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Can Eczema Affect Your Fingernails? What You Need to Know

April 5, 2023

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If you’ve ever experienced atopic dermatitis or eczema, then you know that it can be a very uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing condition. But did you know that atopic dermatitis can also affect your fingernails? It’s true – nail eczema is a common problem for those who suffer from atopic dermatitis.In this blog post, we will discuss what eczema is and how it affects the nails. We will also look at eczema-related nail dystrophy and nail abnormalities as well as the treatments available. Finally, we’ll introduce you to Medovie Skincare, which is suited for people with atopic dermatitis-prone skin who are at risk of developing nail eczema. So let’s get started!

Let’s Talk About Our Nails

The nails are composed of hard, keratinized material and are located on the top of the fingertips and toes. Our nails are vital in protecting the delicate tips of our nails and toes, safeguarding them from harm. It is an essential component of our body, and it’s made up of the nail plate, which is the portion of the nail that is visible; the nail bed, and the underlying nail matrix, where nail growth occurs.

Nails can suffer from pitting, thickening, separation, brittleness, and dystrophy depending on the condition. Pitting occurs when the nail plate has small grooves or dots due to disturbances in the growth of the underlying matrix; this pitting is often seen in psoriasis. Thickening of nails is usually caused by a fungal infection that can spread to other parts of the body; it may also be a sign of inflammatory arthritis. The separation between the nail plate and the nail bed can be caused by physical trauma or some skin diseases like eczema. In contrast, brittleness could be a sign of old age or iron deficiency anemia. Lastly, dystrophy manifests as pitting but without any underlying causes such as infection or systemic conditions – often young children are affected by this condition.

Thus, it is vital for good nail health to maintain proper hygiene and nutrition habits to avoid any issues related to the nails and its structure.

What Is Eczema?

According to the National Eczema Association, eczema is a common skin condition that can cause itchiness, dryness, rashes, and scaly or blistery skin patches. In total, there are seven types of this common skin disease: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, neurodermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. Itchy skin is the most prevalent symptom experienced by those who suffer from this condition.

What is Atopic Eczema?

Atopic eczema, mostly referred to as atopic dermatitis, is the most common type of eczema that results in an itchy rash. Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema can appear anywhere on the body but is most common on the face, elbows, and knees. While eczema is most commonly found on the skin’s surface, it can also affect fingernails and toenails.

Although the source of eczema is not certain, research indicates that it could be a mix of hereditary and environmental elements. People with eczema are often more sensitive to environmental irritants and have a weakened skin barrier, making it easier for moisture to escape and irritants to penetrate the skin.

What Is Nail Eczema?

Nail eczema is a form of eczema where rashes appear not only on the skin but also around fingernails and toenails. Fingernail and toenail eczema often serve as a warning sign that someone who has it may also have other patches of skin inflammation elsewhere on their body. People with hand or foot eczema have higher rates of nail changes, based on a study.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nail Eczema?

Nail eczema is a skin condition that affects the fingernails and toenails. Some of the common symptoms associated with nail eczema include ridging, a process in which ridges form on the surface of the nail bed, as well as pitting, which is when small holes appear on the surfaces of nails. In more severe cases, this type of eczema can also result in nail shedding and damage to the nail plate.

What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema (Pompholyx)?

When eczema affects the hands and feet, it’s called Dyshidrotic eczema or Pompholyx. Dyshidrotic eczema or Pompholyx is characterized by small, fluid-filled blisters on the palms, fingers, and soles of the feet. In some cases, these blisters can also affect the nails, causing them to become thick and discolored.

Individuals with persistent dyshidrotic eczema may experience nail changes such as the appearance of pits, ridges, thickening, and discoloration as depicted.

Dyshidrotic eczema may seem like allergic contact dermatitis, however, the latter is more likely to affect the tops of hands rather than the palms. Treatment typically consists of topical corticosteroids and moisturizers for acute atopic dermatitis; but unfortunately, even with proper therapy this skin disorder can still be stubbornly persistent.

Fig. 1. How hand eczema (Pompholyx) looks like.
Fig. 1. How hand eczema (Pompholyx) looks like.

How Can Eczema Affect Your Fingernails?

Having eczema can cause several issues with the fingernails. Eczema can affect the fingernails in several ways:

  • Nail pitting: Eczema can cause small dents or pits in the nails, making them appear rough and bumpy.
  • Nail thickening: The nails may also thicken due to nail eczema, resulting in discoloration such as yellow, white, or brown.
  • Nail separation: Another concern for those with eczematous fingernails is separation from the nail bed which can lead to the development of ridges and deformities.
  • Nail brittleness: Nail eczema can also cause the nails to become brittle and fragile, leading to easy breakage.
  • Nail dystrophy: Nail dystrophy refers to a change in the nail’s normal structure and appearance and can be caused by eczema.

It is uncommon for eczema or even nail psoriasis to cause the toenail to loosen, but it can lead to other issues such as crumbling nails.

Close- up of bitten and brittle nails without manicure. Overgrown cuticle fingernails and tainted nail plate. Cuticle overgrown nails and damaged nail plate. Concept of nail care and health.
Fig. 2. Nail brittleness is just one of the ways that eczema can affect the fingernails.

Nail Eczema: Diagnosis and Treatment

Thankfully, eczema isn’t contagious and there are treatments available for those who suffer from nail eczema to help reduce the discomfort and symptoms associated with it.

Diagnosing and treating nail eczema can be a challenging process. To differentiate it from other skin conditions such as psoriasis of the nails, your dermatologist may perform allergy testing or tests of collected clippings to rule out fungal infection. To protect against irritation due to water contact, they may recommend wearing rubber gloves while also moisturizing regularly with topical steroids if needed.

Treatments For Severe Pompholyx

In severe pompholyx eczema, the dermatologist can recommend treatments to diagnose contact allergy by patch testing. Treatment may also involve short courses in immunosuppressant drugs. Toctinoin (aka Alitretinoin) is an oral medication approved for the prevention of chronic hand eczema (including pompholyx) without a prescription for topical sterol therapy. Alitretinoin reduces swelling in eczema and dampens immune reactions. These are capsules taken by mouth once daily and served at meals for 12-24 weeks, depending upon what conditions are treated.

What Is Nail Dystrophy And How Does It Relate To Eczema?

Do you suffer from malformed, discolored nails? You may be experiencing nail dystrophy. This condition can arise due to underlying diseases or an injury that affects the nail matrix, nail bed, or tissue near your fingernails.

Nail dystrophy can cause a variety of symptoms depending on where it occurs in the nail. In a study, the most common nail symptom was Beau’s lines, which appear as horizontal or transverse depressions across the underneath surface of one or more affected nails due to decreased proximal matrix function.

Eczematous changes in the nail matrix can lead to various symptoms such as pitting, trachyonychia, transverse grooves (Beau’s Lines), clubbing, yellow nail syndrome, and splinter hemorrhage, among others.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nail Dystrophy In People With Eczema?

The symptoms associated with nail dystrophy range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in color, texture, shape, and thickness of nails due to damage done by the immune system
  • Pain and swelling in the nail bed
  • Peeling nails that may develop a ridge pattern on top
  • White spots or yellowish discoloration of the nails due to an accumulation of debris underneath them

Diagnosing And Treating Nail Dystrophy

If you suspect you may have nail dystrophy, your doctor will perform a physical examination to check for signs of infection. They may also take a sample of your nail tissue for further testing. Treatment options for nail dystrophy vary depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor may prescribe topical or oral medications to help reduce inflammation, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. In some cases, surgery might be necessary to treat nail dystrophy, but there are also ways to manage nail dystrophy symptoms at home.

If you’re suffering from eczema-related nail dystrophy, it’s important to consult with your doctor to discuss possible treatment options.

Medovie for Eczema-Prone Skin

If you’re looking for a natural skin care solution to help manage irritated skin conditions that may be affecting your hands and nails, Medovie is the right choice for you. Medovie is a natural skin care company devoted to providing safe, effective, and proven science-based products to help people with irritated skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dryness.

Our groundbreaking 3HX™ formula works internally and externally to reduce irritation and balance the immune system’s response for long-term skin health. Our products are made with natural and active ingredients for maximum efficacy and comfort. With Medovie, you can take control of your irritated skin condition and start enjoying healthy skin (and nails!) again.

Allow your skin the time it needs to heal with our natural products. Our special 3HX Formula will get you on the path toward managing your skin condition– many of our customers begin seeing and feeling a difference in as little as four weeks! 

Try Medovie today, the breakthrough skincare solution for people with dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis.

Fig. 3. Medovie, the breakthrough skincare solution for people with dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis.
Fig. 3. Medovie, the breakthrough skincare solution for people with dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis.

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