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August 1959

Azure Lunulae

Author Affiliations


From the Medical Service of the Buffalo Veterans Administration Hospital.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(2):224-226. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560200092016

Bluish discoloration of the nails has been reported in different conditions and under a variety of circumstances. The whole nail is discolored in argyria1,2 after prolonged use of quinacrine hydrochloride,3 in paronychia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa,4,5 and on exposure to sunlight following soaking in bichloride of mercury.6 Discoloration in argyria occurs in association with involvement of skin and mucous membranes and does not disappear with the passage of time in contrast to the latter three circumstances where removal of the cause is followed by gradual disappearance of the discoloration.

Bluish coloration limited to the lunule of the nail was noted by Campbell, in 1931, following use of phenolphthalein.7 The fate of the discoloration in this case with the passage of time is not mentioned. More recently, Bearn and McKusick observed the phenomenon in two cases of Wilson's disease8 and