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Introduction to Nail Conditions

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Nail Conditions

Common Nail Conditions

Welcome to NailKnowledge’s Common Nail Conditions. This guide and information should be used for reference when you are faced with unhealthy-looking skin or nails.

REMEMBER – as a Nail Technicians you shouldn’t diagnose, provide advice on unhealthy nails or try and treat such conditions, unless specifically trained, experienced and insured to do so.

The importance of understanding nail and skin conditions

As a nail professional being able to recognise unhealthy nail and skin conditions, is important, as you need to know when a client should be referred to a medical professional, or when you can or cannot work on the skin and nails.

Recognising unhealthy nail and skin conditions is different from diagnosing. There are some adverse conditions that may just need an adjustment to the service or treatment. If you are unsure then leave the diagnosis to the medical profession

Nail and skin conditions covered include:

Conditions involving White Spots (Leukonychia and White Superficial Onychomycosis).


Leukonychia is a medical term for white discolouration appearing on nails. It is derived from the Greek words leuko (“white”) and onyx (“nail”). It can also be referred to as ‘white spots’ or ‘lines’.

Read full article on Leukonychia

White Superficial Onychomycosis

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White Superficial Onychomycosis, often abbreviated to ‘WSO‘, is a condition where white spots are seen on the superficial layer of the nail plate; unlike Leukonychia though, these white spots can be filed off and are as a result of fungal infection rather than any matrix dystrophy.

Read full article on White Superficial Onychomycosis

Conditions involving White Spots:

White Superficial Onychomycosis

Conditions involving Ridges:

Nail Ridges
Beau’s Lines

Conditions which involves dry nails:

Lamellar Dystrophy

Conditions caused by systemic disease:

Splinter Haemorrhages
Nail Clubbing

Conditions involving nail separation:


Conditions involving Fungal Infections:

White Superficial Onychomycosis

Conditions caused by clients/external trauma:

Bruised nail
Nail Biting
Onychocryptosis / Ingrown Nail

Conditions of the skin:

Calluses and Corns

Conditions involving bacterial infections:

  Chloronychia / green nails 

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