This blog explains the Lichen planus nails and its Homeopathic Treatment along with its symptoms, causes, risk factors, management, and best medicines for complete cure.
When the nail thickens, discolors, splits, and lifts from the nail bed, it often indicates that the nail is infected by lichen planus. Nail lichen planus is manifested with nail plate thinning, longitudinal ridging, distal nail plate splitting lunular erythematous patches, and subungual hyperkeratosis.
Nail lichen planus is a condition that mostly occurs independently or in association with mucocutaneous involvement.
Lichen planus is a benign, non-cancerous, inflammatory disorder of unknown cause that may affect the skin, mucous membrane, scalp, and nails.
This condition affects the fingernails more than toenails and can cause nail plate anomalies, pitting, and onycholysis.
When the nails are affected, it may lead to permanent destruction with severe functional and psychological disturbances.
This article will cover homeopathic remedies for nail lichen planus, the cause of nail lichen planus, symptoms, risk factors, prevention and management, and complete treatment.
Causes of Lichen Planus Nails
Now the question arises why does the lichen planus form in nails and what are the causes behind it. Before knowing the cause let us understand what is lichen?
Lichen is a composite organism and not a single organism consisting of a fungus and an alga functioning in a symbiotic relationship.
There are some causes linked with the development of Nail lichen planus that are mentioned below.
1. Hepatitis C
The most common cause of the development of Nail lichen planus is the Hepatitis C virus. It is seen that the lichen planus of nails is frequently associated with chronic hepatitis C is the erosive ulcerative type.
It is also accompanied by acute symptoms with significant functional disorders and affects the patient’s quality of life.
2. Drug reaction
Many patients developed nail lichen planus as a result of the reaction to some medication that is given to treat conditions like hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, etc.
Lichen planus nail is associated with many systemic medications such as ACE inhibitors, antihistamines, and NSAIDs. These medications can cause an allergic reaction in the patients and may later be developed into splitting of the nails, discoloration, hyperkeratosis of the nail bed, etc.
3. Autoimmune causes
Lichen planus nail is thought to be caused by a t-cell-mediated autoimmune reaction against the epithelial layer of the skin in people with genetic disposition.
The T cells of the body identify the normal cells of skin and mucus membrane as foreign material and get activated and start destroying them, that further develop lesion in the body and ridges, splitting of the nail, discoloration of the nail also occurs because of the actions taken against the body’s cell be T cells.
4. Vitamin D deficiency
It is also observed that deficiency in vitamin D can also cause lichen planus nails. Some studies have indicated the role of vitamin D on the immune system and proposed its anti-inflammatory effects.
The vitamin D receptors protect against the invasion of microorganisms into the underlying connective tissue of our body, and in case of its deficiency, the harmful microorganism can’t be recognized. thus, resulting in the development of nail lichen planus and other skin-related issues.
Vitamin D deficiency results in impaired T cell proliferation and may therefore lead to the development of Nail lichen planus.
5. Miscellaneous causes
Nail lichen planus can develop in a patient with a weak immune system or having some underlying disease like diabetes which can be the major cause of the development of nail lichen planus and other infections of nails.
Types of Lichen Planus Nails
Histopathological the area of damage from this process is at the dermo-epidermal junction. In lichen planus of the nails, this leads to damage to the junction on the nail matrix.
The overlying nail plate leads to longitudinal ridging, grooving, or splitting of the nail and if severe to complete loss.
The presentation of nail lichen planus is in the form of different types that are mentioned below.
Partial nail dystrophy is known as pterygium. In pterygium, you have got a scarring process. Here we got the wings of the residual nail plate left.
This may progress and the patient may lose all of the whole nails. This is the end stage as well and cannot be reversed.
2. Longitudinal splitting
Longitudinal nail splitting can also be seen in nail lichen planus and is characterized by longitudinal fissures involving the entire thickness of the nail plate.
3. Lichen Planus Nails associated with lichen striatus
Lichen striatus is a skin condition and one of the types of lichen planus that mostly occurs in children. The rashes developed on the skin that appears a light pink color and is scaly, flat bumps. When the lichen striatus extends into the nail and the nail bed and causes damage then you may get dystrophy of the nail which is certainly uncommon.
4. Horizontal ridges
Sometimes the lichen planus nail presents itself as horizontal ridges on the nails that are also called beau’s lines. These are the dents in the fingernails or toenails which indicate that an illness, injury, or skin condition has interrupted your nail growth.
Treating the underlying cause may improve the condition and makes the nail smooth to grow again.
Symptoms of Lichen Planus Nails
The symptoms of Nail lichen planus include: –
- Whitish to yellow-brown Discoloration of the nail bed
- Hyperkeratosis of the nail bed
- Brittle, crumbly, or ragged
- Thickening of the nails
- Nails are distorted in shape
- Dystrophy of nail
- Smelling slightly awful
- Building of debris under the nail bed
- Splitting of the nails
- Horizontal lines appear
- Pale green pigmentation of the margins
- Separation of the nail plate from nails
Risk factors for Lichen Planus Nails
- Those patients who are genetically predisposed which means this disease is running in their family are at higher risk of development of nail lichen planus.
- As we know lichen planus may develop due to hypersensitive or inflammatory reactions against certain medications. So, patients under certain medications like antihypertensive, and anti-inflammatory are more to develop Nail lichen planus
- The risk of developing nail lichen planus increases with age and is most commonly seen in people above the age of 40. It can also be seen in young adults but the chances are very rare.
- Patients having weak immunity or having an autoimmune disorder may develop skin barrier defects in their life and are at great risk of developing many skins related issues along with nail infections and nail lichen planus.
- Patients having diabetes mellitus and hepatitis are at great risk of occurrence of nail lichen planus.
- If you live in a warmer climate and sweat a lot and also have prolonged exposure to water or some other irritant then you may develop nail lichen planus.
- If you work in a metal factory and come in exposure to heavy metals every day you may develop nail lichen planus and other life-threatening diseases.
- Along with immune disorders, stress, anxiety, and other factors can be a causative agent for the development of nail lichen planus.
- Any condition that disrupts the integrity of the nail apparatus is considered a predisposing factor. Some common conditions such as trauma, exposition to a moist environment, and nail diseases such as psoriasis.
Diagnosis of Lichen Planus Nails
The diagnosis of Nail lichen begins with a complete medical history regarding onset, modalities, and severity of the disease and by performing a physical examination.
it is usually made by clinical examination that is by signs and symptoms experienced by the patients.
If you are experiencing the symptoms such as greenish pigmentation of the nail margin, pitting, splitting of the nails, separation of the nail from the nail margin, etc; then your doctor will perform some tests to confirm the diagnosis of nail lichen planus.
The doctor will ask about the medication and disease history that the patient is taking or whether the patient has hepatitis or diabetes or any autoimmune disorder or genetic disorder or not and if the patient is allergic to some medication or has a history of some skin disease or not.
The doctor will also ask about some associated symptoms along with distorted nails that the patient may be experiencing or not. As this condition is a multi-factorial disease so it may be associated with some other disease conditions also.
The doctor may also examine your skin and also do some blood tests, Blood culture for any bacterial, especially pseudomonas infection, he will advise you for a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and also helps out to rule out other condition.
Prevention and Management of Lichen Planus Nails
- Some self-care measures can help to reduce the risk of nail lichen planus. Although the condition is irreversible when it reaches the end stage of nail dystrophy but can be prevented if the cautions are taken earlier.
- Wash your hand properly after coming in contact with or touching infected nails. Doing so will reduce the risk of nail infection.
- Also, dry your hands and feet properly after washing and bathing. Moisture in the hand and feet due to sweating are the most common risk factor for the development of nail lichen planus.
- Keep your nail moistened with nail cuticle oil because dryness may cause severe itching to the nail cuticle. Also, avoid tight-fitted shoes.
- Do not use medicated or scented products on your nails that contain harsh chemicals and also reduce the use of artificial nails and nail polish. It will damage the nail bed and further can develop lichen planus of nails.
- Manicure and pedicure tools should be properly disinfected and sanitized.
- Take proper care of your nails, cut them timely, and choose only a trustworthy salon for a manicure. Any slightest injury to the nails because of nail equipment used in the salon can allow the bacteria to enter the nail bed and cause damage.
- Some stress-relieving activities like meditation, yoga, and exercise also act as preventing measures for many skins, nail, and scalp-related issues. Include these activities in your lifestyle.
- Proper counseling and assurance to the patients along with proper management can help a lot in recovery from such a condition.
Best Homeopathic Medicines for Lichen Planus Nails
Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that treats not only the symptoms of the disease but also the man who is suffering from the disease.
So, after a complete detailed history of present and past disease and considering the family history also, a drug is prescribed which will be based on the individualization of every patient.
In mild cases, improvement can be seen within weeks, whereas severe cases will take a longer time. Along with homeopathic medicine, the patients have to follow a healthy regimen for optimum results.
Now, let’s go through some of the homeopathic medicines that can help in Nail lichen planus. Some of the best homeopathic medicines for the treatment of nail lichen planus are mentioned below.
- Antimonium crudum
- Bufo Rana
- Fluoric acid
- Nitric acid
- Natrum sulph
1. Antimonium crudum: for discolored nail
Antimonium crudum is an effective remedy for nail infection and skin-related issues. It is highly suitable for discoloration of the nail due to nail lichen planus.
The nail bed is pigmented sometimes and sometimes it is discolored. This remedy is given to a patient who has a history of eczema or urticaria and is sensitive to cold bathing.
The person is also suffering from horny warts on the hands and sole and horny growth under the nails calls for this remedy.
Dosage and potency: 30c, 200c 4 globules (pills) dissolved in half a cup of water 2 times a day for 15 days.
2. Graphites: for hypertrophy of nails
Graphites are an indicated medicine for unhealthy skin, dryness of the skin, and hypertrophy or thickening of the nail bed. It is also indicated in brittle, rough, and deformed nails.
This remedy is an anti psoric of great power, especially indicated to the patients who are rather stout, of fair complexion with a tendency to take cold easily,
Dosage and potency: 200c, 4 globes in half cup of water thrice a day till the symptom disappear. Take 15 minutes gap between meals and medication.
3. Silicea: for cracks on fingertips
Silicea is a wonderful remedy for treating nail lichen planus. Nails are crippled and cracks on fingertips indicate the use of this remedy.
It is also effective in treating ingrowing toenails that suppurates easily and are highly painful. Silicea helps to relieve the symptoms of abscesses under the nails.
Dosage and potency: 30c, 200c, take 4 drops of dilution in half a cup of water twice a day, till the improvement is seen.
4. Bufo Rana: for inflammation around the root
Bufo Rana is another effective remedy for treating nail-related issues and skin issues. It is used by many homeopaths in treating inflammation around the roots of the nail and blue-black swelling inside it.
This medicine is indicated to those patients who are anxious about their health, restless, sad, desire solitude and are feeble-minded.
Dosage and potency: 200c potency take 4 globules (pills) twice a day till the improvement occurs.
5. Fluoric acid: for deformed brittle nail
Fluoric acid is another wonderful medicine in homeopathic Materia medica that is highly effective in reliving nail-related issues such as thickening of the nail. Brittle and splitting of the nail and rapid growth of the nail.
This medicine is specially adapted to chronic diseases with syphilitic and mercurial history. Complaints of old age or the prematurely aged, with the weak distended blood vessel.
Dosage and potency: 1m potency of dilution, take 2-3 drops in half cup of water one time a day for 3 days.
6. Nitric acid: for deformed nails
Nitric acid is the best-suited medicine for treating deformed, distorted, cracked nails due to lichen planus infection. It is also suitable when there is greenish pigmentation on the margins of the nails.
It is a sycotic medicine best suitable for warty growth on the skin and having a hydrogenoid constitution. Patients are irritable, hateful, fearful of death, and vindictive.
Dosage and potency: 30c, 200c potency, take 2-3 drops of dilution in half cup of water and take twice a day till the improvement.
7. Conium: for yellow fingernails
Conium is a remedy for removing the yellowish discoloration of the nail bed due to lichen planus infection and jaundice.
It has marked action on the skin and is also effective in treating the yellowness of the skin with popular eruptions. Night and morning sweat, with an offensive odor and smarting of the skin.
Dosage and potency: 30c, 200c, 4 globules (pills) twice a day till the improvement is seen.
8. Alumina: for brittle nails and skin on fingers
Alumina is indicated when there is dryness of the mucus membrane and skin. It is very effective for brittle nails and skin on fingers.
Patients are confused about their identity, low-spirited, hasty hurried and for them, time passes too slowly.
Dosage and potency: – 200c potency, take 4 globules thrice a day up to improvement.
9. Natrum sulph: for longitudinal ridges on nails
Natrum sulph is suitable for hydrogenoid constitution, where the complaints are such due to living in damp houses, basements, and cellars.
The longitudinal ridges appear in nails due to anemia, vitamin deficiency, hormonal changes, and due lichen planus infection which can be treated by this remedy.
Dosage and potency: 30c, 200c take 3-4 drops of dilution in half a cup of water twice a day.
10. X-Ray: for brittle and thickened nails.
X-Ray is a remedy that is rarely used but is highly effective in treating skin and nail infections. Repeated exposure to X-rays has produced skin lesions often followed by cancer.
The sky is dry, wrinkled, and has painful cracks, nail becomes thick and brittle. Patients who have a history of skin diseases like psoriasis or eczema are suitable for this remedy.
Dosage and potency: 1M potency and higher potencies are effective, take four globules under the tongue, once a day for two weeks or until the improvement appears.