Nail Psoriasis: How to Prevent a Flare-Up

What to know

Although nail psoriasis is genetic and flare-ups may not be 100 percent preventable, appropriate care may limit the disease and allow your medicine to better penetrate the area. These seven tips may help.

Fingernails and toenails.

Keep them short

Your nails should be kept short, but take care not to cut into the flesh. Toenails should be no longer than the surrounding flesh and be cut straight across — no angling down at the sides — to avoid pain and possible infection of ingrown nails. Try using an emery board to gently file them to avoid cutting the skin.

Drying hand with a towel.

Keep them dry

You should wash your nails by using warm soapy water and then prevent bacteria from growing under your nails by ensuring that they are completely dry afterwards.

Finger touching moisturizer in a jar.

Moisturize regularly

Moisturize nails and cuticles frequently, especially after showering or bathing. This not only keeps them healthy, but it can also improve their appearance. It is suggested to massage moisturizers or emollients into your nail and cuticles several times a day.


Choose wider footwear

Wear shoes with a wide toe box to minimize friction, which can thicken toenails. Open-toed shoes can also help to allow your nails to breathe.

Cleaning with gloves.

Wear gloves

Put on protective gloves when cleaning up or working with your hands to minimize trauma and protect the nails from harsh household chemicals. You should also wear gloves when outdoors during cold weather, working outdoors, or during other times when you could damage your nails.

Man biting his nails.

Don't bite

Don’t pick or tear at your nails — the habit not only makes your nails look ragged, but it can also damage the skin around the nail and introduce infections.

Woman painting her own fingernails.

Avoid the salon

Avoid manicures or pedicures that may cause trauma to the nails or introduce bacteria. A better alternative: Paint your own nails.

Meet Our Writer

HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into in 2018.