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HomeAnswersDermatologynail pigmentationWhat causes black lines on skin and nails?

There is a thin black line on my finger nail. Is it skin cancer or melanoma?

There is a thin black line on my finger nail. Is it skin cancer or melanoma?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At July 22, 2017
Reviewed AtApril 18, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a 25 year old female. Two years back I had noticed a very thin black straight line on my nail in the right hand finger. This line is growing along as my nail grows. Though the line was thin initially, now it has increased in its width and thickness. When I searched in the net about the straight black line on my right hand forefinger, it is showing up as something related to skin cancer or melanoma. I am worried. Should I be concerned about this? I am not very dark, nor very fair. I have wheatish skin. Please advice me. I am attaching a snap of my finger with dark line for your reference.

Also, I used to have three moles on my left hand which had been there since my childhood, but to my surprise two years back they went off easily. I got another very small new mole at a different place on the same hand and that too went away when I scratched it off. Is this something normal?

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com. I can understand your concern.

I have gone through the attached picture (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

Presence of linear pigmented lines on the nails can be due to multiple causes. In white people they are considered abnormal and require thorough assessment including biopsy. In dark skinned people it is a common variant.

The most common cause of these lines is racial factors. Others being drugs, trauma, lichen planus, subungual nevi and malignant melanoma.

You do not have to worry too much, but do keep a watch on the pigmentation. If you notice any variation within the pigmented line or pigmentation on the adjacent nail fold or finger pulp, then consult a dermatologist in person and get yourself evaluated.

Regarding moles at other sites, it is sometimes possible that they can disappear. So you do not have to worry about that.

For further queries, consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Asmeet Kaur Sawhney
Dr. Asmeet Kaur Sawhney

Dermatology

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