You may have treated skin problems at home before, but what about nail problems? Here are a few common nail abnormalities you might see and their recommended treatment methods.
Nail fungus is one of the most common nail issues. When this issue pops up, it's usually on the toenails. Symptoms to look out for include thick, discolored, or crumbly nails. Fortunately, you can treat this issue right at home, though it may help to receive a diagnosis first. One of the most effective treatment methods for nail fungus is tea tree oil. In fact, it's been proven almost as effective as prescription antifungal medication in some cases. There is also the option of an antifungal powder that absorbs moisture to help prevent nail fungus. Powders like this can be found at your local pharmacy.
Brittle or peeling nails are most often a sign of a nutritional issue. In this case, there may be a lack of essential fatty acids in your diet. As you might have already guessed, some changes to your food intake can help solve this problem right at home. If you're noticing peeling nails, try adding fatty fish, flaxseed, or flaxseed oil to your diet more regularly. Sprinkling ground flaxseeds on your morning oatmeal or taking flaxseed oil supplements are both easy ways to accomplish this.
White spots on your nails are another common nail issue. Fortunately, these little spots are typically the result of trauma to your nails. Most often this is a result of bumping your nails into a hard surface. While the simplest treatment is to avoid hitting things with your nails, there are over-the-counter nail strengthening serums that can help you avoid those pesky white spots. It should also be noted that excessive nail polish use can weaken the nails, so don't forget to let your fingernails breathe every once in a while!
Vertical ridges in fingernails are fairly common and usually aren't a cause for fear. Slight vertical ridges may occur in older adults as a result of slower cell turnover. In younger adults, vertical ridges are often a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Anemia can also cause changes to nail shape. In this instance, increasing iron intake can help eliminate vertical nail ridges.
Nail pitting, while somewhat common, can be a more serious issue. Most often, nail pitting is the result of psoriasis. If psoriasis is a known condition of yours and you notice nail pitting, it's a good idea to see a doctor. This is the best way to gain a full understanding of what's causing your nail pitting. Unfortunately, treatment for nail pitting can be a little bit more difficult to treat at home. Aesthetically, filing, shaping, and polishing nails is one of the most common ways to mask this issue, but treatment, especially if nail pitting is a result of psoriasis, is best left to a doctor.
Nail issues come in all shapes and sizes. While most minor issues can be treated at home, it's a good idea to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis of the problem. If you're experiencing nail issues and you have questions about diagnosis or treatment, contact our team at SE Dermatology Specialists today.