Nail Psoriasis Vs Fungus: Know the Differences

Nail Psoriasis Vs Fungus: Although both Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus can produce discoloured and thicker nails, they have different causes. Nail Psoriasis is an autoimmune illness that affects the nail bed and is commonly found in those who also have skin psoriasis. Nail Fungus, on the other hand, is an exterior illness that usually begins on the toenails and can release a bad odour. Understanding these fundamental distinctions is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment, as Nail Psoriasis and Fungus necessitate distinct treatments.

Difference Between Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus

Nail psoriasis and nail fungus are two separate disorders that can damage nails. These are the differences between them:


Nail Psoriasis

Nail Fungus


Autoimmune reaction attacking healthy nail tissue.

Fungal infection.


Pitting, ridges, discoloration.

Thickening, yellowing, crumbling.

Underlying Condition

Associated with psoriasis symptoms.

Often occurs in isolation.


Slow progression, may affect multiple nails.

Can spread rapidly to adjacent nails.


Topical corticosteroids, systemic medications.

Antifungal medications (topical/oral).

Response to Treatment

Responds well but requires long-term management.

Can be challenging with risk of recurrence.

Risk Factors

Genetic predisposition, stress, certain medications.

History of athlete's foot, trauma, poor circulation.


Not contagious.

Can spread through direct contact.

Diagnostic Tests

Examination by dermatologist, biopsy.

Clinical appearance, microscopic examination.


Better long-term prognosis with appropriate management.

Can be persistent, may require ongoing treatment.

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What is Nail Psoriasis? 

Nail psoriasis is a nail-related disorder caused by the autoimmune illness psoriasis. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system overreacts, causing skin cells to develop at an abnormal rate. This fast development can also alter the nail bed, causing numerous changes in the nails.

Key Features of Nail Psoriasis:

  • Nail psoriasis is characterised by tiny depressions on the nail surface, which commonly resemble dewdrops. They might be solitary or many, and their existence in vast numbers supports the diagnosis.
  • Small yellow or brown areas beneath the nail plate can be detected in psoriatic nails. These tiny accumulations of material from the nail bed resemble oil droplets trapped beneath the nail.
  • This describes the separation of the nail plate from the underlying nail bed. While it can also occur with fungus, with psoriasis, it often begins at the distal (free) end of the nail and advances to the base.
  • Psoriatic nails might become brittle and crumble or split along the edges. This can happen in conjunction with other alterations, making the nails look ragged and uneven.

What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an ailment caused by fungi that flourish in warm, damp settings. These fungus can penetrate the nail plate, causing it to discolour, thicken, crumble, and separate from the nail bed.

Key Features of Nail Fungus:

  • Fungal infections usually cause yellow, white, brown, or black staining of the nail plate. The discolouration usually begins at the margins and develops to the centre of the nail as the illness proceeds.
  • Fungal development beneath the nail plate can cause a significant thickening. This thickening may be followed by dystrophy, in which the nail loses its smooth, shining look and becomes rough, deformed, and crumbly.
  • Fungal debris can build behind the thicker nail plate, forming a white or yellow powdery residue. This can exacerbate the nail's look and contribute to its separation from the nail bed.
  • Fungal infection can damage the nail structure, causing it to crumble and fall off easily. Individuals with this illness may have pain as well as cosmetic concerns.

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Similarities Between Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus

  • Both disorders can produce visible changes in nail appearance, such as discolouration, thickness, and deformity.
  • Both nail psoriasis and nail fungus are chronic illnesses that may need long-term treatment to control symptoms and avoid consequences.
  • Both disorders can have a major influence on a person's quality of life owing to cosmetic issues, pain, and functional limitations.
  • If left untreated, nail psoriasis and nail fungus can cause secondary bacterial infections, discomfort, and trouble performing daily chores.
  • Both illnesses can be difficult to treat, and people may need to try a variety of treatments before finding one that adequately relieves symptoms.
  • Certain preventative actions, such as trimming nails, maintaining excellent hand and foot hygiene, and avoiding nail damage, can help those with nail psoriasis and fungus.

Both Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus can produce discoloured, thickened, and crumbly nails, however they have different causes and appearances. Nail Psoriasis, which is related to the autoimmune illness Psoriasis, commonly affects fingernails, causing pitting and probable detachment from the nail bed. Nail Fungus, which is caused by an external infection, usually affects toenails and causes white, yellow, or brown discolouration as well as crumbling without separation. Seeking a professional diagnosis for Nail Psoriasis versus Fungus is critical for receiving appropriate therapy, since Psoriasis requires anti-inflammatory meds, whilst Fungus requires antifungal medication.

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What are the main differences between Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus?

Nail psoriasis is an autoimmune condition characterized by the overproduction of skin cells, leading to thickening, pitting, and discoloration of nails, while nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes, yeasts, or molds invading the nail bed, resulting in yellowing, thickening, and crumbling of nails.

Are there any similarities between Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus?

Both conditions can cause nail discoloration, thickening, and deformities, making it challenging to distinguish them without proper diagnosis.

What are the common features of Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus?

Both conditions can cause discomfort, pain, and embarrassment due to the unsightly appearance of affected nails, impacting the quality of life.

How can I differentiate between Nail Psoriasis and Nail Fungus?

Nail psoriasis often presents with nail pitting, oil spots, and involvement of other psoriatic lesions on the skin, whereas nail fungus typically leads to thick, brittle nails with a yellowish or brownish discoloration.

What are the treatment options for Nail Psoriasis?

Treatment for nail psoriasis includes topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, and systemic medications like methotrexate or biologics, aimed at reducing inflammation and slowing down cell turnover.