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Black stripes on nails: Causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Black or dark stripes on the nails are usually a cause for concern for those who have them and for the professional who must attend to them, and this is so because although most of the time it is something that does not cause significant problems, A small number of people can suffer from a much more severe disorder that is essential to rule out: melanoma.

If you want to know why black stripes appear on the nails and how to treat them, we invite you to continue reading this FastlyHealarticle, in which you will find all the information you need.

Why do black streaks appear on the nails: causes

The medical condition in which dark streaks (brown to black) appear on the nails is melanonychia. This increase in pigmentation in one or more pins is most of the time due to causes that have no more significant complication than aesthetics, but it is true that in some cases, it can be a more severe disease, which is essential to rule out.

Among the reasons that make black stripes appear on the nails are:

  • Pigment changes the person: it does not bring any complications. It occurs in the hands and feet of dark-skinned men and women, both children and adults, especially older people.
  • Hormonal changes: during pregnancy, one or more nails may form dark stripes or turn blackish. It is also not a severe problem.
  • Smoking: cigarette smoking can lead to melanonychia.
  • Nutritional deficit: poor eating habits that lead to a lack of vitamin B12 and folates are a common cause of blue and black spots on nails.
  • Medication: one or more nails can darken, usually in the form of stripes, after using drugs such as chemotherapy, antiretrovirals (for HIV), chloroquine, gold salts, mercury, and psoralens or radiotherapy. It usually gets better after stopping them, but it can take a long time, even years, to happen.
  • Trauma: it may be that due to having suffered a blow from a shoe that generates friction or from the habit of biting the nails (onychothillomania), bruises are formed under the nails. Usually, as the nail grows, if it is no longer injured, the stain will rise towards the end until it disappears as it is replaced by healthy tissue.
  • Mycosis: certain fungi can produce melanin, thus causing black lines on some nails.
  • Psoriasis: Psoriasis, in addition to affecting the skin, can affect the nails in different ways, including making dark streaks appear. Other less common inflammatory skin diseases (such as Hallopeau’s acrodermatitis, lichen planus, and chronic paronychia) can also cause them.
  • Peutz-Jeghers, Laugier-Hunziker, and Addison syndromes: These are endocrinological diseases, and, in addition to many other symptoms, they can cause linear spots to appear on the nails.
  • Moles: also known as melanocytic nevi. They can appear on the nails as black or dark lines, especially in children; they are benign, that is, they do not generate more complications over time.
  • Melanoma is a malignant tumor; that is, it has a poor prognosis if it is not treated. It is scarce, it usually occurs more in people with dark skin, but it can also appear in those with light skin, especially in those who have relatives who have suffered from melanoma.

Black stripes on nails: treatment

As has been seen, the causes of melanonychia are many and varied. Therefore, the treatment is also different depending on its origin.

To be sure of what you should do, the most important thing is that you consult with a specialist in dermatology since, in addition to asking you questions, they will review and observe your nail with special devices to find what is causing your problem and, Above all, it will rule out the presence of melanoma. To do this, there are times that you may need to take a biopsy, that is, take a small piece of the nail to determine what it is.

Once the cause of the black streaks on the nails has been identified, the underlying disease may need to be treated; your doctor may change the medication that is causing the stains, or, most likely, nothing needs to be done. If the presence of melanoma has already been ruled out, it only remains to observe and wait to see how the lesion progresses. It would help if you continued to go to control with your doctor so that they can continue evaluating you.

On the other hand, you can take into account the following measures to try to reduce the pigmentation of your nail:

  • Use of appropriate footwear: if your nail is being damaged by constant trauma, you must wear comfortable shoes that are not rubbing your fingers permanently. In the following article, we explain How to cure a black toenail.
  • Improve your diet: either due to a lack of vitamins or because some disease affects your nails, your diet must include raw fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Put aside what intoxicates you: white sugar, dairy, wheat flour, meats, and processed foods. Natural things will always help you to be healthier and, since the cause of stains on your nails is generally due to internal imbalance, in this way you can recover it.
  • You can help you regain this internal balance through body cleansing or detoxification. For this, you must clean your colon, liver, and kidneys.

When to go to the doctor for black lines on the nails

There are specific characteristics that can make you think of melanoma, which is why it is essential to consult your doctor quickly if you present any of them:

  • Stripe is longer than 3mm.
  • There are different colors in the dark stripe.
  • Only one nail is affected.
  • The nail is raised or split.
  • Triangle-shaped stain.
  • Darkened skin around the affected nail.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Black stripes on nails: why they come out and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Skin, hair and nails .

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