6 Nails Symptoms That Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Nails can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside one’s body. They can be markers for anything from cancer to anemia. Keeping an eye on your nails can be crucial to your well being. Here are six signs that you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to your nails.
1. BROWN VERTICAL STRIPE ON THE NAIL
A brown vertical line on the nail may be a sign of a melanoma. Most melanomas don’t occur in the nail except for about 1 percent in Caucasians and in African Americans it jumps to abut 20 percent. Certain medications can possibly cause a darkening line on the nail, but it is very dark or brown and reaches from one end to the cuticle. It this is the case, go have it checked out.
2. BRITTLE NAILS
Brittle nails can result due to a nutrient deficiency in your diet or a chemical your hands are exposed to. Often times malnutrition plays a huge role in brittle nails as well as iron-deficient anemia and thyroid disease. Nails grow from underneath the skin at what’s called the matrix and progress out towards the fingertip. Keratin is what your nails are made of which is a protein, not the commonly mistaken calcium. People often take calcium to try and make their nails grow longer and stronger, however, that’s not going to help one bit. Calcium will make your bones stornger but if it's nail strength you're after, make sure you are eating a well balanced diet with lots of protein.
Brittle Nail Patient of Dr. Phoebe Rich's
3. RIDGES ON NAILS
Vertical ridges on the nails are common, especially as you get older. When deep horizontal lines are present, those are called Beau’s line, and more concerning. Beau’s lines are indications that something has cause the nail to stop growing such as trauma, a blood transfusion, car accident, chemotherapy or stress. If the vertical ridges are truly bothersome you can use a ridge filer to help cover them up, just don’t use a buffer. If the horizontal lines continue to deepen and you're concerned always reach out to your doctor.
4. SMALL WHITE SPOTS ON NAILS
White spots on a nails are called punctate leukonychia. They are formed due to a trauma that was present while the nail was trying to form. Many people think it’s a vitamin deficiency however they purely form due to a minor trauma. On average it takes nails about 6 months to grow out, so as time goes on the white spots will grow out as well.
5. YELLOW NAILS
Excessive yellow nails may be associated with lung disease. It’s called yellow nail syndrome. It is a very rare disease that results in chronic infection and inflammation of the main air passages. Yellow nails, especially on the feet, can be a result of fungus. Either way have it checked out by your doctor.
Patient with Yellow Nail Syndrome
6. INFECTED, INFLAMED SKIN AROUND THE NAIL
Inflamed, infected and reddened skin around the nail is called paronychia. It is the cause of the cuticle being pushed back, which really shouldn’t happen. It is a common practice among nails salons and the like however, when the cuticle gets pushed back it allows for bacteria, fungus, yeast and mold to get underneath causing an infection. If it does become inflamed and painful, you should soak it in hot water for two or three times a day. If it does not seem to get better, than you should contact your doctor and oral antibiotics might be prescribed. The best way to prevent this is to use a sharp tool if the cuticle is too long or gets snagged and needs to be cut. You can also use a gentle towel after showering to massage the cuticle to get rid of any dead cells.
This is not a complere list of concerning nail symptoms however, they are the ones that you should be aware of and knowledgeable if they should be looked at by a doctor right away or if it can wait. As always feel free to leave a cmment below with any questions, we love to hear form you!
Tips for Healthy Holiday Nails
By Dr. Phoebe Rich
Everyone would like to have beautiful festive nails around the holiday season. As we enter the season of orange pumpkins, red and yellow turkey feathers, and green Christmas trees, the creative nail options are endless. How do you limit the damage done to your nails among all the hustle and bustle though? It is possible to be festive and still keep your nails healthy! Here are some tips to protect your nails during this holiday season:
1. Wear gloves outdoors in cold weather to minimize excessive exposure of your nails to the harsh elements of winter. The winter is generally hard on nails. Cold and dry climates tend to make the nail more brittle and subject to breaking.
2. To help protect your nails, moisturize them along with your hands. Use a heavy moisturizer on your nails several times a day to help protect them. Try to keep the moisturizer on your skin and reapply after washing your hands.
3. Limit polish changes to no less than 10 days. It is tempting to change your polish frequently to match your holiday outfits. Removing and reapplying nail polish too often subjects your nails to dehydration and its associated problems. Using a light or translucent nail color allows for touch ups of nicks and chips without full removal which extends the duration of your pretty nails.
4. Salon nail finishes are fine, however, try to avoid any filing or buffing of the surface of the nail plate. This removes a layer of nail cells and ultimately results in a thinned nail plate over the 6 months that it takes to grow a fingernail from the cuticle to the free edge of the nail.
5. Keep nails a bit shorter in the winter to minimize breakage.
6. Most people think that they want hard nails, but hard nails are actually brittle and fragile. Strong and flexible nails on the other hand, are more desirable. Hydration of the nails is what allows it to flex rather than break. Keeping the nail moisturized will minimize the dryness and fragility that is seen more often in winter. Overall, nails grow slower in the winter than in the summer, so it takes longer for the nail to replace damaged nail tips with healthy regrowth.
7. Eat healthy and get your protein! Nails are made of keratin which requires amino acids derived from dietary protein. It’s easy to indulge in sweet holiday treats at the expense of a balanced diet during the holidays. Try to maintain a healthy diet with adequate protein during the holiday season to keep your nails strong and healthy.
8. Make a New Year’s resolution to wear gloves for all your cleaning and household chores, especially those involving wet products, to protect your nails (and hands). Hands may become chapped due to excessive hand-washing, cold and dry air, or overexposure to heat. Although nails do not become chapped, these same conditions that cause chapped hands in the winter will impact the health of nails.
Follow these 8 tips to healthy nails during the holiday season and you’ll be sure to dazzle all of your friends and guests at your next holiday party.
Meet Our New Provider: Dr. Anna Hare
We are very excited to announce that Dr. Anna Hare is joining Oregon Dermatology and Research Center and Phoebe Rich Dermatology as a provider. She will be involved with both the clinic and clinical trials.
Dr. Hare will be joining our practice to assist Dr. Rich, Dr. Moore, and Amy Simpson, PA-C with expanding our patient base as well as helping with several clinical trials. Dr. Hare attended college and graduate school studying Earth Systems and Human Biology at Stanford University, where she played Division 1 soccer, and later, Ultimate Frisbee. She attended medical school at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her internship in internal medicine at Providence Portland Medical Center and finished her 3-year Dermatology Residency at OHSU this past June.
Prior to medical school, Dr. Hare worked as a medical assistant with Dr. Rich, at an environmental non-profit in Washington D.C., and on HIV research in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an interest that she continued in medical school working in Durban, South Africa at McCord Hospital. In her free time, Dr. Hare enjoys gardening, traveling, and being active outdoors. Depending on the season, you may find her skiing, biking, kiteboarding, or hiking with her rescue dog, Rue.
Dr. Hare is currently accepting patients!
Psoriasis of the Nails
Content from presentations and scholarly articles by Dr. Phoebe Rich
Nail psoriasis occurs in up to 80% of patients with plaque psoriasis and is more prevalent in patients with psoriatic arthritis. Nail psoriasis is far more than just a cosmetic problem. Psoriasis of the fingernails is psychologically distressing and can cause pain, functional deficits in fine motor manipulation of small objects, and when toenails are involved, can cause difficulty with ambulation. Although nail psoriasis can be extensively destructive to the nail plate, it is a non-scarring process. If treated effectively, nails with psoriasis can return to a normal or close to normal condition. Nail psoriasis takes a vast toll on patients, but with treatment and hopefully clearing of nail psoriasis quality of life can greatly increase.
There are a few key factors by which the disease is characterized. Pitting is a common factor in which the keratin of the nail loses cells and it starts to form pits in the fingernail or toenail. It can range anywhere from one pit to a dozen from patient to patient. Oil drop discoloration is when it looks like there is a drop of oil under the nail-bed. It may range from yellow-red to a yellow-brown in color. The nails start to turn white when crumbling starts to occur. When the nail starts to lift away from the bed on either the fingers or toes, it's called onycholysis. Other characterizations include subungual hyperkeratosis and splinter hemorrhages.
"50% of people with Psoriasis have the disease on their nails, but only 5% have it limited to their nails"
Nail psoriasis is diagnosed by having also toe nail fungus, Reiters', parakeratosis pustulosa, subungual hyperkeratosis or fingertip eczema with subungual hyperkeratosis and onycholysis. Some secondary effects might also occur sych as fungus. Sometimes psoriasis is secondarily infected with yeast or dermatophytes. The fungus can add to the Koebner reaction. The doctor will do a KoH test or culture on the nail and view it under the microscope to classify it.
There are many options for treating nail psoriasis. Topicals, injectable medications, oral meds and physical modalities such as PUVA light therapy and Grenz Ray are among the treatments. Clinical features of psoriasis are in a site on the nail remote from where the pathology resides however. Challenges arise from the fact that the nail plate prevents the delivery of medication to the site of the pathology. Drugs only work when they can get to where they need to go. If medications don't work then many patients choose to camouflauge or simply try to cover it up.
When trying to cover up nail psoriasis, be cautious about potential koebner reactions. If one does choose to go this route avoid anything irritating or potential allergies. Just as nail cosmetics can sometimes cause trouble in non psoriatic nails, the same is true in psoriatic. Millions of women use nail cosmetics with absolutely no adverse events pertaining to their psoriasis.
GET A SUPPORT SYSTEM!
It is important to have a supposrt system with any disease. Optimism and encouragment can go a long way. There is constantly new research being done and possible trials to get involved with.
The Oregon Dermatology and Research Center is a proud supporter of the National Psoriasis Foundation. They are a great resource for individuals and families to find support in the community, events, ways to get involved and lots of education for both adults and children alike.
All Things Derm, All the Time!
Whether you are an existing patient or searching for a dermatologist in the Portland, OR area, we’re excited you are here. With the dermatology industry advancing, we recognize the importance of keeping our patients and visitors up to date with all of the new and exciting things taking place in our practice.
We hope to promote skin health awareness as a vital part of your healthy lifestyle. Here you will find a variety of articles and topics including dermatology news, advancement in treatments, practical skin care advice, dermatological disease education and updates from our practice.
We hope you find All Things Derm, All the Time, to be helpful, engaging, and informational to ensure your best skin health.
As always, feel free to contact Oregon Dermatology & Research Center with any questions or concerns.
-- The Team at Oregon Dermatology & Research Center
Join us as we continuously share our knowledge of new treatments and skin care advice on the blog or on any of our
social media platforms @PhoebeRichDerm.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.