ZocdocAnswersWhat treats fingernails that are white and sensitive?

Question

What treats fingernails that are white and sensitive?

Is there a good method for treating fingernails that (for some reason) have been turning whitish and becoming very sensitive? I'm a woman in my late 20s who just had her first child, and I don't know what's causing this problem. Is it safe and effective to use the strengthening polishes?

Answer

Nail changes are one of the most common medical concerns. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. There are many causes of whitish, sensitive nails. As always, maintaining good nutrition and taking in plenty of antioxidants can improve the overall health of your skin, nails, and hair. Sometimes, changes in the nails is a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires treatment, such as malnutrition, anemia, or thyroid disease. Discussing these possibilities with your doctor is always recommended. Another common possibility is a fungal infection of the nails. This causes the nails to become gradually more sensitive, deformed, and thickened and to undergo color changes. Most fungal infections are treated by avoiding false nails or other damage to the nails and by taking antifungal medications as prescribed by your doctor. Harsh nail treatments, such as the chemicals used to remove gel nails, can cause serious damage to the underlying nails as well, producing some of the symptoms you describe. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your dermatologist or your primary care doctor might be recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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