Michael Jackson had abnormal fingernails, but not due to his vitiligo & lupus!

August 26, 2009

Michael Jackson's fingernails in 2005.Michael Jackson's fingernails at the World Music Awards, november 15, 2006.Michael Jackson's fingernails spotted earlier this year (february, 2009).
Michael Jackson’s fingernails in 2005 (left), 2006 (center) & 2009 (right) – ‘click’ for larger versions!

Michael Jackson had abnormal fingernails, but his nails were not related to his vitiligo & lupus!

While the first autopsy results related to Michael Jackson’s death were presented earlier this week, there are still many discussions about the state of Michael Jackson’s health – only a few days before his death his health was described by his spokesman Doctor Tohme Tohme as: a ‘perfect health‘.

In the perspective of his death it is also important to know that Michael Jackson was diagnosed in 1986 with vitiligo and lupus. Lupus is known as a potentially lethal disease (heart disease is a major complication in lupus!), but in Michael Jackson it was recognized to be in remission. Anyhow, one can still wonder: can his fingernail problems be related to the vitiligo and/or the lupus? The answer to this question appears to be a simple: ‘no’!

For, vitiligo is related to the following nail disorders:

• Longitudinal striations;
• Trachyonychia (thin & lusterless nails);

And lupus is related to the following nail disorders:

• Nail spooning;
• Irregular, twisted, and dilated vessels at the cuticle.


Out of the 4 described fingernail disorders related to vitiligo and lupus, the 4th can be related to his hand deterioration that was observed in 2009. But none of these fingernail disorders can be related to the typical looks of Michael Jackson’s fingernails during the last 3 years of his life.

But one should not forget that Michael Jackson’s fingernail problems were first recognized by the media in 2006, when members of Michael Jackson’s family were terrified that his escalating dependence on prescription drugs had become a danger to his life.

While Michael Jackson’s lupus was considered to be in remission, one could also speculate that his hand deterioration + his sudden death might have signaled a lupus relapse … due to an excessive use of prescription drugs???


In memoriam: ‘The hands of Michael Jackson’!
How Michael Jackson’s autopsy results relate to his hand
Michael Jackson’s hands: a clue to his sudden death?
Michael Jackson’s hands: a manicurist’s worst nightmare!

Another example of Michael Jackson’s “unhealthy” dark fingernails:
Michael Jackson's fingernails in 2007.


8 Responses to “Michael Jackson had abnormal fingernails, but not due to his vitiligo & lupus!”

  1. karen trapp Says:

    Dark nails can also be a sign of resparitory distress. It could be that the person suffers from tissue perfusion insufficency. Spooning nails or dark purple colored nails indicates that the body is not getting enough oxygen. Michael took alot of meds that caused drowsiness, therefore decreasing breathing efforts, slowing down blood flow. This causes blood to become thick, to clot, don’t be surprised if it comes back the he had a pulmonary embolism as well. When you take alot of meds that make you sleep, all your doing is slowing down everything! I just wonder why all these so called doctors did not get Mike to take a sleep study test and force him to go into rehab and get detoxed.

  2. Hello Karen Trapp,

    Thanks for your detailed comment. Yes, your explanation on how ‘dark nails’ may develop sounds very sensible.

    Actually, quite a lot of people responded to the reports about Michael Jackson’s fingernails with the assumption that these could be related to his natural skin color.

    Therefore, I created another chapter on his fingernails with a PHOTO ESSAY on his fingernails during the 2nd half of his life (1983-2009), see:


    Regards, Martijn.

  3. Heather Says:

    Karen Trapp,

    Your observations seem to have been confirmed. The leaked autopsy report (Associated Press, Oct 1) states that he had chronically inflamed lungs. His other organs were healthy. Although he admitted to having a problem with painkillers in the mid nineties, there were no other drugs (legal or illegal)in his system at time of death. There was no alcohol.
    I think he should have taken a sleep study too. That would be the sensible approach, not sleep medication. But I now believe the rumors about his personal drug use were largely exaggerated opinions.
    In spite of all the gossip and speculation about his drug usage immediately after his death, none of it has proved true. That’s why his death has been ruled a homicide. The only meds in his system had been administered by the doctor and paramedics. It’s very sad…

  4. Kathy Says:

    Another reason for possible changes in nails, or the color of the fingers under the nails, could be Raynaud’s syndrome. Raynaud’s is directly related to Lupus as a secondary disease, and causes blood vessels in the extremities to constrict. Most commonly effected are the fingers & toes, but it can also spread further into the body. For example, it’s common for both of my feet to be affected. The constricted blood vessels cause the extremities to freeze extremely easily! Stress will also cause the blood flow to be constricted. It’s very painful and causes discoloration of the skin. Lupus patients will have active Raynaud’s symptoms whether their Lupus is in remission or not. It would not be related to the Vitaligo. I also have Lupus and Vitaligo, so I hope this helps.

    • yourfingernails Says:

      Thanks Kathy,

      Interesting comment!! But … I don’t think that the typical characteristics of Raynaud’s disease have been observed on Michael Jackson’s hands. Do you?

      Regards, Martijn.

  5. Kathy Says:

    Absolutely! The only visually obvious characteristic there is, is discoloration. His fingers are darker under his nails….exactly like mine. The outside observer wouldn’t know if he is experiencing numbness or pain, but the discoloration is pretty evident. Judging from how I have seen him hold his hands at times, I would assume he had some nerve damage in his fingers, meaning loss of feeling in them. (I have no feeling in any of my fingertips.) Since Raynaud’s is extremely common in Lupus patients, it’s a pretty safe assumption that he would experience it.

  6. Justice Says:

    The use of Hydroquinone, a bleaching Agent which was contained in Michael’s Vitiligo Medication has a side effect.. it discolours nails. I have seen nails like his in West Africa were the use of Hydroquinone for Social not Medical use is quite prevalent.

    It may be the reason for his nails being that colour.
    God rest his Sweet Soul.

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