Should You Show Your Nails to a Dermatologist?


Woman Showing Off Her ManicureAlthough often overlooked, our nails can be an indicator of our general state of health and can even point to underlying health concerns like diabetes, heart and lung conditions and kidney disease.

But many people don’t realize that their dermatologist can take a look at nail problems and offer an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.


Common Nail Problems

If you notice any significant changes in the characteristics of your nails, it may be worth showing your dermatologist. These might include changes in the color, thickness or strength of your nails, as well as swelling or bleeding of the surrounding skin.

Some of the most common nail problems include:

  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • White spots or lines due to injury
  • Ingrown toenails

In rarer cases, melanoma can form underneath the nail, causing discoloration or a streak-like appearance. Understanding the warning signs of skin cancer can aid in early diagnosis and help to reduce your risk of complications.

If discoloration or other changes to your nails don’t gradually improve, see your dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Tips for Healthy Nail Care

Maintaining good nail care and hygiene habits is a must for keeping your nails healthy, strong and problem-free. Keeping your nails clean and dry, for instance, can help to prevent fungal or bacterial infections from forming. It’s also important to regularly cut your nails and avoid biting them.

To prevent ingrown toenails from forming, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or that do not fit properly.
  • If toenails are difficult to trim, soak your feet in a saltwater solution for five to 10 minutes first, and then cut your nails straight across
  • Do not self-treat ingrown toenails. See your dermatologist to prevent infection and exacerbating the problem.