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Nail Abnormalities: What to Look for in Nail Shape and Texture

You may have treated skin problems at home before, but what about nail problems? Here are a few things you need to look for if you suspect you’re being affected by a nail abnormality.

Dark Streaks

While not every dark streak in a nail is indicative of a serious issue, this change in nail color could be a sign of melanoma. This change in your nail may also come with a change in texture. Fortunately, it can usually be treated effectively if caught early enough. If you notice any dark spots or streaks in your fingernails or toenails, it’s best to let your dermatologist know immediately. They can confirm a diagnosis and advise you on the best course of action for treatment.

Nail Lifting

Nail lifting can be a symptom of many different nail problems, including nail psoriasis, nail fungus, nail injury, or even an aggressive manicure. When a nail lifts from your nail bed, you’ll likely notice a stark change in color first. Nails that lift often appear white in color. In addition, you may notice a change in texture if your nail begins to lift at all. If you notice nail lifting, it’s always best to see your dermatologist. You might need treatment for a fungal infection and your dermatologist can provide tips on how to grow your nail out safely.

Nail Pitting

Nail pitting is a common symptom of nail psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and alopecia areata. When nail pitting happens, there is quite a noticeable change in the texture of your nails. As the name suggests, nail pitting causes indentations, or pits, in your nails. You may feel a bumpy texture or notice small, dark spots on your nails. If you notice nail pitting, it’s important to determine the cause as soon as possible. If you already have a psoriasis diagnosis, your dermatologist can help you determine the best way to mitigate this symptom and stop your condition from worsening.

Beau Lines

Beau lines are deep grooves that occur on the nails. While ridges in fingernails are fairly common, Beau lines are a bit more serious. If you notice a wavy texture in your nails or a large discolored mark, it may be Beau lines. In most cases, these grooves are the result of something halting the growth of your nails for a while. Some of the common causes of this condition include a fever, chemotherapy, or even major life stress. If you can pinpoint what stopped your nail growth and determine that it was an isolated incident, that’s good. Otherwise, you should follow up with your dermatologist and primary care physician.

Thickening Nails

One of the biggest changes in nail texture to look out for is thickness. Thickening of the nails can indicate an underlying issue that you may or may not be aware of. In addition, your nails may start taking on a clubbed or curved shape. If you have a diagnosis of psoriasis or ichthyosis, or if you suffer from poor circulation, you may experience nail thickening at some point. Fortunately, having a prior diagnosis can help treat the issue if or when it arises.

Nail issues come in all shapes and sizes. While knowing what to look for can help, 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.

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