Paronychia, commonly known as a bacterial nail infection, involves inflammation of the nail beds of fingers and/or toes and is usually the result of a bacterial infection (although it can be caused by a yeast or virus, typically the herpes simplex virus [HSV]). There are 2 types of paronychia; acute (short term) and chronic (long term). Acute paronychia appears as redness, warmth, tenderness, and swelling along the edge of the nail. It often occurs as a result of a break in the skin. Chronic paronychia will appear the same way but is a more gradual development, and may be the result of finger or thumb sucking common in infants. It may also form as the result of debris underneath the fingernail, which becomes a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. It is important to keep infants' hands clean and dry, especially when they become old enough to grasp objects.
Onychoschizia, commonly known as nail splitting but also known as onychoschisis or lamellar dystrophy, is a condition that causes horizontal splits within the nail plate. Nail splitting is often seen together with onychorrhexis – long-wise (longitudinal) splitting or ridging of the nail plate – and these 2 diseases together are called "brittle nail syndrome." Frequent wetting and drying of the hands is the most common cause of nail splitting, so this condition is, therefore, common among house cleaners, nurses, and hairdressers. Nail splitting may also be caused by nail cosmetics (hardeners, polish, polish removers/solvents), nail procedures, and occupational exposure to various chemicals (alkalis, acids, cement, solvents, thioglycolates, salt, sugar solutions). Injury (trauma) may also play a role in the development of brittle nails. Brittle nails may occur due to medical problems, including gland (endocrine system) diseases, tuberculosis, Sjögren syndrome, and malnutrition. People with other skin diseases, such as lichen planus and psoriasis, as well as people taking oral medications made from vitamin A, may also develop nail splitting.
Onychomycosis, commonly known as a fungal nail infection, is infection of the fingernails or toenails by forms of fungi and yeast. Fungal nail infections account for nearly one-half of all nail disorders. In the most common form of fungal nail infections, fungus grows under the growing portion of the nail and spreads up the finger (proximally) along the nail bed and the grooves on the sides of the nails. A less common type of fungal nail infection may occur in those with HIV/AIDS.
Beau's lines are horizontal (transverse) depressions in the nail plate that run parallel to the shape of the white, moon-shaped portion of the nail bed (lunula) seen at the nail's origin. They result from a sudden interruption of nail keratin synthesis and grow distally with the nail plate. As the nail grows, the Beau's lines can disappear.Beau's lines can be caused by trauma or local disease involving the nail fold. They can vary based upon the width or depth of the depression, reflecting the duration or extent of the damage. When Beau's lines are present in all nails at a similar location on the nail plate, they are likely to have a systemic cause. They may also result from metabolic, inflammatory, or traumatic influences.
Nail lifting (onycholysis) is the spontaneous separation (detachment) of the fingernail or toenail from the nail bed at the end of the nail (distal) and/or on the sides of the nail (lateral). The appearance of nail lifting may resemble a half-moon, or the free edge of the nail may rise up like a hood. Nail lifting creates space under the nail that gathers dirt and debris made of protein in the nails (keratin). As water accumulates under the nail, bacteria and yeast can also cause the area to become infected.Nail lifting may occur with other skin conditions, such as various forms of eczema (including hand dermatitis), psoriasis, and lichen planus. Nail lifting may also occur with underlying medical problems, including thyroid disease, pregnancy, some forms of infection, and rarely some forms of cancer. Other possible causes are injury to the nails, use of nail cosmetics, and aggressive manicures.Nail lifting may be caused by some medications, such as chemotherapy and drugs made from vitamin A. Some medications (commonly tetracycline) may interact with sunlight to cause nail lifting.
Psoriasis is a disorder that affects both the skin and the joints, causing a characteristic rash and sometimes arthritis-like joint pain. The rash is usually red and raised, and the skin has a tendency to turn silvery and flaky on top of the red raised areas. Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, including the scalp and nails. Approximately half of people who have the rash of psoriasis have fingernail changes, and a quarter have joint difficulties. Psoriasis tends to run in families (be hereditary) and is related to problems with the immune system. Psoriasis flares are triggered by many things, some of which are poorly understood; some scientists believe that viruses, injury to the skin (trauma), Streptococcus infection, stress, smoking, and alcohol can all trigger flares. There are no certain cures for psoriasis, but there are treatments that your doctor can prescribe that may help you manage the condition.
Keratosis pilaris is a very common harmless skin condition appearing as small, whitish bumps on the upper arms and thighs, especially of children and young adults.Individual lesions of keratosis pilaris begin when a hair follicle becomes plugged with keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails.
A nevus is commonly called a mole; moles can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), present at birth (congenital) or develop after birth (acquired). Some moles are raised and some are flat, and they can range in color from skin-colored to pink, tan, brown, black, or even blue. Regardless of these differences, all moles are made up of collections of the pigment-producing cells of the skin. It is very difficult to look at a mole and know if it is cancerous or not. Some signs of malignancy include large size (bigger than a pencil eraser), rapid growth or change, multiple colors in one mole, or unusual shape. You should show any mole that you are concerned about to your doctor.
Skinsight has decided to give everyone the gift of knowledge with the Twelve Days of Dermatology this holiday season. Each day we will be covering subject matter relating to rashes, skin conditions, and other dermatology topics.
During this busy time of year, it is easy to let nail health fall by the wayside. But take time to remember the importance of your hands and feet (including nails!), particularly during this cold, dry time of year. Fingernails grow an average of only 0.1 mm each day, and toenails grow 1 mm per month; however, age, time of year, family history, diet, and activity level all affect the rate of how quickly each person’s nails grow. Nails grow faster on fingers (and even faster on the dominant hand) than toes. Men’s nails grow faster than women’s, except during most cases of pregnancy.
For most people, a manicure or pedicure is a chance to pamper oneself. Unfortunately, a trip to the nail salon is not without its dangers, such as the risk of infection or damage to the nails. Here are some things you should be aware of before you treat yourself. Infections
Today’s buzzword in many industries is green, including the personal care and cosmetics business. Words like natural and organic figure prominently on labels and in advertisements. But I’ve discovered it’s hard to get a handle on such terms, even when we are dedicated label readers.
While the ideal scenario is to avoid getting mosquito bites in the first place, that’s certainly easier said than done. But here’s a helpful preventive tip: about 30 minutes before you go outside, take Claritin® or Zyrtec® to get antihistamine into your system before your first encounter with a mosquito. I find I have a very mild reaction if I’m bitten, with little swelling, redness, or itching.
Mild forms of dark spots (hyperpigmentation) on the skin are not usually medically significant. Sunspots on the hands of a middle-aged, fair-skinned woman, for example, may be a cosmetic concern to her, but they are typically benign and in no way endanger her health. However, if these spots were to grow or get darker in a dramatic fashion, it would be best to consult a dermatologist to discern if they are in fact harmless or not.
Impetigo (em-pah-TY-go) is a common superficial bacterial infection of the skin that usually resolves itself within a matter of weeks. Often unsightly and itchy, it can be a miserable experience. Impetigo is more commonly associated with children (children 6 years old and younger are more likely to be infected), but it can occur in all ages. What You See There are two types of impetigo: blistering and non-blistering. Non-blistering impetigo is often characterized by: