How do medications treat nail disorders?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Medications can treat nail disorders in a number of ways. If you have a bacterial or fungal infection in your nail, antibiotics or anti-fungal medications that you either take by mouth or apply to your skin can kill the bacteria or fungus and stop the condition.

If your nail disorder is a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as the autoimmune condition psoriasis, your doctor will treat the condition, and the treatment should help clear up the nail symptoms associated with it. 
Medications to treat nail disorders can be topical or oral. Antibiotics or antifungals are prescribed to treat underlying fungal and bacterial infections. Sometimes they are applied to the nail area through a cream or ointment, and other times they are ingested on a daily schedule.

Steroid medication in the form of cream is used to treat chronic paronychia, or inflammation, and you can soak your finger in a 1 percent acetic acid solution to treat green nail syndrome.

If water is causing the nail disorder, a cream may be used to create a silicone barrier to protect the nail from moisture seeping in. Antifungal drugs can be put in a clear nail polish to treat the nail and are often combined with oral fungal treatments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.