The nails have been an object of beauty for many women. It is important to note that nails are comprised of a hard keratin substance that functions in protecting the sensitive tips of the finger and toes. The nails can also be damaged by certain conditions including eczema. In most cases, eczema only affects the skin but can also affect the nails in some cases.
Anybody can be affected by nail eczema. This condition will make the nails rough, pitted and there is a possibility for permanent loss of the nail. An eczematous nail that becomes severe should be carefully assessed by a doctor.
Causes of nail eczema
- Prolonged exposure to water and moisture. In most cases, housewives and women are more susceptible to develop this condition in which the nails are kept immersed in water for long periods of time especially when cleaning dishes and washing clothes.
- Using certain soaps and detergents and other industrial chemicals.
- Internal factors such as stress and genetic traits have a tendency to cause nail eczema.
Symptoms of nail eczema
- The eczematous nail is rough and dull along with the presence of tiny indentions and evident pitting.
- The nails become discolored with a yellow to brown tint.
- The skin found below the nail is swollen
- The nail can have cracks and might even crumble
- There is pain and there is drainage of a white serous liquid below the nail.
In case the condition is not treated early, it can progress to a severe state that can lead to the permanent loss of the affected nail.
Treatment and home remedies for nail eczema
- The affected person should minimize exposure to water as much as possible by avoiding any task or activities that requires prolonged water exposure.
- When washing dishes and clothes, cover the hands with gloves.
- Apply moisturizer at least once every day. Apply at night when there is no more work involving water. Almond oil or coconut oil is also a good moisturizer since these can help promote the smoothness of the nail surface as well as making them supple.
- Minimize exposure to chemicals, irritants, detergents and soaps. Always use gloves when working to minimize or prevent direct contact with the irritants which can trigger an outbreak of eczema.
- Avoid being stressed out in order prevent the condition from getting worse.
- Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to help minimize the itching, pain and swelling around the area of the nails. The application of the ice pack should only be done for 5 minutes.
- Apply one percent hydrocortisone cream since it helps minimize the itching caused by eczema.
- Eat a well-balanced diet in order to help the body get all the essential vitamins needed in order to stay healthy. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and dairy.
In case the condition becomes worse, it is best to schedule an appointment with a doctor so that proper assessment can be carried out.