What is Paronychia Skin Disease

This disease is a red, irritating condition which borders around your toenails or fingernails. This condition can be both acute, meaning not serious, or chronic, meaning recurring. Paronychia is classified as one of the two depending on how long it lasts as well as how often.

When you have acute paronychia, it can be quite painful as it develops over a one to two day period. Typically a trauma to the nail can trigger paronychia as well as simple nail biting, hangnails, and ingrown nails. Sometimes, bacterial infections can also cause this skin disease that affects the nail area. Staph bacteria are the common culprits in these cases, although other bacteria are sometimes found as well.

Acute Paronychia

Acute paronychia can be treated with a salt water soak a few times a day. The salt water helps draw out the infection from the nail. Sometimes, pus can collect at the site so a doctor should be called upon to help drain the pus by using a needle to puncture the area infected.

More serious cases of this acute skin disease sometimes require the partial or total removal of the nail. Antibiotics are a definite when it comes to treating the infection with this acute version of paronychia.

If you have chronic paronychia, this particular version of the skin disease develops slowly so you may not have much pain. Typically, the chronic version is the result of prolonged exposure to some outside irritant or environmental factor. If you deal with water on the hands or feet a lot, like a dishwasher or nail technician in a nail salon, you just might develop chronic paronychia. Thumb and finger suckers, like children and toddlers, may also develop this skin disease.

A fungal infection can complicate matters when it comes to chronic paronychia. Luckily, topical antifungal treatments can be applied to the affected site or you can even take an oral antifungal medication. The fungal infection can cause irritation and swelling to the area of the nail which in turn can open it up to further infection from bacteria.


The best treatment for chronic paronychia is to remove the element causing the problem in the first place. Dishwashers could wear long rubber gloves to protect the nail and skin area from becoming totally saturated with water. Avoid direct contact with known environmental irritants like soap, pesticides and more. And most of all, do not visit nail salons during your paronychia moments just in case the salon does not practice proper hygienic methods.

There are certain medical conditions which can make you more prone to paronychia complications like a suppressed immune system caused by such things as chemotherapy, diabetes or even general poor blood circulation. If you have any of these conditions and you develop paronychia, it is important to seek the advice of a doctor immediately to stave off any type of infection. When caught early, this skin condition which involves the nails can be quickly resolved with few ill side effects.