Home Remedies

Causes of nail pitting and Home remedies for pitted nails

Nail pitting is a really troublesome problem that people suffering from certain diseases experience. Hands are one of the most important parts of our body. Our hands appear attractive if we have attractive and healthy nails.

Nail pitting makes our hands look unattractive. It is a cause of concern for many people. Nail pitting or pitted nails are the development of small dents or depressions or pits on the surface of the nails. These pits are about the size of pin head. Sometimes, these dents are larger in size.

This nail abnormality is caused due to various diseases. Pitted nails can be associated with many other abnormalities of the nails like the development of separation of the nail from the nail bed, development of flakes over the nails and also crumbling of the nails.

nail pitting

Causes of nail pitting or pitted nails:

Nail pitting can be caused due to many different types of diseases. Some of these diseases are minor and less troublesome, while some other diseases are really very dangerous to health. Whenever a person develops nail pitting, he or she will need to visit a physician for an appropriate diagnosis.

Your physician will evaluate all other signs and symptoms of your body apart from nail pitting, perform a physical examination and then conclude about your disease. Your physician will be able to guide you about the necessary steps you need to take, the treatment of nail pitting required, etc.

Let us look at some of the most common diseases that are associated with nail pitting. Let us also know some more details about the diseases causing pitted nails too. The diseases causing pitting nails are as follows:


Psoriasis is one of the most common diseases associated with nail pitting. Almost half of the people suffering from this disease develop pitted nails. It is a type of autoimmune diseases, a disease in which our immune system fights against our own body due to some disordered mechanism and produces the disease.

In psoriasis, red patches are developed all over the skin which scales and itches a lot. In addition to the skin patches, psoriasis also affects the nails mostly. It produces nail pitting and some other nail changes too like white spots on the nails, bleeding under the nails, the formation of thick skin under the nails, etc.

Alopecia areata:

Alopecia areata is also an autoimmune disorder in which there are multiple patches of hair loss over our scalp. In addition to hair loss on the scalp, alopecia areata is one of the reasons for developing pitted nails.

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Eczema is a skin disease in which there is the development of various types of skin rash like blisters, plaques, etc. It can be associated with some other diseases like asthma and hay fever. Atopic dermatitis is also a type of Eczematous disease. Nail pitting is also a feature of Eczema.

Atopic dermatitis:

Atopic dermatitis is an allergic disease of the skin in which the skin is sensitive and develops an allergic reaction in response to many different allergens or irritants. It is a disease with symptoms like Eczema. There is the development of dry, scaly and itchy skin patches in atopic dermatitis, in addition to nail pitting.


Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease of the body in which many organs are affected like the skin, lungs, kidneys, nails, etc. In sarcoidosis, nail pitting is also one of the symptom, but not a major and common one.

Lichen planus:

Lichen planus is the name of the disease in which there is the development of an itchy rash on the skin anywhere in the body. The exact cause for the development of lichen planus is not known. In lichen planus also, pitted nails are seen as a minor feature.

Reiter’s disease or Reiter’s syndrome:

Reiter’s syndrome is a disease seen most commonly in young men and it has many symptoms like conjunctivitis, urethritis, arthritis, sausage-shaped digits, pitted nails, etc.


Pemphigus is also an autoimmune disorder which has the development of many blisters on the skin and also mucous membranes like mouth, etc. It also has pitted nails or pitting nails as a minor feature.

Some other causes of nail pitting:
  • Chemical irritants
  • Chemical dermatitis
  • Incontinentia pigmenti
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Fungal infections
  • Traumatic incidents

Home remedies for pitted nails or nail pitting:

We have discussed all the possible causes and diseases of nail pitting. Now, let us look at some of the most common home remedies or natural treatments that can be easily done at home to reduce nail pitting to some extent.


Improper diet is the main reason behind many diseases. Even, some diseases causing nail pitting like psoriasis are aggravated by abnormal dietary habits. So, it is absolutely essential to maintain healthy dietary habits to control nail pitting.

Try to include more green leafy vegetables, fruits, and raw vegetables in your diet. Always try to cut down junk foods or fast foods which have no nutritive value at all. Don’t eat oily or fried foods in excessive quantities.

You need a diet rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins or amino acids. You need minerals like calcium, zinc, iron for healthy growth of nails. Amino acids are Methionine and Cysteine are also required to promote healthy nail growth.


Water is an important part of our body. All our bodily processes are maintained in a proper way due to the intake of adequate amount of water. Accumulation of various toxins in the body is the reason behind many diseases including the autoimmune diseases which cause nail pitting.

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Intake of a proper amount of water daily flushes out all the toxins in the body. This helps in preventing the development of all the autoimmune diseases and other health ailments. Sufficient water intake is also necessary to control pitted nails or nail pitting.

Water therapy or hydrotherapy of the nails which is conducted at various Ayurvedic medical centers and also health spas is also very effective in controlling nail pitting and the diseases causing pitted nails.

Nail protection:

Protecting the nails is absolutely essential to prevent the development of nail pitting and to treat them. Always ensure that your nails are dry. Don’t soak your fingers in water for prolonged periods of time. Wear any gloves when doing any heavy work or work involving water or dirt to protect your nails.

Avoid using nail polish removers that contain alcohol. Also, try to avoid manicures and pedicures as you need to soak your hands and foot in the water for a long time which can aggravate nail pitting. Avoid the usage of any artificial nails for which you need to use nail glue to attach them to your nails. These can damage the nails and aggravate nail pitting.

Tea tree oil:

Sometimes nail pitting is caused by certain infections like fungi. So, these fungal infections causing nail pitting can be curbed by using tea tree oil. Just take 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil and apply it over the areas with dents on the nails or the pits on the nails. Regular application of tea tree oil is quite effective in controlling nail pitting.

Epsom salt nail soak:

Soaking your nails in warm water is really good to control nail pitting. But, always ensure that the temperature of the water is just warm enough to soak your nails. The temperature of the water should not be too hot as it can damage the nails and aggravate your problem.

Add a spoon of Epsom salt to the warm water. Soak your hands or nails in it for 10 to 15 minutes. This ensures that the pitting of nails is removed very well. Then remove your hands from the warm water and pat your hands and nails dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Neem oil:

Neem oil is being used In traditional Ayurvedic remedies to treat various ailments from times immemorial. Neem oil that is extracted from the Neem plant helps in killing various nail infections like fungi, bacteria, etc. It is an excellent antiseptic.

Neem oil can control nail psoriasis too which is one of the major reasons behind the development of pitted nails. In addition to tea tree oil, you can also use neem oil to control nail pitting. Just take 2 to 3 drops of Neem oil and apply it over the nails and massage well. Regular neem oil application over the nails will surely help in reducing the pitting of the nails.

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Intake of spices:

Nail pitting is caused by various autoimmune diseases. It can lead to pain too. Some people with low immunity levels and weak bodies suffer from severe pain. People with a strong immune system and strong body suffer from mild to moderate pain due to nail pitting.

Whether you suffer from mild, moderate or severe pain due to pitted nails, intake of certain spices is sure to help you in alleviating the pain. The most important spices that assist in pain control are Capsaicin and black pepper.

The main mechanism by which these spices alleviate pain is due to the heat generated in the body by them and also the blockage of the sensory pain nerves which carry the pain sensation to the brain from the nail pitting regions.


Substances which are alkaline can control the nail pitting symptoms. Among them, Vinegar is one of the most common alkaline substance which is used regularly to treat nail pitting.

You can directly apply the Vinegar over the dents of pitted nails, massage well, and then leave it for 5 to 10 minutes. Then wash your nails with lukewarm water and pat them dry with a cotton towel or cloth.

Alternatively, you can add few spoons of Vinegar to some warm water and soak your nails in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Then remove your nails from the Vinegar water and pat them dry. Regular usage of Vinegar is known to produce desirable results in controlling nail pitting or nail psoriasis.

Salicylic acid:

Salicylic acid is really effective when applied topically. It is generally used to treat many disorders like psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, acne, dandruff, etc. It is easily available in the medical stores or drug stores. You don’t need the prescription of a doctor to buy Salicylic acid.

Just take a little Salicylic acid and apply it well over the pits in the nail pitting areas. This helps in peeling off the rough pits or dents. It helps in smoothing of the nails. Doctors prescribe this remedy to control nail psoriasis.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is absolutely essential to control the problem of nail psoriasis or nail pitting. Just stand in the sun or expose yourself to Sun early in the morning. This gives you ample Vitamin D.

You can also take supplements which contain vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements generally come in combination with calcium. This calcium and vitamin D supplements are good for your nail health and they curb the problem of nail pitting.

You have seen all the possible causes of nail pitting and also the home remedies for pitted nails. Try to consult a doctor to find out the exact cause of your nail pitting. Then follow these home remedies in addition to the drugs treatment that your physician gives to treat the underlying cause of nail pitting.

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