Nail Psoriasis Treatment At Home
Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition, and the nail is part of the skin. Sometimes, nail psoriasis is confused with nail fungus. Nail fungus is an infection caused by fungi, while nail psoriasis is not.
Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system that causes changes beneath the skin, though, it appears a skin condition. Nail psoriasis grows from the nail root. It causes thickness of the fingernails, nails lifting from the nail bed, fidges in the nail, and irregular contour on the nail.
People living with nail psoriasis also have skin psoriasis. Only a few people suffer only nail psoriasis, and doctors have issues diagnosing them. Nail psoriasis is not contagious also, but it can be hereditary, just like the skin psoriasis.
Nail psoriasis changes the way your toenail or fingernail looks. They may feel soft or hurt. They may get thick, develop holes, change color, and shape. There is yet to be a cure for psoriasis, but there are healthy lifestyles that can be learned to stay fit while living with either nail or skin psoriasis.
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Differences between nail psoriasis and nail fungus
Their symptoms are quite similar. It’s important to know what you have so you can treat properly.
- Nail psoriasis: the nails yellow or brown.
Nail fungus: the nail color turns dark.
- Nail psoriasis: nails detach from the nail bed and creates a gap that can be infected by bacteria.
Nail fungus: there is progressive distortion in the nail shape.
- Nail psoriasis: you feel pain if there is build up under the nails.
Nail fungus: the odor is unbearable.
- Nail psoriasis: the build-up under the nail causes the nail to lift.
Nail fungus: nail may be brittle and appears dull.
However, nail fungus is not very common. It usually starts with a yellow spot under the nail.
Nail psoriasis, on the other hand, mostly occurs with people who have general psoriasis.
As people suffer nail psoriasis on the finger more than on the toenails, so do people suffer nail fungus on the toenail than on the fingernail. Although, it is possible to suffer both the nail psoriasis and the nail fungus.
In the treatment process, nail psoriasis can be hard to treat; the so-called tropical medication doesn’t always work. Nail fungus can be treated with antifungal agents.
Causes of nail psoriasis
Like skin psoriasis, nail psoriasis is caused by an autoimmune mechanism. The immune system starts regarding normal tissues as harmful, thereby launching an immune assault. When this happens, the skin is usually the primary target; other tissues in the body are affected as well. The inflammation triggers an increase in the production of a cell called ” keratinocytes” in the skin, nails, and in other body tissues. The overproduction of keratinocytes in the nails, both fingernails, and toenails, causes thickening, discoloration, and malfunctioning as the mentioned cell is being produced faster than usual.
The fingernails are more affected than the toenails; this is because they grow faster than the toenails. Nail psoriasis occurs at any age, even to a newborn, although this is rare. Patients with nail psoriasis aggravate the symptoms by trauma.
Symptoms of nail psoriasis
It’s these symptoms that differentiate nail fungus from nail psoriasis, sometimes called ‘nail dystrophy.’ However, they both have similar symptoms.
Nail dystrophy symptoms vary from one person to another and can change as the disease progresses. Among many other signs are:
- The skin under the nail becomes thick. This may be called ‘subungual hyperkeratosis.’
- Nail lifting. The thickness of the skin causes the loosening of the nail. The nail bed (skin under the nail) becomes infected and develops a white area that separates the nail from the skin. It is medically called onycholysis. It starts from the root of the finger to the tip.
- Yellowish red dots under the nails known as salmon patches or oil dot.
- Redness at the bottom of the nail.
- Tiny black lines on the nail, usually from the tip to the cuticle.
- White patches on the nail.
- Crumbling and brittle nails.
Complications of nail psoriasis
You feel high discomfort when you are confronted with this immune dysfunction effect, physically and emotionally. As nail psoriasis is unappealing, it leads to
- Pain and tenderness.
- Psychological distress. The unsightly nature of the fingers can make the patient distressed mentally. The fact that you have to hide your fingers avoid been asked multiple questions on what went wrong, and try to be positive when negativity faces you directly, can make you go crazy.
- Functional disability. Your hands are totally yours. You can hardly hold objects firmly; house chores become a no-no for you. It seems like you are handicapped.
- Secondary bacterial infection, one with nail fungus, could also suffer from nail psoriasis.
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Home remedies for nail psoriasis
Presently, nail psoriasis does not have a cure, though, we treat the nails to make them look presentable and active for use. Unlike nail fungus, that can be cured with antifungal medication.
Basically, home remedies refer to primary care for the nails. There’s no big deal on this therapy, all you need to do is
- Keep your nails short always so they won’t rip off accidentally.
- Wear cotton gloves when working with your hands; you don’t want to sustain an injury on a diseased finger.
- Wear rubber gloves when doing the dishes to avoid soap from entering the nails. The chemicals might be harmful.
- Avoid using sharp objects or nail brush to clean your nails. Your nails can easily separate from the use of those items.
- Always use a moisturizer on your nails and cuticle. This prevents cracked nails.
- Cosmetic treatment like nail filing and polish can improve the appearance of the nails while they heal.
Home remedies are basically prevention techniques. They disallow the symptoms from getting severe and incurable, even though it’s incurable. However, there are medical treatments to nail dystrophy. The same treatment you get for skin psoriasis is the same you get for nails dystrophy.
The treatment includes:
- Phototherapy. Ultraviolet light is used to treat skin psoriasis; the same goes for nail dystrophy. This treatment is not done at home but at the hospital.
- Steroids. Corticosteroid injections are applied under the nail every 2-9 months. Usually painful, pain can be suppressed by numbing the area or using a never block.
- Medicines can be applied directly to your nails. The medicines are called tropical drugs. For nail psoriasis, corticosteroids like clobetasol, vitamin D, or retinoid creams can be applied or rubbed into the nails and cuticle.
If your nails are already thick, you can use ointments that contain urea to make them thin because the medicine will hardly get into the skin beneath your nails.
- Drugs that target specific parts of your immune system. These are called biologics. They are usually in some kinds of injections that are under the skin.
- Medicines that work throughout your body. Doctors call this systemic medication. It is used when other aforementioned methods did not work. We have medicines like Acitetrine, cyclosporine, Apremilast, Methotrexate.
With all these treatments and preventive measures, you just have to be patient as nails grow slowly. It may take a long time to see the result of treatment. Also, avoidance of trauma is essential in the healing process.
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