Itchy nail bed/cuticles/fingertips: I have suddenly... - LUPUS UK


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Itchy nail bed/cuticles/fingertips

Mifford profile image
20 Replies

I have suddenly developed hideously itchy fingers around my nails, just below the nail bed and underneath the nail tip. At first I thought it might be a reaction to my shellac nail varnish which hadn’t cured properly but I’m not so sure it is now as it’s kept going and wouldn’t explain how it also affects the skin under my nail tip where the varnish doesn’t touch.

It’s kicking off worse in the evening and feels like a burning itch and is almost painful but I can’t think of any common denominator when it’s flaring up to determine if it’s a dermatitis type reaction. The area isn’t particularly swollen or red - my little fingers have a bit of red inflammation below the nailbed edge but the others have nothing. The itching does go down to the first fingerjoint on some of the fingers but not all of them. One little finger feels like there is a Whitlow down the side with pressure but there isn’t anything there.

Does anyone have any ideas what it could be or the best way to get rid of it? It’s driving me insane!

Forgot to add that this all started about the time that I came down with a uti and I finished the antibiotics about a week ago - I’m not sure on the timing but I certainly linked both in my mind. Not sure if they can be connected or not

20 Replies
Wendy39 profile image


Just thinking aloud here. Are you photo sensitive? Could it be a lupus reaction to the curing light for your gel manicure? A photo sensitive reaction. Hence the itching and witlow?

I am photo sensitive and have worried about the UV light used in gel / shellac manicures.

I don’t have it done very often. 4 times a year? So have limited my exposure and that number of manicures I can handle.

But i am also aware that I had a very strange reaction at the dentist a year ago?? Where he did a deep filling and used the blue UV curing light a LOT setting it many times as he layered the deep filling. Felt very ill that night and have since discussed this with him. He’d never experienced it with a patient before but us lupies are weird and wonderful.

I might be way off the mark but it was the first thing I thought of.

Wendy x

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to Wendy39

I’m highly photosensitive and bizarrely can’t get them done at the salon because of this but am ok with my home kit as long as I don’t over do it - I know I really shouldn’t do them at all but vanity wins sometimes lol

This has been going on for about 3 weeks though and my reactions tend to be limited to during the exposure. It is still definitely a possibility and was my first suspicion but after this length of time without repeating the exposure it would be most unusual. I will definitely avoid doing them again until this has settled for sure though.

Wendy39 profile image
Wendy39 in reply to Mifford

I know what you mean, about vanity. Lupus makes us feel unattractive and lack self confidence at times, so a manicure as a little pick me up, does more good than harm, I am sure.

On the point of you questioning if it was the sun, as the effects have carried on over 3 weeks, I have a friend who has SCLE and so reacts very badly in the sun. Once the rash has been kicked of by exposure to the sun, the rash continues to spread for weeks/mnonths until the meds get it under control. So it was just on sun exposed parts to start, arms, chest, neck, but once that allergic reaction to the UV was set off, the rash spread rapidly to her back and body that had not been exposed to them sun.

Like I said, I might be way off and it might well be an infection but you should go to your GP either way.

Best wishes


honeybug profile image

Hi Milford

If you have your nails done at a salon it’s quite possible that you’ve caught an infection.

From your description it sounds like you have an infection that has moved up into your fingers.

Please be safe and see your GP for assessment of this. paronychia is the condition I’m thinking of.

Best wishes

EJ. xx

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to honeybug

Thanks. I do them at home myself but that is still a possibility. I looked at this when it first started and did mention the itching to the doctor when she diagnosed the latest uti and she just replied that’s an odd symptom and didn’t check or make further comment. I had a course of antibiotics for that which didn’t help it and I’d have thought it would for an infection but if this doesn’t stop soon I think I’ll go back and get her to look again with that in mind

HazelW profile image

I've had the same reaction on a couple of occasions to my gel nail kit. Made me a bit wary about using it now.

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to HazelW

How long did the reaction last for you? I’m suspecting that may well be the culprit unfortunately but very much hoping it’s not! I put some sudocreme under the nail tip on the worst one last night and it helped a bit so I may try that again tonight and leave everything off my nails for a few weeks until it’s totally settled then do a test nail and see what happens

house77 profile image

It's sounds like a infection to me.see your Dr, for appriate cream/ medication or it's a alligic reaction.xx

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to house77

I wondered when it started but after 3 weeks nothing more has come out and it’s both hands on about 6 fingers total and I’d have thought an infection would behave differently but not sure. Iv3 also had antibiotics since it started and they didn’t help - might see if I can get some anti fungal cream and see if that helps though. Thanks :)

Lupiknits profile image

It could be a new allergy. I’m not a manicure girl myself, but could the lights cause a problem? Just asking because I got a SAD lamp for winter which gave me a stonking butterfly rash. 😕💡

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to Lupiknits

The lights generally react instantly and stops pretty quickly too so unusual for it to continue for 3 weeks as this has now. Having said that I know I really shouldn’t be using it at all but this one cures in around 30 secs each layer so it really is minimal and I use it about once a month average at most. It is possible that it’s become a new reaction though

Lupiknits profile image
Lupiknits in reply to Mifford

Ah, as I said, no idea really. No polish on my nails since nieces wedding 30 yrs ago. I went sea kayaking ( those were the days) and found myself nervous of chipping polish. Got a grip: rather kayak 😂

Cann profile image

I would go with the antibiotic effect of destroying the good bacteria on the skin as they work on all the body's natural bacteria, too.

We shouldn't pick up infections if our bacterial make-up is normal.

I learnt the hard way - antibiotics destroyed my unique individual make-up of bacteria which everyone has and is different for each, of course.

I use 1 drop of tea tree oil in around 10 drops of base oil to ease my itching around my nails that arose after courses of strong antibiotics and doctors can do nothing for it, they said.

I suffer when I wear garden gloves which is a pity because I love the garden, but they are even worse without gloves if I handle soil and plants.

I hope you find something to help.

Mifford profile image

As an update it seems sudocreme helps overnight but hydrocortisone cream doesn’t so I’m thinking less allergy. The skin around the two itchiest has now gone a bit dry and flaky around the itchiest bits so I’m thinking athletes foot type fungal infection is looking most likely. I’ve ordered some athletes foot cream to try which will be here tomorrow and will see if that helps and go from there.

Tiras profile image


My situation is not like yours but, I have issues with my nails from Lupus also. However my nails will curl up and down (one nail may curl up the next curl down), this is fingers and toes, my nails will split, crack, peal, or just come off! For the last year and a half my dermatologist has prescribed a nail treatment. I have to go barefoot 100% of the time also due to Lupus skin issues. I am a guy so, the treatment is supposed to be a natural/nude color but, at times when we pick it up from the pharmacy it has been a pink color! It is embarrassing for me to be out with pink nails! My wife (Laura) tell me pink nails look better than seeing the ugly and bad places when the nails come off!

Laura does my nails weekly, and I do get a lot of comments now of how neat and nice my nails look, yes both fingers and toes!😂

I know this did absolutely nothing to help you, other than to let you know you are not alone with nail issues.😊♥️

Wishing you the best!

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to Tiras

I have a husband who is 6’4 tall and about the same across and is a former marine. In his words “real men wear pink” 😊

I hope your treatment helps soon x

Tiras profile image
Tiras in reply to Mifford

Thank You!

Chanpreet_Walia profile image

Hi Mifford,

It may be likely that the UV light (even if used for 30 seconds or so) could have triggered a reaction? There are many factors which can affect the nails of someone with lupus, you may like to read our blog article on lupus and the nails at

You may also find our booklet on lupus and the skin helpful too -

Mifford profile image
Mifford in reply to Chanpreet_Walia

Thank you - the nail article was very interesting and there are things 8 never knew were related to the lupus.

I am highly photosensitive with both the lupus and solar urticaria so really shouldn’t be using the uv light. But my reaction is usually so immediate (96 seconds on phototesting) that I’d assumed I would know mmediately. I’m going to avoid using it for a while and see what happens.

Interestingly I have just been put on mycophenelate which from the article may be part of the issue. I did put some lamasil once on the nails last night and it has helped with all save one so I think this may be a skin infection. I’ve just got some daktarin to use on the stubborn one so fingers crossed it’ll clear up quickly :)

Itchyfingertips profile image

I am having, have had, the same problem. For me its always both thumbs and pinky fingers. Occasionally others will do it too. And the skin on my finger tip will get patchy/scaly and I basically feel like ripping it off repeatedly until it decides to stop. I do not do my nails ever for those that asked you. And as far as I know I don't have lupus. But I haven't found anyone else describe my symptoms like you have. Did you ever find an answer???

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