Just as there are many different types of ectodermal dysplasias, there are also many different nail abnormalities that can occur in association with these conditions.

Unknown Toenails

Unknown Nails

The nail is a complex structure formed from the layer of the developing body known as the ectoderm. Not all people who are affected by ectodermal dysplasias will have nail abnormalities. However, nail symptoms for ectodermal dysplasias are fairly common.

Nail conditions may include:

  • poorly developed
  • small
  • thick or thin, brittle
  • discolored

  • cracked
  • abnormally curved
  • ridged nails

In addition, they may grow slowly or shed periodically. Other times, the nails develop light spots, lines, or patches.

Prone to Infection

Nails with any abnormalities are prone to infection. The nails and surrounding cuticle area may become infected by fungus, yeast or bacteria. If this occurs, nails may become thick or discolored, and the area may develop a bad odor, or become swollen and tender.

Nail Abnormalities by Syndrome


Ankyloblepharon-ectodermal dysplasia-cleft lip and/or palate (AEC) syndrome – The nail changes in AEC syndrome are widely variable and include absent or disappearing nails, thinned or thickened nails, irregularly shaped nails and nails with an uneven edge.

AEC Toenails

AEC Nails


Clouston syndrome – The nails can be thick and discolored with very slow growth. They can also lift up off the finger.

Clouston Nails

Clouston Toenails


Ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome  – EEC nail abnormalities can include absent nails, thickening of the nails or small pits in the nails.

EEC Man Nails

EEC Woman Nails


Focal dermal hypoplasia (Goltz) syndrome – The nail changes in Goltz syndrome are quite varied and can include absent nails, ridging and splitting of the nails, along with V-shaped notches at the end of the nails.

Goltz Nails

Goltz Toenails


Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) – Many people affected by HED experience thin nails.

While there are a variety of conditions affecting nails, there are treatment options that you can explore for you or your loved one’s nail abnormalities.

To view this information in a PDF format, download our Nail Abnormalities Info Sheet.

Download the Info Sheet