Flaky bits Scary nails are scary. Psoriatic nails are terrifying.

Published on | by redblob


Nail Psoriasis: Nails Crumble in 6 Ugly Ways

Nail psoriasis is nothing to do with hammers and DIY projects, and everything to do with those 20 claws we all have on our bodies.

I really can’t remember when I noticed that I had nail psoriasis. I just remember clipping my nails one day and noticing that it looked like skin had built up underneath them, and that there were small little “potholes” on the surface.

From reading several studies, it appears that nail psoriasis is pretty common for those who are already lucky enough to have psoriasis on their skin. In fact, some reports say that 1 in 2 people with psoriasis develop it. So don’t be alarmed, its kind of abnormally normal!

What do nails with psoriasis look like?

Nail pitting is a common symptom of nail psoriasis

It’s the pits!

PITTING: The most noticeable textural difference is known as “pitting”. Imagine a little man on your nail, repeatedly bludgeoning it with a rock.These are basically punched-in depressions around the nails where they appear to have sunk in a bit.

Nail psoriasis is normally closely followed by a bit of discolouration

Notice the brown “oil spot” in the middle

BROWN NAIL: Another common sign of psoriasis is your nail turning a brownish colour. I only have this on a few nails, but its quite common. They’re also known as “oil spots.”

Nails can begin to crumble at their ends with psoriasis

Nail crumble, the VERY distant cousin of apple crumble

CRUST CRUMBLE: Nail crumble is not as tasty as it sounds. Basically, with nail psoriasis, the nail bed starts building up lots of dead skin cells at the ends. Make sure to clean them out regularly.

White nail spots are another very frequent sign of nail psoriasis

Doesn’t that look like light being reflected? It’s not.

WHITE BITS: Nail psoriasis can sometimes cause a condition known as Leukonychia, which are little white-coloured areas on the nail. It’s not unsightly in my opinion – I have always thought it looks like a glint of light reflecting off the nail.

Psoriasis can often cause the nail to come off

You might get loose nails, but I wouldn’t pry them off like this guy!

THE LOOSE NAIL: Another nasty little symptom of nail psoriasis is known in the medical world as Onycholysis. This is when the psoriasis messes with the nail bed so badly that it causes the nail to fall off. Sometimes it won’t separate completely, but it will become unstable. Right now, I think this is what is happening to my pinky toe-nail, but I’m trying to save it! God damn, stay in there pinky! Hold on!

The nail can look a bit thick when you get psoriasis

Remember, this isn’t caused by bad hygiene, this is nail psoriasis!

THE THICK NAIL: Sometimes psoriasis makes your nails real fat. Essentially, the dead skin cells keep piling up, getting compacted together, until they form a nice, thick layer.

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About the Author

I'm just an average 26 year old living with psoriasis. Over the last decade, I've tried everything, from real snake poison to rubbing banana peels over my body. I've finally found an approach that's working for me, and I'm sharing it with all the flakers out there. But Psoriasis Blob is not about one man, it's a growing community of great, red people.

2 Responses to Nail Psoriasis: Nails Crumble in 6 Ugly Ways

  1. dawn says:

    My nails split, pit, lift, thicken, and then there is that wonderful yellow coloring! It can be painful, the only thing that makes it a little more comfortable is keeping them very short. If they split, wear a bandaid so the nail isn’t snagging on things and causing more discomfort.

  2. Sandra Cuthbertson says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I asked 3 GPs at my surgery and they didn’t know!!!! Yep frighting just what they don’t know. And I asked two new young doctor GPs and they didn’t know ether. So thank you again. Yours in gratitude Sandra. Blackpool, UK.

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