The nail is made up of hard keratin which helps in protecting the fingertips and toes. Nails can also be affected by damages and diseases such as nail eczema. Usually eczema only affects the skin, but it can also affect the nails and people of all ages can end up with this condition. Nail eczema causes the nails to turn rough, pitted and even resulting to the permanent loss of the nail.
Causes of nail eczema
- Eczema on nails can be caused by prolonged exposure of the nails to water and moisture particularly tasks such as cleaning dishes and washing clothes.
- Allergic reactions to certain irritants such as soaps and detergents as well as industrial chemicals.
- Stress and genetics
Symptoms of nail eczema
- The eczematous nail looks dull and rough. There are small indentations on the nail and pitting which is a common symptom of nail eczema.
- The nail becomes yellow or brown in color and the skin below the nail is inflamed. After some time, the nail cracks and crumbles.
- Sometimes, the pain becomes severe and the area around the nails becomes swollen.
- If eczema is severe, there is a possibility of permanently losing the nail.
Treatment and home remedies for nail eczema
- The affected person should minimize contact with water by avoiding exposure to water for extended periods of time.
- When washing dishes and clothes, cover the hands by wearing gloves.
- Apply a moisturizer on the fingers at least once every day and apply it a night time as well. Coconut oil or almond oil is beneficial for nail eczema since they make the nails smooth and supple.
- Avoid exposing the nails to irritants, chemical soaps and detergents. Always wear gloves when doing work in order to prevent direct contact with the irritants that can trigger eczema.
- Avoid being stressed out since stress can make the condition worse.
- Apply an ice pack over the affected finger or toe nails for at least five minutes to help reduce the itching, pain and swelling around the nails. A bag of frozen peas that is wrapped in a cloth can also help with the condition.
- Apply a moisturizing lotion to the nail beds at least every day in order to make the skin supple and treat the eczema if other parts of the body are infected.
- Cover the nails using a 1% hydrocortisone cream to help relieve the itchiness caused by eczema.
If the inflammation, itchiness and other symptoms of nail eczema becomes severe, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
Other remedies for nail eczema
- Immerse the infected fingernail and toenail in a solution that contains Epsom salt. This can help relax the irritated skin and draws out impurities and toxins away.
- In case Epsom salt is not available, you can utilize sea salt instead. Pour about two cups of sea salt under running water, immerse the infected fingernails and toenails for about 20 minutes, and dry with a towel. Take note that the sea salt helps in drying out the patches and reduces the itchiness.