Psoriasis simply refers to a long-term disorder that is associated with the scaling of the skin. Normally, it manifests itself in form of scaly, raised, red patches that are popularly called plaques. This condition can affect any part of the skin. The most vulnerable areas are the scalp, knees, elbows, and nails. With that said, nail psoriasis is the scaling of toenails and fingernails. This is the most prevailing form of psoriasis. Statistics suggest that 50% of patients have psoriasis of the nails, and 80% of those suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Fingernails are the most involved as far as psoriasis on the nails is concerned.
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Causes and Changes of Nail Pitting Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not a contagious disease. Therefore, the cause of the formation of psoriasis on the nails is not clearly known. From a medical point of view, the condition is attributed to environmental, immunologic, and inherited risk factors. Research states that psoriasis is a genetic disease, which can be passed to a sibling. The risk of inheriting the ailment increases if both parents are susceptible to psoriasis. The nails are part and parcel of the skin. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that the nails are affected. The genetic factor is arguable. In fact, no one has any idea why some get it and others don’t.
Unlike other forms of psoriasis, there are considerable and conceivable changes brought by nail psoriasis. The first and most notable change is nail pitting. In this case, the surface of the nails forms small pits that resemble a thimble’s surface. The number of the pits does usually vary from a single pit to a dozen. The second change is Onycholysis. At this stage, the nail separates from the nail bed, developing a gap. It starts as a yellowish or whitish cover at the nail tip, which normally goes down to the cuticle. You can best understand this from nail psoriasis pictures.
Nail Psoriasis Pictures
The patient may not be able to notice this change until during diagnosis
How to Treat Nail Psoriasis Naturally
Psoriasis of the nails is probably the most challenging form of psoriasis to treat. Many treatments have been used and documented, but conclusive results have not been achieved yet. Therefore, the first nail psoriasis treatment to consider should be non-medical/ natural approaches of caring for your nails. Here are a few things you can do:
- Make sure you nails are short. It may seem simple and unnecessary, but a very strategic way of approaching the condition. Have you nails trimmed to the skin, and file them properly.
- Avoid using sharp objects when removing debris from the inside of the nail. Sharp objects aggravate Onycholysis in addition to making things worse. If you must remove the dirt, then it is wise to soak them in lukewarm soapy water for a few minutes. This should effortlessly get rid of the debris.
- Take considerable steps to protect your ailing nails from further damage, since any form of damage can worsen the condition. If at all possible, wear gloves to safeguard your nails from dirt and any unforeseen damage.
- Try applying emollient oils or any other moisturizer into the nails to alleviate the symptoms.
- Vitamin E is effective in the treatment of nail changes, such as discoloration. A few studies have recorded that high doses are effective in some people. Topical application of Vitamin E oil twice daily for a prolonged duration can present noticeable results.
- Silicon is also considered an essential trace mineral that is important to healthy skin and bones. It helps in the formation of collagen. Collagen is a basic for strength as well as development of skeletal along with epithelial connective tissues.
How to Treat Nail Psoriasis Medically
The most popular medical nail psoriasis treatment is the use of topical steroids. As far as topical steroids are concerned, you are supposed to massage a steroid ointment into the nail plate. The risk associated with this treatment is the thinning of the cuticle because of the fine blood vessels. Also, results are not consistent. Steroids can be injected under the nails. This method is normally painful and the doctor may be required to inject you with a local anesthetic prior to the procedure. Not highly recommended, though.
Nail removal is the next medical approach. The most painlessly way of removing damaged nails involves a number of things. To begin with, the nails have to be applied with urea (high concentration). What happens is that the nails will loosen up and they can effortlessly be unwrapped off. Your physician can use surgery or X-ray to remove the nails. The only problem with this method is that the nails may regrow deformed.
The next medical treatment for nail pitting psoriasis is systemic treatment. This option is considered when the condition has worsened. Usually, the patient will have difficulty using his or her feet and hands. The patient may be completely unable to walk or using the hands to do anything productive.
Most people tend to do the wrong thing because of lack of knowledge. This is a common scenario with nail care, especially debris removal under the nail. Patient education is very important in the management of psoriasis of the nails. It is crucial you know how to avoid poor nail care steps that may lead to isomorphic reaction.
You need to learn how to avoid simple nail trauma that can significantly worsen the condition by wearing protective gloves when doing household errands. You need to know the type of glove material that will not unintentionally cause further damage to the nails. You should learn how to avoid excessive of the following nail care activities: buffing, filing, picking, and grooming. Women usually tend to be too clever by hiding the symptoms with nail polish. However, nail polishes are known to have negative effects on the ailing nails.
As a patient, you need to learn the process of nail improvement, and how long it takes to achieve the desired results. A number of studies suggest that positive nail improvement after commencing of treatment is approximately 12 weeks.
Psoriasis of the nails can also be a cosmetic problem, which can be natural or caused by your excessive use of beauty products. The biggest mistake you can make is disguising the ailment as well as avoiding all the activities that may reveal your condition. If your fingers are ugly, you should not feel shy, lack confidence, isolate yourself from your friends, or become anxious. The best thing to do is to always seek for solutions; you can try out the natural remedies or consult your physician.