Onycholysis of the nails - what is it, what are the causes, and how to treat it?

Onycholysis of the nails, although the name sounds threatening, is not particularly dangerous or painful - provided that you diagnose it at an early stage and undertake treatment aimed at combating its cause. What is onycholysis? What causes it and how to treat it? Check it out!

What is onycholysis of the nails?

Onycholysis is not so much a nail disease as a condition that they undergo for various reasons. In the course of onycholysis, there is a partial delamination (in other words - detachment) of the nail plate from the bed that holds it. The onycholysis process starts from the free edge or side of the nail and progresses deep into the nail. A characteristic symptom of this disease is the white discoloration of the detached plate. This is because the plate loses its connection with the bed, and the capillaries do not shine through it.

Onycholysis, in the form described above, does not cause painful ailments and is not a threat to health. However, this does not mean that it can be trivialized. On the contrary! If you do not take appropriate corrective actions, impurities will accumulate under the detached fragment of the plate. Due to the fact that this place retains moisture, it creates perfect conditions for the development of various microorganisms. The first symptom of secondary bacterial infection is a change in colour under the nail to green, yellow, or even black.

Causes of onycholysis

Onycholysis can be caused by many factors, both hereditary and acquired. The most common causes are described below. Check if you are at risk.

Mechanical injuries
  • This is definitely the most common cause of onycholysis of the nails. The injury usually occurs as a result of a blow or undermining of the nail. Long nails are particularly at risk for this - especially those that have been improperly made. There is also some risk with long natural nails that grow incorrectly upwards.
  • Another type of mechanical injury that promotes onycholysis is so-called over-filing of the plate. A plate that is filed too intensively and/or too often becomes very thin and weakened. In this situation, detachment is most likely only a matter of time. Onycholysis after UV gel nail polish manicure is also possible if the UV gel nail polish manicure was removed incorrectly. Unfortunately, many women still use very harmful "force solutions", which involve undermining the varnish or even tearing it off with their teeth. Never do that!
  • Do you observe onycholysis on toenails? One of the reasons for its occurrence is wearing too tight shoes that press on the nails, as well as not cutting the nails sufficiently.

Health reasons

Numerous diseases and ailments adversely affect the body in a much wider range than it might seem. Those that have a negative effect on the condition of the nails and contribute to the development of onycholysis include: allergies of various origins, thyroid diseases, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, nail psoriasis, lichen, atopic dermatitis, and other dermatological diseases, diabetes, anemia.

Chemicals and moisture

Keeping the house clean is extremely important, but frequent use of various chemicals and soaking hands while cleaning definitely does not serve the condition of the nails. If you notice a tendency to onycholysis in yourself, be sure to clean in special protective gloves, because it is better to prevent than to cure!

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life when the body undergoes a real revolution. Many pregnant women enjoy radiant skin, shiny, thick hair, and very strong, fast-growing nails. This is, of course, due to individual hormones. However, this is not always the case, or this condition deteriorates quite quickly shortly after childbirth. Onycholysis during or immediately after pregnancy is usually temporary.

Pharmacological agents

Various groups of drugs can contribute to the development of onycholysis. These include, among others, contraceptives. If you use pharmacology permanently, find out if a given preparation can cause such side effects. In no case should you stop taking medications on your own or change them to others. You must discuss this issue with your doctor!

Onycholysis - home treatment

The treatment of nail onycholysis depends on its cause. If you are sure that you are struggling with onycholysis due to improper nail care, which has been filed too much or damaged during the removal of UV gel nail polish, and you do not observe other alarming symptoms, such as inflammation, you can try home remedies. What can you do? First of all, shorten the nail plate as much as possible and... wait for it to grow back! The process of full nail growth on the hands can take up to six months, and on the legs almost a year. During this time, use a good quality conditioner (e.g. Semilac Nail Power Therapy 5in1 Recovery Nude Nail Conditioner 7 ml), regularly shorten the nails and take care of their cleanliness. After each contact with water, dry your hands thoroughly, use protective gloves for household chores.

Semilac UK - Semilac Nail Power Therapy 5in1 Recovery Nude Nail Conditioner 7 ml

Onycholysis - specialist treatment

Untreated onycholysis (or treated ineptly) can progress and result in more serious changes. Therefore, if home remedies are insufficient, be sure to see a podiatrist. The specialist will assess the condition of the nails on the feet and hands, make a diagnosis, and propose the most effective treatment. If, for example, he or she finds nail fungus or other skin diseases, inflammation, he or she may recommend tetracycline antibiotics. In the case of a nail plate separating from the bed due to fungal changes, an antifungal varnish can be used as an adjunct. However, the doctor must agree to this.

If the symptoms of onycholysis are advanced, surgical treatment, which involves removing the nail plate, is not excluded. In the case of less advanced changes, a visit to a podiatrist may be sufficient, who will clean the change and remove the detached fragment of the nail.

Onycholysis and UV gel nail polish

In the case of detachment of the nail plate from the bed, even a small one, specialists strongly advise against performing UV gel nail polish, and even classic manicure and pedicure. Under the painted nail, it is not only dark but also warm and humid, and these are perfect conditions for the development of infection. So if you observe any alarming changes on the nails, do not perform cosmetic treatments, but go for a consultation with a podiatrist and follow his or her recommendations.

Onycholysis - prevention

Proper nail care and following a few simple rules will minimize the risk of onycholysis. First of all, try to avoid injuries. Regularly cut your nails so that they are not too long (then the risk of injury increases) and clean them thoroughly but gently every day. When cleaning, use protective gloves and always dry your hands after contact with water. When doing a manicure and pedicure, do it carefully, take care of the cleanliness of all accessories, and do not rush.

Observe! Onycholysis can appear at any time. The sooner you detect abnormalities, the sooner and at a lower cost you will remove them.

Summary

You now know how to recognize and treat onycholysis. When you notice any alarming symptoms, do not hesitate to visit a specialist. Remember that the sooner you start treatment, the better the chance of a quick recovery.

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