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What are the best ways to treat and avoid chronic paronychia?

Age: 6 - 15
Skin, Hair & Nails
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Chronic paronychia is an inflammation of the nail fold. By definition, chronic paronychia occurs when the inflammation persists beyond 6 weeks.

The commonest cause of chronic paronychia is the irritation of the nail fold from contact with:

  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Irritants
  • Trauma to the nail fold

This disrupts the nail fold and allows bacteria and substances to enter and cause inflammation. Chronic paronychia is often seen in occupations like cleaners, food handlers, and housewives. Chronic paronychia can also be due to underlying medical conditions like psoriasis, fungal and bacterial infection.

The best way to avoid or treat chronic paronychia are:

  1. Minimize contact with soap, detergents, and irritants
  2. Wear protective gloves when washing or doing housework
  3. Use gentle soap-free cleansers when washing hands
  4. Regular use of hand moisturizers is important.
  5. Avoid picking and manipulating the nail.
  6. Avoid manicures.

Medical management of chronic paronychia includes treating the underlying cause. Topical antibiotic or antifungal medication may be needed if there is a bacterial or fungal infection suspected. Topical anti-inflammatory creams may also be prescribed.

Do seek proper medical treatment if the paronychia is persistent and not better with the above measures.


Dr Colin Theng
MBBS, MRCP, MMED (Fam. Med), FAMS

The Skin Specialists & Laser Clinic

Mount Alvernia Medical Centre D
820 Thomson Road #07-61
Singapore 574623


36 views 10 Sep 2019
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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