The truth about nail issues and your health

You may be aware by a previous post or two that I’m totally down with direct sales & Facebook. The internet, and Facebook groups in particular, can be a wondrous place full of great information. But much of the time, it is not.

Take note

The condition of your nails can tell you some things about your health. Some nail issues are caused by underlying health conditions. If you are concerned, seek professional medical advice. It may come as a shock to you, but I am not a doctor. I cannot tell you about your medical problems. I am an accountant who likes pretty nails. But I will tell you that all the vitamins, essential oils, and keto-ing in the world will not cure some actual medical conditions. Can those help with pain & reduce inflammation so you feel better? Maybe. Are vitamins a good idea in general? Sure. But y’all. Please do not take the advice of strangers on the internet without talking to a medical professional.

Not an expert

There are a ton of health companies and essential oil companies who have representatives that make a lot of promises. Friends, they are not experts. Some of these promises have not been approved by or even evaluated by the FDA. Do you know who IS an expert? A medical professional. My son has psoriatic arthritis. It affects his nails. A friend of mine also has this condition (among others). Some say that keto will help. That this oil or that oil or another product will make it go away. No. Just no.

This is a story all about how

My son’s journey started the summer before turned 15. His nails were looking off for a while but he didn’t complain until he was about to start high school. So, we went to a dermatologist. She thought it could be a form of psoriasis. She asked if his fingers ever hurt. He said yes, sometimes. She referred him to the local orthopedic center to check for issues. They did x-rays and after the radiologist saw them, we were referred to a pediatric rheumatologist. A few weeks after his 15th birthday, we got the official psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. The process took 4 months.

At first, he was prescribed oral methotrexate. The side effects are terrible. After some time, he was prescribed Rasuvo (the inject-able form) instead. His doctor also prescribed Enbrel, but it took months for the insurance to approve it. His last MRI didn’t show signs of arthritis, so in June 2018, he was able to stop the Enbrel. You can totally tell the difference in the 2 pictures, especially on his index finger. He may have to go back on the Enbrel or another biologic in the future, but for now, he’s good. This is clearly an instance that actual medical intervention was needed.

More medical stuff

I also have a medical condition that affects my nails – dyshidrotic eczema. I mentioned it before. There is no cure and while websites list common triggers, I haven’t really found what causes mine. And thankfully, it hasn’t been super bad in years. But it was when I was in high school. That little ridge you see in this picture? Nothing compared to what my nails were like back then. These days, I can stick on my Color Street and go about my business. In those days, I learned how to use acrylic to cover up the damage. The ridges were at least a few mm deep and wide. My diet or whether I take vitamins has absolutely nothing to do with my eczema. My type of eczema isn’t dry, itchy skin. It is tiny blister like things that pop up on the soles of my feet, the palms of my hand, the sides of my fingers, and around my nails. And when I say around my nail, I really mean all around. Underneath, the sides and from the proximal nail fold (usually incorrectly called the cuticle) back towards my knuckle. Which is the area you can find your nail matrix. Which is where all the cells that form your nail come from. When you have damage to the matrix, it will show as your nail grows. I’ve been told not to do dishes and to change my socks often so my hands/feet aren’t wet for long periods. It didn’t help. I was prescribed countless creams and ointments. They didn’t help. The only thing that has ever worked has been Prednisone. Again, I needed actual medical intervention.

To sum up

If something is going on with your nails or your health in general, please seek professional medical advice. If you are thinking of starting a new vitamin or essential oils or a new diet to “cure” whatever ails you, talk to your doctor. Some of these things could very well help your specific issue. Some of these things probably won’t kill you. I am usually all for “you do you” but your health isn’t something you want to mess around with.


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