7 Nail Diseases that You Need to Watch Out for!

Aug, 04 by Nidhi Jain in
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“Your nails are a way to speak your style without having to say a word.”

These words by Tammy Taylor reflect the role of your nails in pulling off an outfit, for no new outfit is complete your nails are pretty and well- kept. Although nails are only dead tissues, nails too can be subjected to painful conditions and diseases. Protecting your nails is, therefore, as crucial as protecting any other part of the body.

Nail diseases are dangerous for your nails and your overall health if not detected and diagnosed early. Besides, many severe diseases such as stomach illness etc can be detected through the changes in your nails. Here is a list of conditions affecting your nails that you need to watch out for and seek treatment if required.


Nails are prone to fungal infection. Onychomycosis is a fungal infection that affects your nails, making them thick, opaque and white. With this diseases your nails become brittle, losing their strength. Onychomycosis develops in the warm environments where there is too much moisture. It can also develop if you have low immunity and poor blood flow. Besides, diabetes and circulatory disorders are also risk factors for developing onychomycosis.

How to prevent it?

  • Be careful when you approach damp environments like swimming pool, showers and locker room, as these are places where a fungus infection can be contracted easily.
  • If there is an injury in your nail, clean your nails with an antiseptic lotion. Also, keep the nails clean and remove any dirt in your nails, especially if there is a wound.
  • Avoid moisture trapping acrylic nails. The moisture is a good breeding condition for the fungus.

Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail is a painful condition that occurs when a nail intrudes into the skin around it. Usually, the big toe is affected by an ingrown toenail. Improper cutting and trimming of the nail are the major cause of an ingrown toenail. Wearing inappropriate footwear can also lead to this condition which is characterised by inflammation of the skin. An ingrown toenail can also get infected leading to further complications. In extreme situations, a minor surgery may be needed to remove the part of the nail, nail bed and the skin to relieve the pain and inflammation.

How to prevent it?

  • Choose appropriate footwear. Do not wear shoes and sandals that congest your toes. Instead, wear comfortable footwear that leaves adequate space for all the toes.
  • Cut or trim your nails properly. Do not cut your nails in a curved manner such that more part of the nail is removed at the edges. Trim it in a straight fashion from the centre to the edges.

Clubbed Nails

Clubbed nails are another of those nail condition characterised by downward curving nails. Unlike ingrown toenails, this diseases is not restricted to the nail alone and can imply a systemic disease in the body. Clubbed nails occur in cases where the patient has conditions such as cystic fibrosis, congenital heart diseases, cirrhosis etc. In certain instances, clubbed nails occur due to the genetic makeup.

How to prevent it?

Since clubbed nails are a symptom of many other diseases, it cannot be prevented by taking care of nails alone. The best way to avoid it would be to have a good and healthy lifestyle.


We could say that onychorrhexis was born with the advent of the nail care treatment. Onychorrhexis is a nail disorder that results in brittle nails. It can also cause breakage of your nails. This condition is caused due to the excessive use of cosmetics. Heavy usage of nail polish removers, detergents, strong soaps etc weakens your nails making it prone to breakage.

How to prevent it?

  • Shift to organic toiletries. Use soaps that do not contain strong chemicals and are safe for your skin.
  • Avoid using nail polish removers regularly. Yes, we do need newer nail designs every week, however, excessive use of acetone (the main ingredient of nail polish), to remove your nail polish is not recommended.
  • Protect your hands with gloves when you are washing dishes or doing laundry. In fact, it is a good idea to cover your hands every time you are using heavy soaps!

Nail Discoloration

Nail discoloration is not a disease, but rather it occurs due to exposure to chemicals and other agents. Severe exposure to nail care cosmetics can also discolour your nails. Your nails can turn brownish purple if exposed to potassium permanganate. Exposure to silver nitrate can turn your nails to black hues. Although nail stains look awkward, these are not dangerous.

How to prevent it?

  • Avoid using cosmetics that contain harsh chemicals. Shift to nail colours that are less chemical based and more with natural agents.
  • Always wear gloves if you are going to work in environments containing chemicals. This includes doing laundry, washing dishes etc.


Every woman will be familiar with this issue, although maybe not through its clinical terminology. Leukonychia is the term for the white spots that come on the nails. For decades many people believed it to be a symptom of calcium deficiency in the body. However, this is not true. Leukonychia is caused due to trauma on the nails. The major cause is an injury to the nail while it is being formed at the roots.

How to prevent it?

  • Do not exert pressure on your nails. Avoid pressing or doing physical activity that stresses your nails.

Chronic Paronychia

Chronic paronychia is another uncomfortable nail condition whereby your nails and the skin around it becomes red and swollen. Your skin also becomes excessively tender. This disorder is caused by an allergic reaction to the exposure to irritants such as harsh detergents. Research has found that housewives and maids are more likely to be affected by this condition due to their continuous dealings with chemicals.

How to prevent it?

  • Apply a moisturiser or a lotion before you wash your dishes and clothes.
  • Find out what chemical you are allergic to avoid purchasing those toiletries which contain these substances.
  • Wear gloves before all washing and cleaning activities.

Nail diseases are a burden. Apart from the pain and discomfort it causes, these diseases also make your nails ugly. A nail disorder also means that you cannot get a manicure or a pedicure, for it would mean more external agents. Therefore keeping your nails safe from these disorders is imperative. Now, go ahead and check your nails if they have these nail disorders and seek help if required.