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  5. 7 Reasons for Dark Skin Around Nails And How To Treat It

Is the dark skin around your nails ruining your appearance? Dark cuticles or dark skin around the nails can be unsightly. But don’t fret.

Understanding the root cause behind your dark skin and following a few easy steps, can give you the pretty and healthy-looking hands you desire.

Read about the major causes behind dark cuticles. Also learn about the treatments that will help you get rid of these.

What Expert Says

“The majority of dark cuticle cases are the result of dehydration and vitamin B deficiency. Unhygienic habits such as biting nails and thumb-sucking can also trigger the issue. People with dark cuticles often experience chapped skin around the nails. Getting rid of unhealthy habits and adding nutritional food to your diet will improve the condition.”

Dr. Harish Koutam, Chief Dermatologist, SkinKraft

7 Causes For Dark Skin Around Nails

1. Weather

The weather in your city can affect your skin and body. As hands are the most exposed and used part of your body, nails often bear the brunt of weather changes. Season changes or extreme weather conditions like extreme cold and extreme hot and humidity are triggering factors for skin darkening around your nails.

During the summers, coming in contact with direct sunlight exposes your skin to the harmful UVA and UVB rays [1]. These burn your skin and increase melanin production which darkens your skin tone. During summer, you tend to sweat more and take more showers with soap. Excessive washing and usage of soap darken your skin around nails too.

During winter, cold winds and dry weather strips away your skin’s moisture and makes it dry, which leads to skin darkening.

2. Chemical Products

You may commonly use chemical-based products for varied household work. Regularly used products like soap, detergent, and even cosmetics have chemicals too. These are harmful and reactive and can affect your skin.

Products like nail paints and nail-paint remover may also cause allergies, due to the presence of acetone [2]. Methanol is another chemical that causes allergic reactions. Latex gloves may also lead to darkening of skin around your nails.

3. Dehydration

Drinking less water and washing hands excessively can lead to dehydration. This loss is prominent during the summer season, when your skin can lose its moisture. Being under the scorching sun may also affect your skin’s hydration. During winter, we tend to drink less water which can dehydrate us too. All of these ultimately leads to skin darkening.

4. Nutritional Deficiency

Many of you might forget to take meals on time or do not follow a healthy diet. Unhealthy eating habits, insufficient nutrition and too much junk food take a toll on your health. Lack of required nutrition leads to nutritional deficiency which can lead to several health conditions including dark cuticles around your fingernails.

5. Medical Conditions

Sometimes, bruises and cuts near your nail can darken your skin. Fungal infections like eczema and psoriasis in your hand may spread to your fingers and darken the skin around your nail. Fungal infections can be treated with antifungal drugs like imidazole and ketoconazole.

Black cuticles around your nails can also be symptoms of underlying diseases like heart problems, kidney disease and even skin cancer. If you have other symptoms along with dark skin, visit a doctor immediately to seek medical advice.

woman biting her nails

6. Unhealthy Habits

Habits such as nail-biting or thumb sucking allow bacteria to enter your body. This may lead to many health issues. Also biting nails causes cuts and bruises that eventually darken your skin. Constantly sucking your thumb will reduce the moisture of your skin, making it dry. In both cases, you may see the cuticles around nails turning black.

7. Allergic Reaction

Certain ingredients in your cosmetic products like hand cream and moisturizers may cause allergic reactions in your hands. This can darken the skin around your nail. Some food items may also cause allergies in your body including your fingers. Some of you might also get exposed to a variety of ingredients in your work life, which may act as allergens. As a result, the skin around your nails becomes darker.

woman hands nail salon receiving manicure

How To Treat Dark Skin Around Nails?

Dark cuticles are easily reversible. According to our chief dermatologist, Dr Harish Koutam, “The majority of dark cuticle cases are the result of dehydration and vitamin B deficiency. Unhygienic habits such as biting nails and thumb-sucking can also trigger the issue. People with dark cuticles often experience chapped skin around the nails. Getting rid of unhealthy habits and adding nutritional food to your diet will improve the condition.”

Here are few easy ways to get rid of dark skin around the nails.

1. Manicure & Pedicure

Cleaning your fingers can do wonders in treating the skin around your nails. Manicure and pedicure are also great options to treat your darkened skin. These procedures allow your nails to be cleaned, shaped and washed properly. It makes your nails strong and healthy too. Skin exfoliation done during manicure and pedicure helps to remove the dead skin cells and stimulate blood circulation.

2. Nutritious Food

Lack of Vitamin B12 and B6 is one of the primary causes of dark skin around your nails.[3] Maintain a proper diet and take food that contains vitamin B6 and B12. Including foods such as walnuts, milk, bananas, spinach, sunflower seeds, eggs, cheese, chicken, shrimp, salmon, tuna etc. can make your skin and nails healthy and glowing.

3. Home Remedies

A. Milk Cream & Oat Scrub

Milk is enriched with moisturizing benefits. Take some milk cream in a bowl and mix it with oats to make a highly beneficial scrub. Add a few drops of lemon and honey to it. Scrub the dark skin around your nails for a few minutes and then wash it off.

B. Lemon & Sugar Scrub

Lemon has vitamin C which works great for skin lightening [4]. Take the juice of half a lemon and mix it with crushed sugar. Scrub your skin around the nails gently. This will slowly lighten your skin and the sugar will provide moisturization to your damaged skin.

C. Buttermilk

Using your regular calamine or sandal powder as a base, mix in 2-3 drops of buttermilk. You can also add some saffron. Apply the buttermilk pack around your nails and keep it for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water.

D. Tomato Slices

Tomatoes are often used to remove skin darkening. It also brightens your skin naturally. Cut a tomato into slices. Rub the slices around your nails and leave it overnight. Practice this routine regularly to get the best results.

E. Aloe Vera Gel

This rich source of antioxidants helps in rejuvenating damaged skin. Apply it on the problem areas, every night before sleeping. It will not only lighten your skin but also soften it.

F. Potato Juice

Potato is a cleanser with pigmentation fighting abilities. It can even out your skin tone. Take the juice of one potato and apply it on your fingers. Leave for at least 15 minutes and wash off with water.

Tips To Prevent Dark Skin Around Nails

1. Do not bite your nails or suck your thumbs.

2. Limit your hand washes and avoid using excessive water with hands.

3. Avoid wearing latex gloves over a long period.

4. Keep the skin around your nails moisturized.

5. Limit your usage of nail paint and nail paint remover. Stop using these if you are allergic.

6. Keep your nails clean to reduce the chances of fungal or bacterial infection.

Wrapping Up

Keeping your hands healthy and good-looking doesn’t require much effort. A few healthy habits, easy and quick treatments and tips can really help. You also need to know your skin type and choose the right products to moisturize and rejuvenate the dark area around your nails.Know more about your skin type and determine what it needs.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin