaries underneath the nails are congested, this condition is experienced.
Medications For Nails Psoriasis:
If your doctor diagnoses you with nail psoriasis, he might follow any of the following treatment plans:
- Ointments or creams to be rubbed on and around your nails. They might include topical Vitamin A derivatives, such as tazarotene and Vitamin D derivatives, such as calcitriol drugs. Certain antifungal solutions might also be used if infection is present. Treatments which involve application of medications directly might not be effective, because the application is hindered by the barrier posed by the nail plate.
- Steroids might be injected or applied under the nail. Steroid injections would be more effective than application of steroids in the form of ointments or cream.
- PUVA is a well known therapy used for treating nail psoriasis. It is a combination of psoralen, prescribed medications and exposure to ultraviolet light UVA.
Prevention Of Psoriasis Of Nails:
Nail psoriasis nail depends on a large extent on inherited genes (hereditary), thus prevention of the psoriasis is almost impossible. However, to prevent the eruption of nail psoriasis, it is essential that you keep your nails dry and protect them from any damage.
If you are experiencing nail psoriasis, then the following points can help you keep your nails healthy:
- Always keep your nails dry.
- Keep your finger and toe nails short.
- When doing any manual work, wear gloves to protect your nails.
- Avoid manicuring the base of your nails. Since doing this might result in infection.
- Nail varnish might be used to cover pitting of nails. But avoid varnishes with acetone, since it might cause damage to your nails.
- Do not clean the debris under your nails with any sharp object. This might worsen the condition. You may soak your nails in warm soapy water to remove the debris.
- Rub moisturizers into the nail cuticles or soak the nails in emollient oils to improve the condition.
Like any other visible disease, nail psoriasis too can be a cause of embarrassment. But with proper treatment, you can treat the disease and get back your confidence!
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