Q&A

What causes grooved nails and how can I treat them?

Q.

What causes grooved nails and how can I treat them?

A.

Nails may be grooved in two directions: from side to side or from the cuticle outward. (Do not confuse these with normal ridges that often appear in older clients.) When the grooves are from the cuticle outward, they are called longitudinal grooves of the nail, and these are most commonly caused by a cyst, or a little growth in the skin next to the proximal nail fold. To treat this type of cyst, called a myxoma, a doctor typically performs some form of surgery. When the grooves are from side to side, which is by far much more common, they are referred to as Beau's lines. The most common cause of this disorder is a yeast infection of the skin around the cuticle. This infection injures the nail matrix and because of this type of injury, the matrix cannot produce a smooth nail but instead produces a grooved one. An infected cuticle is referred to as chronic paronychia, and is most commonly caused by the yeast fungus candida. If your client is in good health and not on any medications, a doctor must first provide a diagnosis and treatment. If it is a common yeast infection, then it can be treated with antifungal creams or pills.

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