Nail fungal infection medically know as onychomycosis is caused by a special type of fungus known as dermatopyte. The infection is a common condition, particularly in adults over the age of 60. Toe nail infections are more common than infection in fingers nails. It tends to stay local to the toe or finger nail area of the nail bed and plate.
Causes for a fungal infection can be as simple as ill-fitting shoes or trauma to the nails from damage or cracking allowing the fungus to take hold. It can start with an athlete’s foot infection or a low immune problem. It can be passed on in communal changing rooms and showers, so best to wear shower shoes or flip flops.
- Athlete’s foot condition
- Walking barefoot in damp communal areas
- A nail injury or a skin condition
- A weakened immune system (diabetes)
- Being older
The fungus begins with as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail and as the fungus travels deeper it causes discolour, thickening and the nail tends to crumble. The infection can affect more than one nail. Once the infection takes hold nails can become uncomfortable and start to lift.
- Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration on the tips of the nails
- Discolouring covering more of the nail bed
- Nails become thick and yellow/brown
- Nails become brittle, crumbly or ragged
Nail fungal treatment
If you suspect you have a nail fungal infection best to get it checked out by a professional. Your beautician should be able to identify and infection, but the pharmacist at a local chemist is best to confirm if you have an infection. The pharmacist will offer you options for off- the-shelf treatment products. But, you can research other options.
A severe infection can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails whereby they ever grow back normally, it at all. If you have diabetes or a low immune system due to medication and the infection is confirmed a visit to your GP is a must to be given the correct treatment.
There is a huge range of nail fungal infection treatments on the market, but from personal recommendation are products that are easy to apply and the most effective are the herbal solutions. Particularly oregano based oils. Zane Hellas, Fungus Stop is extremely effective.
Other herbal essential oils such as citronella, geranium, tea tree, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and peppermint are powerful against fungi and found to be effective antimicrobials for that purpose.
You will need solutions that come recommended or clinically proven. You must be aware that some essential oils that are 100% rated must be used as instructed, as they can burn the skin if undiluted, so it is advisable to get a mixed oil to apply to the fungal affected nails. The solution will attached the fungus allowing new growth to come through unaffected. It will take time but you will see gradual result. While the nail condition is improving with treatment it is recommended that nail varnish, nail gels or extensions are no applied. Keep your nails short and the edges smooth. Always use disposable emery boards and sanitise nail clippers and scissors. Do not let anyone else use your manicure set in case of cross contamination.
Prevention against reinfection
- Trim nails straight across and file the tips to leave a smooth finish.
- Use disposable emery boards.
- Disinfect your nail clippers after each use.
- Treat shoes or slippers with antifungal powders.
- Wear footwear in pool areas and communal changing rooms.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Change socks daily.
- Do not wear ill-fitting shoes.
- Use your own towels.
- Don’t borrow others shoes.
- Regular manicure or pedicures with a professional.