Ask The Doctor: What’s The Best Way To Treat Toenail Fungus
Q.My toenails are thick and discolored. They’re so unsightly that I’m too embarrassed to wear sandals when I go on vacation. What can I do about them?
A. Toenails naturally change in consistency with age. But coupled with discoloration, the thickening, as well as other symptoms like brittleness and white or yellow streaks on the sides, could be a sign of nail fungus. Fungi like to live in the toenails, which provide a dark, moist environment for them to grow. As you get older, reduced blood circulation and the natural thickening of your toenails makes you more likely to develop an infection.
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What Causes A Nail Fungal Infection
The infection is usually caused by exposure to a fungus. The fungus grows in wet, dark conditions. The fungus grows when your feet are in warm, sweaty environment . It enters your nail through a crack in the nail.
Nail fungal infections happen at any age. They are more common in adults older than 60 years of age. They are common in people who have diabetes or circulation problems. They also are common in people with a weakened immune system. Men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections.
Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment: The Best Fungal Nail Treatment For Thickened Nails
Price: £13 |
One of the symptoms of a fungal nail infection is a thicker nail, which isn’t exactly helpful because it makes it harder for a treatment to penetrate and reach the infection underneath. So foot experts Scholl help things along by including five disposable files in the box. For the first few weeks of treatment, you file the surface of the infected nail before brushing on the liquid. After four weeks, ditch the files and apply the solution once a week until the nail has grown out. It’s a little more fiddly than Excilor, but it’s good value and boasts many happy customers.
Key specs Size: 3.8ml Format: Liquid Active ingredient: Amorolfine
Price: £22 |
The bottle with built-in dropper is much bigger than the likes of Excilor , but that’s partly because the Imperial Feet solution itself is much milder, relying on natural anti-fungal ingredients including tea tree oil to clear up the infection. As much as we welcome natural ingredients, this treatment will struggle to penetrate an infected nail, so it’s best kept for clearing up milder infections and preventing recurrence.
Key specs Size: 75ml Format: Liquid Active ingredient: Tea tree oil
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What Is The Best Over The Counter Toenail Fungus Treatment
What is the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment? Toenail fungus makes your nails look scary and unkempt. It makes you look sad and makes you want to get rid of the toenail infection at all costs and restore the beauty of your nails.
Its very common which is why many people all over the world search for What is the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment.
Look no further if youre looking for the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment. This post covers all you need to know and get back your beautiful toenails in the shortest possible time. Read on to learn more.
Toenail fungus or onychomycosis which your doctor may also call tinea unguium infections are caused by certain fungi, molds, or yeasts which grow on the nails or skin surrounding the toenail. Athletes foot can also be a cause of an infected toenail.
Both Athletes foot and onychomycosis are caused by a variety of fungi that infect the superficial skin and nails. These fungi belong to a special group of pathogens called dermatophytes.
What The Experts Say
The most common presentation of toenail fungus is a white/yellow discoloration of the nail that is thick and filled with yellow/white keratin debris. 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.”Orit Markowitz, MD, founder and CEO of OptiSkin treatment center in New York City.
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What Causes Nail Fungus
Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. Moreover, if you have a fungal infection on the skin of your foot, this can also transfer to your nails.
Wearing closed shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.
People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.
Which Prescription Products Treat Nail Fungus
The best products for nail fungus are prescription medicines you take by mouth or topical liquid medicines you apply to the nail.
Prescription medicines commonly used to treat nail fungus include oral and topical treatments, such as:
- topical efinaconazole
- topical ciclopirox
- oral terbinafine
- oral itraconazole
Oral antifungal medicines tend to work better than topical ones, but are associated with greater side effects and drug interactions. In some cases, your doctor may decide to combine treatments, or use laser or photodynamic therapy. Speak with your podiatrist about these techniques.
In the most severe cases, your doctor may recommend you have surgery to remove part or all of the nail.
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How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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Best Ointment: Fungi Nail Anti
Infused with five oils for skin healing
Easy-to-use brush applicator
Only for mild infections
Doesn’t heal the nail plate
Fungi Nail Antifungal Ointment uses an innovative design to address multiple forms of fungal infections one can find on their feet. Its wide-tip applicator applies the appointment on larger areas of the feet, such as the soles and in-between toes. Then the smaller applicator works to get around the nail cuticles and underneath the nail.
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. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
Active Ingredients: Zinc undecylenate 20% and Undecylenic acid 5% | Dose: Tube and brush applicator delivers the appropriate amount. Apply thin layer on affected area twice daily or as directed by a doctor. | Uses: Treats and prevents fungal infections fights athletes foot and ringworm
Toenail Fungus Home Care
Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:
- Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
- Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.
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Canespro Fungal Nail Treatment
Fed up of painful, unsightly nails? This fungal nail treatment can start targeting affected parts in three weeks.
This treatment softens the infected part of the nail, which can then gradually be removed with the plastic tool provided in the set. This gentle removal usually takes two to three weeks, and enables you to get to the main root of the infection under the nail plate.
This treatment is a little more labour-intensive than some others, requiring application of the ointment, covering with a plaster for 24 hours, then soaking in warm water for 10 minutes before scraping off softened parts of the nail using the enclosed plastic scraper.
Once this is done, it’s then recommended to use an antifungal cream afterwards until a healthy nail has fully grown in.
Is Nail Fungus Contagious
Yes, fungus is a highly contagious infection. It can travel any situation, no mater which season it is. Even wearing shoes of the infected person or living with them can lead to fungal infection.
For nail fungus, chance are a bit less to infect other people, but yes, if they use your things like towels, clipper, shoes, socks, then the chance become very high that the fungus will transfer on to them as well or vice versa.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
Why Trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied
For over 10 years, Jennifer Nied has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
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Prescription Treatments Are Potent But They Have Serious Side Effects
Oral prescription medications are very potent but they tend to be expensive and have very serious side effects. These prescriptions include fluconazole , itraconazole , and terbinafine . These treatments tend to be very expensive and may cause serious health problems for people suffering from liver problems or a history of congestive heart failure. In the case of Lamisil, there may be diarrhea, upset stomach and it can potentially damage the liver or cause liver disease.
There are also two topical prescription treatments available called Ciclopirox and Amorolfine . These treatments use fungicide ingredients that are very powerful chemicals to kill fungus. Unfortunately, Ciclopirox can cause uncomfortable burning, stinging and redness, and is also quite costly. Amorolfine can also cause skin irritations such as burning, drying, scaling, itching and weeping.
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When Are The Different Treatments Considered
Most doctors recommend treating nail fungus with nail polish or cream if
- not much more than half of the nail is affected by the fungus,
- the base of the nail is not infected, and
- only some nails are affected.
Topical treatment is also usually recommended for children. One reason for this is that most oral medications arent suitable for children. Another reason is that children have thinner nails that grow more quickly, so its assumed that treatment with nail polish or creams is more likely to work in children than in adults. White superficial onychomycosis is also often treated with a nail polish or cream.
If several nails are infected by the fungus, or if the infection has spread out more on the affected nails, its usually necessary to take oral medication. And if the infection started at the base of the nail, its highly likely that only tablets will help.
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Home Remedies For Fingernail Fungus Infection
Fingernail fungus is very itchy and irritating, and in some cases, this can lead to the feeling of pain on skin. It was also widely known as the result of sensitive and dry skin,caused by the skin water deficiency and can sometimes even cause skin redness. The situation can turn to be painful, embarrassing, and all-around nasty rapidly. Thus, you will need to take extra care while treating this problem. In fact, this infection can happen on both your toenails and fingernails and can cover around 6-8% of all adult population.
The Best Nail Fungus Treatments
And if you do end up with a nail fungal infection? The bad news is that it can be challenging to completely banish it the infections are often persistent and even if they are effectively treated, can often have high recurrence rates, explains Dr. Stern.
The other tricky part is that the infection needs to be diagnosed properly, and comparing your nail situation to your Google search isn’t the way, she says. Not every nail problem is caused by a fungus some conditions may appear similar, such as nail psoriasis and nail trauma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Derms have the expertise to determine what’s causing your nail problem and to recommend the right treatment, including various oral and topical medications that could be highly effective.
While it’s best to get a diagnosis from a professional, if you are traveling or simply don’t have time to book an appointment with your derm right now, there are many over-the-counter anti-fungal ointments and creams that can treat fungal nail infections, says Dr.Chen. The catch? If you don’t see improvement after two months for fingernails or four months for toenails, see a dermatologist, advises Dr. Stern.
Ahead, six of the best nail fungus treatments, according to experts and customer reviews.
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Treatment Options For Fungal Nail
Treatment options, some of which can be prescribed by your GP and the others found at your local pharmacy, include:
Antifungal nail creams or paints
These are applied directly to the nail over several months and are most effective when used at the early stages of the infection. They aren’t generally considered to be as effective as tablets because it can be difficult for the product to reach the deep layers of the nail. Some people choose them over tablets because side effects are less common. These are available over the counter.
A paste is applied to soften the infected area. This is then covered with a plaster for 24 hours. The next day, the paste is washed off and the softened nail gently scraped away.
This process has to be repeated every day for two to three weeks. When no more of the infected nail can be removed, an antifungal paint is applied to prevent re-infection as the nail grows over the next few months. These kits are available from your pharmacist.
These are only available on prescription and need to be taken for several months, before the infection has completely cleared up. Some tablets are unsuitable for people taking certain medicines, and some people may experience side effects. Always see your doctor or pharmacist for advice about medicines.
Treatment From Your Gp
Your GP can prescribe antifungal tablets. You’ll need to take these every day for up to 6 months.
Tablets can have side effects including:
- loss of taste
You cannot take antifungal tablets if you’re pregnant or have certain conditions. They can damage your liver.
If your nail has a very bad infection, you may need to have it removed. This is a small procedure done under local anaesthetic.
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Epsom Salt For Toenail Fungus
You must have heard about Epsom salt if you love to use the bath bombs. The Epsom salt is a compound of Magnesium and Sulphate and it is an amazing detoxifier. It kills all the toxins residing on your body.
The magnesium in Epsom salt is fantastic to kill the itchiness and the redness on your skin.
The next main ingredient is the sulfate ion, what will it do for the nail fungus? It simply reinforces the effects of the min magnesium ion.
If you are someone who does not want the bad looking and damaged nail, this is the treatment for you.
It can be the best home remedy for nail fungus. It is easily available, and you do not need a prescription for it.
The Epsom salt can be added to the daily routine if you want presentable nails, it is not very effective for a ruined nail, you can use it as the onset treatment for nail fungus.
How to use Epsom salt for nail fungus?
Pros of using Epsom salt for nail fungus as a homemade remedy
- It works fine for the healthy skin.
- It also helps in reduces stress.
- Cleans the infected spots nicely.
Cons of using the Epsom salt
- It can cause irritation on sensitive skin when used in higher concentrations.
- Will take so many months to treat the toenail fungus.
Note: For a detailed guide on using the Epsom Salt for treating the toenail fungus and also to know how did it perform for one of the patient with toenail fungus, you can check our complete case study and review guide below: