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

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