Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. An estimated half of people with psoriasis also experience changes that affect their nails. This is referred to as psoriatic nail disease. Psoriatic nail disease can look different from person to person and its severity also varies.
In mild cases of psoriasis affecting the nails, treatment is generally not necessary. More severe cases of nail psoriasis is usually hard to treat however there are modern treatments available that can be effective. Any one suffering from severe nail psoriasis can experience much discomfort and distress without effective treatment.
So What is Psoriatic Nail Disease?
When psoriasis is mentioned, most people just think about inflamed skin with red raised patches with silver-like scales. Not many people are aware that psoriasis actually can affect the fingernails and toenails. So what are the changes that can happen when you have psoriatic nail disease?
Nail Psoriasis and Its Effects on the Nails
Here are some changes that can occur on your nails when you have nail psoriasis
- Nail pitting – Small pits can start appearing on the nail surface. A nail can either have one pit or multiple pits.
- Onycholysis – This simply refers to the separation of the nail plate from the skin underneath it or the nail bed. At first, onycholysis looks like a patch having a white or yellow color at the tip of the nail. In time, the patch gets bigger and gets to the base of the nail. The space between the nail and the skin underneath it can get infected and start changing color.
- Subungual hyperkeratosis – This simply refers to the build-up of a chalk-like material under the nail. The nail then becomes raised and often times become tender.
- Color Change – The nail can also start changing color. Often the nail turns yellow-brown.
- Fungal Nail Infections – Psoriatic nail disease can cause fungal nail infections which can lead to the thickening of the nails.
The appearance of the affected nails is usually used to diagnose nail psoriasis. In some cases a nail biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. If you are suffering from nail psoriasis here are some nail care tips to keep in mind.
Nail Care Tips for Nail Psoriasis
- See to it that you keep your fingernails and toenails short.
- Keep them dry.
- It is recommended that you wear a pair of gloves when doing any manual work.
- You should avoid getting the base of your nails manicured as this can cause infection.
- Avoid wearing artificial nails.
- You may apply a nail varnish to cover up nail pitting. However, you should always opt for an acetone-free nail varnish as acetone can easily damage your nails.
- Consult a podiatrist should your toenail psoriasis becomes painful.
Proper nail care is crucial in managing psoriasis nail disease. If you are suffering from nail psoriasis, set an appointment with your doctor to get treatment and further advice on proper nail care.