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What causes dark discoloration on toe nails?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - Dec 2013
Dec 2013
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Answered by

Dermatologist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 4168 Questions
Question
hi, I have dark nails in several nails of my toes, and now recently it appeared in my left thumb of my hand. For years I have observed this and dermatologists have told me it is not harmful, but i would like to know if there is a treatment or cure. Please your advice.
Posted Wed, 27 Aug 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
"Melanonychia":this is normal condition.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Welcome and thanks for posting your query to the forum.

I can understand your concern for the dark nail of toes. For a female it is sometimes very distressing to get anything unusual.

Let me first reassure you that the condition of darkness of nails is completely normal and will not have any untoward effect in your future life.

To telly you medically we call this condition as "Melanonychia". TO explain this condition in simple words:

Our skin contain the specific cells called as melanocytes. These melanocytes have a function to secret cole in the skin and hair. These are not very much active at nail roots.

Sometimes these melanocytes becomes active at the nail root from where the nail stars growing. This activity causes formation of dark nails of varying degree. In some of the person it can be just a streak of dark nail and in some it can be complete dark nail.

In my patients with your kind of condition I go for examination of affected nails with a "dermatoscope" (an examination by a smal microscope to see the entity). It helps in providing useful information regarding both the etiology and location of melanonychia. Do let me know if your dermatologists have done the dermatoscopy or not. But over all this condition is quite normal and there nothing to be worried about the same.

I beg your pardon to say that there is no treatment available for this normal condition. So humbly request you to not waste your money in this normal condition.

As you are female so a good thing is that you can mask the color with nail paints of your choice.

My all best wishes for your good health. I hope you these information will relax you. I will be glad to answer any further queries.

Regards,

Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia
MD -Dermatology and Sexually transmitted diseases
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes dark discoloration on toe nails? 4 minutes later
Thanks! For one side it reassuring that this condition is bad, but very sad that I can't do anything to improve or vanish the dark color. If there is anything I can do to help clear my nails, please let me know... :(
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 15 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Masking the area is best available method

Detailed Answer:
Dear young lady,

I completely understand your concern and can make out the stress of the same. But as I said this condition is completely normal and there is no abnormality in it.

It is just physiological to get more activity of melanocytes in some individuals like you. Being a female masking the area is best available method for you.

Some times we have to bear with such normal phenomenons of body.....life is just like that!!!

I hope you these information will help you. I will be glad to answer any further queries.

"With good health wishes"

Regards,

Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia
MD -Dermatology and Sexually transmitted diseases
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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