I have psoriasis that affects my fingernails. What can I do to improve their appearance?

Answer From Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails. Psoriasis symptoms include pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Nails with psoriasis symptoms may become loose and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis). Severe nail psoriasis may cause the nail to crumble.

Talk with your doctor about steps you can take to improve the appearance of your nails. He or she may prescribe a prescription cream or ointment or administer medicine by injection, so that it gets through the nail.

For nail psoriasis that doesn't respond to initial treatment, your doctor may suggest a drug that affects the whole body (systemic therapy). Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of these types of treatment.

Also, consider taking these steps at home to help make your nails stronger:

  • Treat your nails gently. For example, wear gloves when handling cleaning products.
  • Use moisturizer on your nails and cuticles daily.
  • Trim your nails regularly.
  • Keep your nails clean and dry.
  • Don't bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles.
  • If you have a hangnail, clip it off.
Aug. 24, 2019 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. 6 ways to manage itchy skin when you have psoriasis
  2. Arthritis
  3. Arthritis pain: Do's and don'ts
  4. Botox injections: Can they relieve arthritis pain?
  5. Can arthritis pain medications be harmful?
  6. Chapped lips: What's the best remedy?
  7. Dry skin
  8. Ease stress to reduce your psoriasis flares
  9. Exercising with arthritis
  10. Ground flaxseed
  11. Gluten sensitivity and psoriasis: What's the connection?
  12. How to heal cracked heels
  13. How to heal cracked skin at thumb tip
  14. Living better with psoriasis
  15. Psoriasis-related health risks
  16. Mayo Clinic Minute: Fingernails are clues to your health
  17. Mayo Clinic Minute: Moisturizer tips from a dermatologist
  18. Moisturizers: Options for softer skin
  19. MSM for arthritis pain: Is it safe?
  20. Photodynamic therapy
  21. Prednisone risks, benefits
  22. Pregnancy and breast-feeding with psoriasis
  23. Psoriasis
  24. Psoriasis and clinical trials
  25. Psoriasis and intimacy
  26. Psoriasis and your self-esteem
  27. Psoriasis diet: Can changing your diet treat psoriasis?
  28. Identifying psoriasis triggers
  29. Psoriasis: Get the most out of your treatment
  30. Psoriasis: How can I protect my skin during a workout?
  31. Fish oil supplements
  32. Psoriasis treatment options
  33. Psoriasis: What if I get psoriatic arthritis, too?
  34. Psoriasis: What to share with your doctor
  35. Relaxation techniques
  36. Scalp psoriasis vs. seborrheic dermatitis
  37. Self-esteem check
  38. Skin biopsy
  39. Skin care tips
  40. Skip flavored lip balm
  41. How to trim thickened toenails
  42. Slide show: 5 ways to thrive with psoriasis through the holidays
  43. Slide show: Caring for your skin when you have psoriasis
  44. Hand exercises for people with arthritis
  45. Joint protection
  46. Types of psoriasis
  47. Common skin rashes
  48. Stress management
  49. Time your lotions right
  50. Ward off dry skin
  51. Water exercise
  52. Alternative psoriasis treatments
  53. What are the risks of vaccinations for people living with psoriasis?
  54. What's the best way to manage scalp psoriasis?
  55. White patch on skin: A cause for concern?
  56. Yucca: Can it relieve arthritis pain?