Nail fungus is a common condition, especially when it comes to toenails. Here’s how to recognize and how to cure it.
If you have any visible changes on your nails, you are unlikely to look forward to buying new sandals with open toes, nice weather, or going to the beach and vacationing. The idea of being barefoot makes you tremble. This usually requires professional pedicure or that you accept the discomfort as a normal feeling.
Nail fungus does not look attractive, and in most cases, you will not mask it even with nail polish. The ugly and bumpy surface differs from the smooth one, even under the nail polish. In fact, if your nails are thickened, full of bumps, distorted, then you should not additionally emphasize them with nail polish. Don’t try to hide them, but treat them. You may now be wondering what you need to treat them with and what nail diseases it is.
In 50-60% of cases, the cause of nail changes is nail fungus.
What Is Nail Fungus?
It is a change in the nails caused by a fungal infection. Pathogenic fungi are microorganisms that grow in dark, humid, and warm conditions, do not need light, and which attack the human body. Very often they settle on the nails and go in a package with fungus on the feet.
It is clear why this phenomenon mainly occurs on the feet.
The environment in shoes and socks is exactly what suits the development of fungi – dark, humid, and warm.
We don’t all have perfect nails. While some complain that their nails are brittle and easily breakable, others have the opposite problem – thickened toenails. This is usually a sign that you have fungus on your nails. Although fungi are one of those microorganisms that normally live with us in symbiosis, when they multiply too much – they become a threat. Well, then you need something to treat nail fungus.
This phenomenon begins as a tiny dot, on the tip of the nail, on its inside or at the very bottom of the nail. It is usually yellow or white. Over time, when the conditions are suitable, it expands from a dot to a stain that literally covers the entire nail. As a result, yellow toenails appear, thickened and distorted nails full of bumps and furrows that split into several layers. Sometimes these changes affect one nail, and it is not uncommon for them to spread to other nails, as well as to infect the skin around the nail. Sometimes infected nails separate from the base, so there is a high probability that they will fall off.
Nail fungus treatment will take the shortest time if you notice the process at the very beginning. So, take a good look at your nails right away!
Not every nail change is caused by fungi. The nails turn black when we hit them or as a result of a hematoma, while green nails are a sign that we have some inflammation and they are usually painful. These are the changes you will surely feel. The fungi are insidious – they start quietly and imperceptibly, but slowly take their place on the nail plate and change its appearance.
There are several types of fungus that can cause nail changes:
- Dermatophytes are surface fungi that do not penetrate deeper into the skin. In addition to nails, this fungus can infect the skin and hair. So, for example, you can get a foot infection that is better known as an athlete’s foot. This type of fungus is the most common cause of nail changes.
- Yeasts are a species that normally live in our body, and which certain triggers can disrupt and cause them to multiply beyond the normal amount. Such is, say, candida. These fungi are more likely to be found on fingernails.
- Skin mold is also a type of fungus that can infect the nail, although this is a rare occurrence.
What they all have in common is that they need a moist and warm place for growth and spreading, and the key thing is neglecting the problem.
If your nails do not look nice, it is not only a cosmetic problem, but it can be a serious problem that requires you to dedicate yourself to it and find a solution.
You may not know it, but the changes in your nails and their appearance say a lot about your health. So nails are not just for applying nail polish! Pay close attention to what you are covering and find an adequate remedy for nail fungus.
How Can One Get Fungus on Nails?
When we say that a nail is infected, it usually means that we have picked up a bacterium or fungus somewhere.
Does this mean that nail fungus is contagious?
How can you get them?
You can usually pick up nail fungus in one of the following ways:
- In wet places such as the bathroom or the pool if we walk barefoot.
- If we spend time in a humid atmosphere, whether at work or the house chores.
- One of the common causes are shoes and socks made of synthetic materials that do not let the skin breathe nor absorb the sweat, but encourage sweating.
- Sharing shoes, socks, or towels with a person who already has nail fungus.
- Through infected manicure and pedicure equipment at home or in a beauty salon
- By applying artificial nails or nail polish over an already infected nail.
By all accounts, nail fungus is contagious, so you need to take into account the environment in which you live, and the conditions in which your feet and hands are during the day.
Are you going to have your nail extensions at a beauty salon? Don’t just choose a good price, imagination, and skilled hands, but choose a reliable and clean service.
In order to successfully remove nail fungus, it is not enough to just treat the nails, but it is very important to discover and remove the cause of their appearance.
Are Infections More Common on Toenails or Fingernails?
Undoubtedly, fungi are more common on toenails. You may think that it is natural for the toenails to be rough, thick, and curved because they are more resistant that way, and that is what they should be when you wear shoes.
Well, it’s not like that.
It is more likely that your nails are infected and that fungi are the cause of the toenails disease.
Why on your feet? Primarily, due to the conditions that fungi need to grow. When you wear shoes and socks all day, your feet sweat, and the heat of your body creates the ideal temperature for their reproduction and growth.
Can fungus also occur on fingernails?
Yes, they can, especially if your hands are in the water all day or if you are biting your nails. Fungi on the fingernails are very often caused by candida – a fungus that normally lives in our body. If you bite your nails, you damage their edges and the skin around them. Since we use our hands to perform daily activities, they are in constant contact with a bunch of bacteria, fungi and moisture.
Damaged skin and nails are an ideal place for the accumulation of fungi.
When you bite your nails, it all comes to your mouth and throat. Let’s be honest, biting your nails is an almost unconscious process and it is unlikely that you will wash your hands before indulging in this harmful habit. It is one of the ways to pick up candida on your nails and spread it all over your body and get systemic candidiasis which may be the reason why you crave for sweets.
This process of infection can happen the other way round. Candida on the nails also occurs when it has already multiplied too much in the body, for example after the use of an antibiotic or some wrong life habits, and you bite your nails and “populate” the fungi on your nails.
Regardless of the causes of the fungus, the consequences should not be neglected.
What if You Neglect Your Nails and Why Is Nail Fungus Treatment Important?
You can hide your nails in closed shoes and pockets forever and avoid exposing them to the eye. You may think that you simply have ugly nails or that the yellow nails on your feet or hands will disappear on their own. No big deal, there are worse things in life, right? However, if you notice that the fungus on your nails is spreading, then it is time to seriously consider whether hiding and turning your head away from the problem is the best solution.
Toenail fungus can cause the following complications:
- Painful feet. Nail fungus is not just an aesthetic problem because if we do not treat the nails they can grow into the surrounding tissue which can be a painful experience.
- Skin infection. It is very important to treat fungus on your nails because it can spread to the skin between your toes. In this case, the skin becomes red, sensitive and cracks appear in the infected areas, which is suitable for bacteria. Also, the infected skin can swell or even develop a condition called cellulitis.
- Nail loss. In extreme cases, the nail can separate from the skin, and eventually, fall off.
They may seem insignificant, but nail diseases are not just an aesthetic problem. If you don’t treat them, they can become a health problem.
Nail Fungus and Nail Polish, Artificial Nails, and Nail Extensions
In recent years, the cosmetic method of nail extensions has become increasingly popular. Contact with infected files, nail clippers, and nail accessories is another way to get your nails infected with fungus, and they can become ugly in shape and color. This is often the reason why we resort to nail extensions and polish our nails – to hide the flaws on them.
Nail extensions should only be done on healthy nails.
By putting artificial nails and covering the imperfections with gel and nail polish, you are actually creating ideal conditions for the fungus to multiply even more. There is not enough air in the space between your and the artificial nail and the nails are often exposed to moisture and dirty surfaces. If you already have a nail infection, this way you will only make it worse. To have beautiful nails, it is important that you heal them. So, you need treatment.
Nail Fungus Treatment
Well, how to cure nail fungus then? Here are some proven ways that work!
Natural Remedies for Nail Fungus
If the problem hasn’t gone too far, you can try some of the following methods!
Apple Cider Vinegar
You need to mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water. Keep the infected nail in this solution.
Mix 2 drops of oregano oil with one tablespoon of olive oil. This solution is applied to the nail. Oregano oil acts as a natural antifungal agent.
Tea Tree Oil
This powerful oil is great for various surface infections and is one of the best ways to treat nail fungus naturally. Like oregano oil, tea tree oil is quite strong, so you only need to dilute two drops with a little olive oil and apply on the nail. In severe cases, you can apply tea tree oil to the infected nail surface without diluting it.
Garlic for Nail Fungus
You may not know it, but garlic is a great remedy for nail fungus. Here’s how to use it. Crush the garlic and place it on the infected nail. Secure with a bandage or plaster and rinse well after treatment.
Squeeze the lemon juice and apply it directly on the infected nail.
Toenail Fungus and Baking Soda
Baking soda acts as a remedy for nail fungus because it creates an alkaline environment that is not suitable for the development of fungi. It is easy to use. Make a paste of baking soda mixed with water and put it on the nail.
Whichever of these methods of treating nail fungus you choose, you need to treat the nail for half an hour, and then wash and dry it well.
Be persistent so that the fungus does not happen to be more persistent than you. The treatment of this problem takes a very long time, sometimes up to 18 months. Yes, you got it right – over a year!
Medical Remedies for Nail Fungus
If your problem has become complicated, or infected other nails or skin, it requires more serious treatment. In that case, you should see a doctor who will examine you and give you therapy that may include the following medications against nail fungus:
Nail Fungus Ointment
An ointment is an effective and easily applicable remedy for nail fungus. However, just like with the natural ways of treating nail fungus, you need patience and perseverance here as well.
Which nail fungus ointment to choose? It is best to consult your doctor about this. Different ointments can act on different types of fungi. You need the right ones.
Creams are applied exclusively with a cotton ball or ear stick, which you then throw away. We said that fungi are contagious, do not touch the infected surface with your fingers so as not to spread the infection. Nail fungus spray is a much more practical option.
Nail Fungus Polish
Nail polish is another way to get rid of fungi as simply as possible. Use it according to the instructions that come with it. These nail polishes mainly work by creating unfavorable conditions for the growth of fungi on the nails.
Nail Fungus Pencil
In the search for ways to treat nail fungus, you will certainly notice this invention. The nail fungus pencil is primarily practical for application because it is in the shape of a pencil and you actually make strokes with it as if you were coloring your nail. Of course, instead of paint, the pencil releases active ingredients based on tea tree oil, cypress, lavender, or others. The question remains to what extent the re-use of the same tip allows the fungi to spread.
Nail Fungus Lotion
Perhaps the most famous is Wartner lotion for nail fungus. The lotion has a sponge applicator, which helps apply it to the infected area. It works by creating a protective layer on the nail and prevents the spreading and development of fungi, while nourishing the nail at the same time.
Oral Drugs for Treatment of Nail Fungus
If the fungal infection is the result of the spread of fungi that originate from the body, your doctor may prescribe some oral therapy.
When the nail is so deformed that it causes damage to the surrounding tissue and there is no help for it, removing the nail is the best way to treat fungus on the nails.
Fungi are quite difficult to treat and it is not uncommon for the disease to return. In fact, this happens in more than 50% of cases, especially when it comes to those on the toenails. Therefore, first of all, attention should be paid to prevention of conditions for their growth and development.
How To Prevent the Development of Nail Fungus?
Good prevention is very often halfway to healing. Here’s how to prevent this ugly phenomenon:
- Maintain regular hand and foot hygiene. Keep your nails neat and short.
- Keep your feet and hands dry. Do not put socks on wet feet.
- Wear socks made of natural materials that allow the foot to breathe, prevent sweating, and absorb sweat well.
- Get rid of water-leaking shoes.
- Discard old shoes that may be infected with the fungus.
- Do not go barefoot in public places.
- Avoid artificial nails and nail extensions or choose a reliable beauty salon.
- Wear rubber gloves and try to protect your hands when you need to be in contact with water.
- Wash your hands after touching an infected nail to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Do not share towels and socks with an infected person, partner, or family member.
This way, you will prevent the appearance of fungus on your nails and reduce the chances that they will return if you have already started treatment.
Without preventive hygiene measures, treating nail fungus has no purpose!
If your nails are not a very representative example of beautiful nails, take care of them until it is too late. Beauty is not always in beautiful decoration, bows, flowers, zircons, and neatly painted nails, and especially not when it is all just a mask for some problems. When you have nail fungus, you do not need a cosmetic but a medical pedicure.
That doesn’t sound fun?
Well, look at it from a brighter side. That’s why you should throw away some old shoes and go shopping for new ones.
Nice weather is coming – it means showing your nails in the sun! Are you really ready for it or are you hiding something under your nail polish?