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Does Ozempic Affect Your Nails?

Ozempic Nails

Ozempic or semaglutide is a GLP-1 RA which is a drug that helps with managing weight and diabetes.

Its mechanism of action includes regulating blood sugar and satiety directly by making you feel full and via regulating your appetite hormones.

However, both changes in blood glucose and body weight can be seen directly on your face (Ozempic face), your fatty areas such as your tummy and hips (Ozempic butt), and even in your hands (Ozempic hands) including your nails.

Nails can tell a lot about your health. Some of the common diseases that can be traced from slight changes in your nails are:

  • Iron deficiency anemia:

People on weight loss diets, especially those on Ozempic or those who have had bariatric surgery are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.

People with long-standing iron deficiency anemia can have spoon-shaped nails called koilonychia. Platynychia or flat nails develop initially followed by spooning.

If you get tired easily, and develop shortness of breath on exertion, like eating uncooked rice, pencils, paint, or soil, you have iron deficiency anemia.

Get your hemoglobin, Iron, Transferrin saturation, and Ferritin checked. Start Iron supplements.

  • Psoriasis:

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition of the skin and nails. It is strongly associated with diabetes and obesity.

Psoriasis can be diagnosed readily by identifying certain changes in your nails. These include:

  • Nail pitting (small indentations in your nails)
  • Onycholysis (your nail gets separated from your nail bed)
  • Nail ridging
  • Nail thickening (nails become thick and difficult to cut)
  • Brittle nails (Nails easily break)
  • Discolored nails (nails become yellowish and ugly looking)

It is also possible that your psoriasis is diagnosed for the first time when you start using Ozempic. However, weight loss and even Ozempic use have been associated with an improvement in psoriasis [Ref].

  • Thyroid diseases:

Thyroid disorders can affect your nail growth. Striking nail changes include clubbing (also called thyroid acropachy) and onycholysis (nails get separated from the nail bed).

Diabetes and thyroid diseases are strongly linked. Similarly, people on Ozempic may develop changes in their thyroid function.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma is a serious side effect of all GLP-1 analogs including Ozempic.

  • Fungal and bacterial infections:

Fungal infections of nails can be seen as nail discoloration (yellowing and blackening), nail pitting, thickening, and abnormally shaped nails.

Bacterial infections (Paronychia) are painful pus-filled blisters on the sides of your nails.

Diabetics are at risk of developing fungal and bacterial infections of the nails.

  • Malnutrition:

Diabetics and obese people who plan to lose weight may restrict their diet and limit their nutrient intake.

They are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies including protein deficiency, iron, calcium, and other essential nutrient deficiencies.

Malnutrition can cause your nails to become brittle and easily broken. Horizontal Ridges (Beau’s Lines) may develop suggesting a chronic disease process.

ozempic nails nail biting
Nail biting

What are Ozempic Nails?

There is no such term as “Ozempic nails“. People on Ozempic may experience changes in their nails and call them “Ozempic nails”.

  • Bumpy, pitted, thick, and brittle nails:

Even some people may start nail biting while anticipating weight loss and call the change “Ozempic nails” as if Ozempic is responsible for the change in their nails.

It is also possible that people develop nail infections while simultaneously being on Ozempic shots.

Nail infection can cause nail discoloration (yellowing or blackening of nails), nail separation, and nail thickening.

nail discoloration yellow nails or black nails caused by Ozempic
Nail discoloration: yellow black nails caused by fungal nail infections

These changes are not caused by Ozempic. Treating the underlying nail infections can heal the nails and the nails will change back to their normal color and texture.

Nail pitting and bumps in your nails are common in people who have a chronic illness or malnutrition, protein deficiency in particular.

Nail bumps are called Beau’s lines. These are common in people who have ingrown nails removed which regrow with a slight bump or even multiple bumps.

Beau’s lines have been associated with chemotherapeutic drugs but not with Ozempic.

  • Hangnails:

True hangnails are those that appear close to a nail. They are non-painful nail growths very close to the nail’s sides.

Hangnails ozempic nails
Hangnails are extra nail growths appearing from the sides of a normal nail

However, most people refer hangnails to as skin peeling on the side of the skin. It is a painful skin condition and does not have anything to do with the nails.

Hangnails are caused by certain vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Biotin.

Hangnails are also common in women who apply certain nail polishes that are irritant to their skin or women allergic to detergents, soaps, and other household chemicals.

Ozempic shots do not directly cause hangnails, however, lack of vitamins, nutrients, and starvation can cause hangnails and skin to peel off.

So, do not stop Ozempic if you develop hangnails. Try to use non-allergenic detergents, soaps, and nail polish (polish removals).

hangnails ozempic hangnails
Painful skin peeling off from around the nail bed. Most people call these hangnails too.

Take a healthy diet and multivitamins containing an adequate amount of vitamin C, vitamin E, and biotin.

To remove the unwanted hangnails, use cuticle clippers to remove them. It is always best to soak your nails in soapy water for some time to make the nails soft and easy to cut.

nail filing
Nail filing
  • Healthy, shiny, and beautiful nails:

Lastly, apart from the unwanted changes in nails, most people notice that their nails become more healthy, and shiny, and do not break easily when they lose weight.

Some of the positive changes are associated with an improvement in their lifestyles, healthy diet, and exercise which can all lead to better blood circulation.

In addition, better glucose control (as a result of Ozempic) can improve your skin and nail health.

healthy shiny and beautiful ozempic nails
Healthy, shiny, and beautiful nails

In Conclusion:

Even though nail changes are a sign of concern, it is still important to know that research has not shown any link between Ozempic and such nail modifications.

In this case, conditions like an unhealthy meal plan, dehydration, and nutritional deficiencies can be the culprit.

In case you have seen some changes in your nails, you must consult a doctor or dermatologist.

A professional can help you diagnose the problem and propose a solution as well. This will involve the continuation of Ozempic while addressing the other issues.

Nail care in a manicure

Remember that maintaining a lifestyle in favor of health and longevity, full of nutrients and proper hydration is the key to keeping your nails healthy.

By taking care of your body you can support the development of strong nails alongside a healthy weight loss with ozempic.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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