Are you tired of discolored and deformed nails?
If you are nodding your heads in affirmation, then be mindful that the tiny pits on fingernails or toenails can be an indication of eczema, psoriasis, or joint inflammation.
We all want our nails to look good and well-trimmed, but the discolouration, abnormal growth, fungus, dents on them and thickness makes us uncomfortable.
How to identify nail pitting?
Healthy nails are always smooth and have a consistent colour. Whereas nail abnormalities include dark or white streaks, curling or clubbing, thickening or thinning, brittle or pitted nails, bleeding, swelling, or pain around nails. Your nail might look as if they have been hit with an ice pick.
These nail conditions can be the reason of nail pitting. It is more common in fingernails than toenails.
What are the causes of nail pitting?
Psoriasis – almost 50% of patients of psoriasis suffer from nail problems, especially the people who are above 40 years of age.
Psoriasis makes skin cells build rapidly and tends to quickly come and go. It happens everywhere in the body, but most of the time people start noticing a visible change in nails.
Psoriatic Arthritis - it causes joints stiffness, swelling, or pain and inflammation in nail matrix expedites pitting. You can keep a track of psoriatic arthritis by comparing the lengths of dents with healthy nail growth.
Reactive Arthritis - if you are suffering from Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, you can see nail pitting. It happens because of bacterial infection in the intestine, genitals, or urinary tract.
Although Reiter’s syndrome is not common, it is genetic.
Eczema – is another major reason for nail pitting. Nails become rough and uneven. Nails become healthier and come back to their normal shape and colour, as eczema gets better.
Alopecia Areata – It does not only cause hair loss but also makes nails break easily and form pits on them. The nails also turn thin and rough, if alopecia persists for long.
Lichen Planus – causes swelling and itching in hair, nails and mucus membranes. It is usually found in middle-aged people. Hepatitis C, flu shots, and certain drugs may trigger it to the next level.
Incontinentia Pigmenti – this rare genetic condition is also known as Bloch-Sulzberger. People suffering from this disease have different symptoms including short height, fewer or smaller teeth, and eyes smaller than the normal size.
Nail pitting is also common in such cases, but it affects females more than males.
Sarcoidosis - creates little clusters of inflammatory cells within lymph hubs and lungs. If affects the skin and other organs, Nail pitting is rare in sarcoidosis, but it occurs in a few cases.
The other common causes include chemical dermatitis, pemphigus ad trauma.
How is nail pitting diagnosed clinically?
The doctor will take your medical history and conduct a physical inspection. He might also suggest a skin biopsy. He will take a small skin sample, and observe it under a microscope to identify the root cause before suggesting any medication or treatment.
What treatments are available for nail pitting?
If it is mild, and not causing any discomfort, treatment might not be needed. However, it can cause distress.
A skin specialist usually suggests one of the following treatments.
- Antifungal treatment
- Steroid injections
- Nail removal
- Phototherapy or light therapy
The medication generally includes
- Vitamin D3 supplements
- Immunosuppressant medicines
Nail pitting can also be treated cosmetically by scrapping, polishing, or filling.
What are some useful tips to control nail pitting?
You cannot control nail pitting, but you can decrease its risk by following these tips.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Take vitamin b and zinc (lean meat, berries, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds)
- Regularly clip your nails and skip the manicure as it triggers pitting
- Use moisturizer or cream to keep the skin protected
Whether you accept it or not, nail health is a strong indicator of overall wellbeing. It is quite stressful to see nails breaking down, having dents, or getting deformed. It often shows some underlying concerns about your health and the lack of important nutrients in your daily diet.
Fear not, by following this guide you can find a solution to your dreadful nail pitting.
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