How to treat nail psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic disease so, unfortunately, it will not go away entirely. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system which triggers the body’s cells to multiply much faster than they normally would and this is something that will carry on long-term.
However, your doctor can prescribe creams and ointments that can help with symptoms, such as corticosteroids, tazarotene, calcipotriol. These can help reduce your nail psoriasis symptoms and are usually targeted at treating psoriasis at the nail root. Once the nail has grown, treatment cannot change its appearance. You can only change how the next growth of the nail will look.
If the creams and ointments do not work, you could also be prescribed injections of corticosteroids, which help with symptoms such as nail thickening, ridges, and nail separation. To treat the discoloration, you could be prescribed laser treatment or PUVA, which involves being given psoralen and then placing the nails under UV light. Finally, you could be given a drug that works throughout the body, such as a biologic, methotrexate, or retinoid.
It is important to also treat any infections that have developed as a result of your nail psoriasis, usually with an antifungal medication. Any treatment for psoriasis (and especially any oral medications) can take a long time to work because they are not treating the nail that is already there, they are treating the next growth of the nail. It is also important to carry on with the treatment plan even if you don’t see results straight away. You may also need to try out a few different treatments before you find one that works for you.
Taking care of your nails can prevent some nail psoriasis symptoms. For example, making sure that your nails are clipped short and kept clear can help to stop bacteria from getting underneath your nail and causing an infection. Don’t be tempted to try to clean out debris from underneath the nail with anything sharp as this can make the infection worse.
If you are upset about the cosmetic appearance of your nails, nail varnish can help to disguise many nail psoriasis symptoms. You could also wear artificial nails, but make sure to tell your beautician about your condition as some nail glues can cause irritation when you have psoriasis.