How Do I Know Whether I Have Nail Fungus or Nail Psoriasis?

How Do I Know Whether I Have Nail Fungus or Nail Psoriasis?

Apr 18
How Do I Know Whether I Have Nail Fungus or Nail Psoriasis?

You have problems with your nails. This is actually normal! But significant changes in the color or texture of your nails may be a sign of a health and medical condition. If your nails are:

  • discolored
  • cracking, and/or
  • separating from the nail bed

You may have either nail fungus or nail psoriasis. While there are similarities between the two conditions, they are fundamentally different. It’s important for you to know the differences between nail psoriasis and nail fungus.

Do I Have Nail Fungus or Nail Psoriasis?

Nail fungus and psoriasis can both infect the nail and the nail bed. They both can cause changes in the nails, making diagnosis difficult. However, nail fungus and psoriasis are different skin conditions.

Nail fungus is a fungal infection. It’s caused by a group of fungi called dermatophyte. Fungi are everywhere around us. They love moisture and can thrive in moist, warm areas of the body. Thus, if your nails are always wet or moist, you are more likely to get nail fungus. Athletes are at highest risks because they usually sweat a lot. People with diabetes or obesity are also commonly affected by nail fungus.

Nail psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system becomes overactive and attacks the healthy nails. In fact, the body causes the skin cells to build up rapidly under and around the nails. This can lead to pain and inflammation of the nails. People with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis can be more at risk of getting it.

Nail fungus vs Nail psoriasis

What Are the Main Differences?

There are a variety of differences between nail fungus and nail psoriasis. Here’s a comparison in symptoms of the two conditions.

Symptoms of nail fungus

  • Changes in the shape of nails

Nail fungus is more common in toenails than in fingernails. If you notice that your toenails are thick or distorted in shape, you might have become infected.

  • Changes in the texture of nails

If your nail’s texture is crumbly, it means a fungus. It usually infects the entire nail plate, leading to debris under the nail. Some people can have a white, powder-like texture on their nails. If you notice this symptom, you might get infected with a nail fungus.

A fungus can cause your nails to change in colors. In most cases, you may have a nail fungus if your nails turn yellow. But sometimes your nails can look brown or white. This symptom usually begins at the cuticle side of the nail and then spreads to the whole nail.

  • Nail fungus spreads to other nails or to other areas of the body

Like other types of fungal infections, nail fungus is very contagious. It can spread from one nail to another, or to other parts of the body. Many people get nail fungus from close contact with an infected object, animal or person. Toenail fungus can spread to the groin, causing jock itch.

A slightly foul odor from the nail can also indicate that you have nail fungus.

Read more: How Does Toenail Fungus Spread?

Nail fungus on a toenail

Symptoms of nail psoriasis

  • Discolored nails

Like nail fungus, nail psoriasis can cause your nails to turn yellowish. Be sure to tell your doctor about your signs and symptoms.

  • Nail pitting

Nail psoriasis can cause too much keratin cells to build up rapidly. But it can also make the nail plate lose cells, leading to pitting. This is a symptom in which your nail has one or dozens of dents and holes.

  • Separation of the nail from nail bed

Too much keratin created under the nail can separate the nail from the nail bed. In some cases, it leads to loss of nail.

  • Changes in the texture of the nails

People with nail psoriasis may have Beau’s lines across the nails. The nails can also become thicker or crumble.

  • Other symptoms that are not located at the nails

Apart from the nails, psoriasis can affect many other areas of the body. For instance: the legs, chest, back, arms, and trunk. Common symptoms include red, scaly, or silvery white skin patches, sores, or blisters.

Unlike nail fungus, nail psoriasis is not contagious. Thus, you can’t catch it from another person.

Read more: Misunderstanding Between Psoriasis and Ringworm

Nail psoriasis

How Else Are They Different?

Treatment of nail fungus and psoriasis are also different.

In most cases, nail fungus is treated with a topical or oral antifungal. Fugacil is one of the best over-the-counter anti-fungal creams for nail fungus. It can help kill the fungi, eliminate the symptoms and prevent recurrence. This cream can take 1 to 7 days to show results. Also, you can ask a doctor for an oral antifungal like Terbinafine. It may work very well, but often take quite long and can cause some side effects. If the above two treatments fail, ask a doctor for a nail surgical removal.

It’s very hard to treat nail psoriasis. You can try a topical ointment, but it does not always work. For relief, you can use corticosteroid injections, or vitamin D ointment. In a more severe case, phototherapy or removal of the affected nail can be effective. Take supplements to control the immune system.

Treatment for nail fungus and nail psoriasis

People with nail psoriasis can develop nail fungus or other fungal infections. If you think you can be at risk, speak to your doctor for help and advice.

Read more: 12 Foods for Thicker Hair and Stronger Nails

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