What Is Toenail Fungus & Its Causes
Toenail fungus is a localized infection of one or more toenails caused by fungal organisms. The most common of these is called dermatophyte. Yeast and mold can also cause infection. Most of these infections begin when the agents that cause athletes foot spread into the nail. It is unusual to get an infection from someone else, but damp areas such as locker rooms can spread them.
Foot Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
A foot fungus is a fungal infection of the skin, better known as athletes foot, says Sundling. The fungus enters through cracks in the skin. Its known as athletes foot because athletes or anyone who is more active and sweats a lot is more at risk. Kids are also more at risk, because they dont tend to wear different shoes, and changing your shoes is one way to avoid foot fungus.
Foot fungus is very common. It does not mean that someone is dirty or didnt bathe, and if you have a compromised immune system, you may be more susceptible, says Sundling.
When Does Nasty Nail Fungus Require Medical Intervention
Some people have a hard time clipping their nails. A podiatrist can help. There are some color changes that require medical attention. White nails could be a sign of liver or kidney damage. Pale nails may indicate anemia, nutritional problems or even heart failure.
A dark streak or a black spot under a nail requires medical oversight to rule out melanoma. People with diabetes may also need special treatment to avoid complications.;
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Gel Nails Off At Home
When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
What About Other Nail Care Tools
Its a similar scenario here. As we wrote in last months blog, nail and skin care tools like toenail clippers, nail files, and the like should never be shared from person-to-person. We also recommend you use separate clippers for toenails and fingernails, and clean and sterilize your tools after use.
Bonus tip: although its tempting to try to deal with a fungal toenail by attempting to trim it as short as possible, this is usually counterproductive. Cutting your nail too short usually means more trauma to the nail bed and a greater opportunity for further infection.
You May Like: What Is The Best Nail Glue
Pros And Cons Of Wearing Nail Polish While You Have A Nail Fungus Infection
Nail Polish can cover up your nail fungus, covering up your thick, yellow, brittle toenails while giving your viewers the impression of a healthy toenail. However, even though, you have given the impression of healthy nails, using traditional kiarasky gel polish will do more harm than good. The striegent chemicals in these nail polishes will cause further damage to the nail fungus infection. If you are using fugal infections treatments in combination with using nail polish the polish will slow the penetration of the topical fungal infection treatment, thus reducing the cure efficiency. Also painting a unhealthy nail and then painting a healthy nail could further spread fungus infection to the healthy nail.
Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts; youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.;
Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.;
Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.
Read Also: What Kills Nail Fungus Fast
How Do I Know If My Toenail Fungus Is Healing
Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. You will know that the treatment is working and the infection is clearing up when you see growth of a new, healthy nail from the base of the nail bed.
Does Fungi Nail Work On Toenail Fungus
Best Ointment: Fungi Nail Antifungal Ointment Once applied, the maximum-strength ointment kills the fungus with the active ingredients of zinc undecylenate and undecylenic acid to help treat toenail fungus. The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin.
Recommended Reading: Can You Use Glue On Impress Nails
Why Vicks For Toenail Fungus
Now that we know how someone could get toenail fungus, lets talk a possible treatment: Vicks Vapor Rub. What is it about this cough and cold medicine that helps with infected toenails? Good question.
One of the ingredients in Vicks is thyme oil and it has been shown to remove fungus from underneath toenails.
In the January-February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a study was printed in which eighteen people who were dealing with toenail fungus applied Vicks to the affected area.
Five of the participants were cured, ten saw their symptoms improve, and three participants experienced no changes at all.
Of the five people who were cured, only two kinds of fungus were identified Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Candida parapsilosis. This suggests that the treatments effectiveness may depend on the type of fungus that someone has on their toe.
Nasty Nail Fungus And The Yuck Factor:
We know that infected nails are ugly. They can start out a pale yellow color. As the nail gets thicker and more brittle, it may become a darker shade of yellow. As the fungus advances, the color may change from yellow to brown. In some cases, a really nasty nail fungus case may even turn black and start to crumble. Clipping such nails becomes a challenge.;
Fungus on the toes nails. Twisted toes on the foot with calluses. Hallux rigidus tends to affect males foot.
You May Like: Does Nail Polish Remover Kill Bed Bugs
Best Non Prescription Nail Fungus Treatment Tw
When the nail begins to crumble and, every now and then, splits from the nail bed, it turns into automatically obvious.
This will encourage the expansion of really useful micro organism, which may also help to fight off the an infection. When people have nail fungus, they from time to time make the mistake of protecting their nails with polish out of embarrassment and a desire to disguise the appearance and discolouration of their nails. This, although, is inaccurate as a result of your nails should forever be exposed to light if you are looking to treat them as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that fungus prospers in gloomy environments, so avoid using dark nail paints and false nails to stay away from an infection. It is possible that some home treatments might be useful in fighting fungal development. Among other things, mouthwash, bleach, and apple cider vinegar can be utilized.
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
Also Check: Where To Buy Dashing Diva Press On Nails
How To Use Uv Lamps For Toenails Fungus
Nowadays, people are able to buy their own UV lamps to do this treatment themselves. Does UV light kill fungus? Using this light directed at the affected area can be very effective. In order to apply the correct treatment so the fungus does not return, it is important to also treat the shoes on the inside with the UV light. If a lamp is not available, then direct sunlight can also do the job. If the shoe is not treated, then the fungus can re-infect the toes. This is true whether you choose to use medication to treat the problem, or whether a UV light is used. The spores have to be killed for this re-infection not to happen. Of course with any therapy, when a novice takes on the task of treating the problem, it can become somewhat complicated. It always needs to be done with caution.
Many feel that UV therapy is the best treatment for nail issues. Whether this is true or not, it is becoming one of the most popular methods of treating nail fungus. The good thing about it is the fungal spores are completely destroyed by the light, therefore the fungus does not return. Any bacteria is also destroyed when using the light. The nail plate is also left in tact. With medications and creams, the nail plate can be left damaged.
How To Prevent Both Foot And Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the same condition, the following tips can help you prevent both, says Sundling:
- Practice good hygiene, such as keeping your feet clean.
- Alternate your shoes during the week. Your feet sweat all day long. Alternating your shoes allows them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks that help dry out shoes and kill fungus. You can find these at running stores and athletic stores. If your socks are exceptionally sweaty, changing them more than once per day can help.
- Wear shoes in public places like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to limit exposure to fungus.
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Gel Nail Polish Online
What Oral Medications Are Available
To treat fungal nail infections from inside the body, you can take tablets that inhibit the growth of fungi or kill them. They are all prescription-only. Terbinafine and itraconazole are typically used for this purpose.
- Terbinafine is preferred if the nail fungus is caused by a skin fungus . This is usually the case.
- Itraconazole is generally used if the nail infection is caused by yeast or mold.
Itraconazole and terbinafine tablets can both be taken either continuously or with breaks between treatments. But they are used differently:
Nails Are Tricky To Treat
Unfortunately, fungal or bacterial infections of your nail bed are hard to treat. Prescription drugs range from 35%-65% success rate, so anything OTC would likely be even less than that, says , podiatrist in North Carolina and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. Why are these types of issues so hard to treat? Because nails, especially toenails, have lots of layers, so there are more areas for the fungus or bacteria to penetrate, and if it gets into the cells responsible for growing the nail, its even harder.
Recommended Reading: How To Nail Hardwood Flooring
Nail Polish And Onychomycosis
The use of nail polish has been primarily aesthetic since the elites of ancient Egypt and China had first used them. In a variety of shades and colors, may it be cracked, glittered, flaked, speckled, iridescent, or holographic, nail polish has definitely transcended through the times. Nail polish can instantly beautify the nails and give them a fresh and healthier look. While it holds true to its purpose, wearing nail polish all the time can also mask certain nail abnormalities. There are lesser chances of spotting early onset of nail problems. Discolorations can also be hard to differentiate because this may either be due to prolonged wear of nail polishes or a sign of a nail infection.;Onychomycosis, or nail fungal infections as it is commonly known, is a common nail infection. It happens when fungus infects the nail causing it to be deformed or discolored. When left undetected and untreated due to the use of nail polish, nail fungus may progressively get harder to cure and difficult to manage.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
J Dermatolog TreatMed MycolDiabet MedN Engl J MedJ Am Board Fam MedJ Eur Acad Dermatol VenereolBr J DermatolBr J DermatolJ Eur Acad Dermatol VenereolTrichophyton rubrumMed MycolBr J DermatolJ Pharm SciJ DermatolMycosesJ Eur Acad Dermatol VenereolTrichophyton rubrumTrichophyton rubrumActa Derm VenereolMycosesJ Clin Pharm TherBr J Dermatol
Don’t Miss: Is Orly Nail Polish Vegan
What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails
A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.
Nail Polish And Contaminated Equipment
A 2018 study found evidence that fungi may be able to live and multiply in some nail polishes. It may be a good idea to avoid sharing nail polish.
Contaminated equipment at a nail salon can also expose you to types of fungi that may lead to an infection.
Your fungal infection may not cause any symptoms in the beginning, until it progresses.
As the infection gets worse, you may experience:
Fingernail infections often clear up on their own or with home remedies. Antifungal medications are used for more serious infections.
Don’t Miss: How To Hang Photos Without Nails
Is It Ok To Put Nail Polish On A Toenail With Fungus
Dont use a commercial nail polish if you have an infection. Instead, use specialty nail polish, such as a nail fungus nail polish from Healthy Feet Store. Preventing Toenail Fungus and Yellow Toenails. To prevent the condition, trim your toenails straight across, and dont let the nail extend beyond the tip of the toe
Do You Like Home Remedies
During this pandemic, many people have delayed treatments for relatively minor health problems such as nail fungus. Thats completely understandable. It also explains why home remedies are more popular than ever.
We have two options if you would like to learn more. Our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies is an electronic resource that you can refer to on your computer. You can find it in the Health eGuide section of this website. It provides scientific rationale behind many of our favorite remedies.;
Have you tried a home remedy to fight your own nail fungus? How did it work? Leave your story in the comment section below.
Don’t Miss: How To Take Out Contacts With Long Nails
How To Use Vicks Vapor Rub For Toenail Fungus
While it can be tricky applying the Vicks to your toenail, with a few tips, you will be treating your toenail fungus in no time.
Once you notice the fungus, apply the Vicks immediately. First make sure your toenail is completely dry; as noted above, a wet environment can cause the fungus to grow further and spread.
Next, trim your toenails short. The less toenail you have to treat, the better.
After trimming, make sure you clean your toenail clipper thoroughly with hot, soapy water, and then wash it with rubbing alcohol. The fungus can easily spread to other toes if you use the same clipper without cleaning it.
Now start by using a spoon or something similar to scoop out the Vicks. You dont want to be smearing the rub on your toe and then putting your fingers back into the tub.
Apply the medication thoroughly to your nail. To get to the edges, into the cuticle, and around the nail bed, use a cotton swab or a Q-tip.
Make sure to rub the Vicks in as thoroughly as possible, and then cover your toes with a bandage. This will help the treatment absorb rather than rubbing off on everything you step on. Repeat this process twice a day.
Over the days/weeks that you apply the Vicks, make sure to keep your toenails short so that the formula can soak into as much of your nail as possible. And be patient! This could take up to five months before you start to see some effects. .