A dry nail can break, flake and often get a yellowish color. Nails can also be hard and become thick, making the care of the nail more difficult. As many as half of all nail disorders are caused by fungal disease and it is not unusual to have both a fungus infection and psoriasis in the nail at the same time.
Since nail infections are usually painless in the beginning many people ignore the symptoms of damaged nails or are not aware that they are affected. But if left untreated, nail infections can cause discomfort and cause the nails to fall off. In some cases, toenails can grow so thick that wearing shoes become uncomfortable. The unsightliness of infected nails can also cause emotional distress.
Nails that are damaged by fungal nail infections or nail psoriasis can be challenging to treat, since the infection is embedded within the nail. Therefore, it is important to start treatment for damaged nails early and continue until the infected nail has been completely replaced by new nail growth, a process that, for a big toenail, can take as long as a year.
Fungal infections of the nails, also known as onychomycosis, affect approximately 10 percent of adults and 50 percent of those who are older than 70 years. It is at least three times more common in swimmers and often affects people who frequently use public swimming pools, showers and gyms. Nail fungus is also common among athletes and other people who sweat a lot, as it thrives in warm, moist areas. It often follows a fungal infection of the skin, for example athlete’s foot.
Nail fungus, which is more common in toenails than fingernails, lives on dead tissue in and around the nails and can cause thick nails and brittle nails. Another common sign is discoloured nails, which often turn yellow or greenish. Other symptoms of damaged nails include changes in nail shape, loosening of the nail, crumbling of the outside edges of the nail and loss of luster and shine. Although the condition is not life threatening, it can result in pain and discomfort. Nail fungus is also contagious and can spread to other nails and other people if left untreated.
Although nail fungus can be hard to treat, there are effective treatments available. For mild to moderate infections, where the nail matrix is not yet affected, topical treatments like antifungal nail lacquer or a medical device, such as Naloc, are generally recommended. Naloc treats fungal nails, reduces discolourations and strengthens and smoothens the outer layers of the nail. Severe fungus infections that cannot be eliminated with topical treatments are usually treated with prescription medications that are taken orally, however these have been associated with serious side effects. In some cases, laser treatment or removal of the nail may be necessary to get rid of the fungus.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body to produce too many skin cells, which build up and form scaly sores and blisters. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body and among people who have the disease around 50 percent have it in their nails. Symptoms of nail psoriasis include pitted nails, discolouration, deformation, and nail bed separation (called oncholysis). It is also common for the nails to crumble as the structure that supports them starts to weaken. If a fungal infection is present as well, the nail may become thicker than normal.
Although psoriasis is not contagious, it can lead to functional and social problems if it is not treated. Nail psoriasis cannot be cured but the appearance and function of the nails can be greatly improved with treatment. Naloc treats nails affected by psoriasis and is also effective when the nail psoriasis is accompanied by nail fungus. Naloc kills the fungi causing the infection and is clinically proven to reduce nail discolouration and improve the appearance of the nail with first visible signs normally after only 2 weeks. By increasing hydration, gently smoothen the outer layers of the nail plate and, by changing the nail’s microenvironment and improving nail surface integrity, Naloc keeps nails in good condition. More severe cases of nail psoriasis are sometimes treated with steroid ointments that are prescribed by a doctor, or injections into the nails. If nothing helps, the infected nail may have to be surgically removed.