About 12% of the population deals with nail fungus fairly regularly.
Nail fungus can make you feel insecure, cause you pain, and even prevent you from doing some of the activities that you enjoy the most. Above all, nail fungus infections can spread rapidly, potentially leading to some quite serious health complications.
We know there are lots of reasons why you want to get rid of fingernail and toenail fungus as soon as possible.
So, what are the best nail fungus cream options on the market, and what other kinds of treatments are available? Additionally, how do these infections happen in the first place?
Keep on reading this post to find out.
Some Quick Facts on Nail Fungus
Before we fill you in on some of the most effective toenail fungus treatment options, let’s talk about how these fungal infections happen in the first place.
First of all, you should know that, no matter how clean and sanitary you are, fungus still live in your body — just like bacteria do. Infections happen when the normal amount of fungi in your body suddenly multiples and leads to a serious overgrowth.
What makes nail fungus especially tricky is that the nail infection, referred to in the scientific and medical communities as tinea unguium, takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to fully develop. This means that, by the time you spot an infection, it’s already fairly serious. (Click here to see some gnarly photos of what infections may look like.)
So, what are some of the common signs of nail fungus that you need to watch out for?
The most obvious signs are those tell-tale yellow and white lines on the base of your nail, which often appear somewhat translucent. You should also be on the lookout for white spots/patches on your nail, especially if they seem to flake off.
Also, beware of cracking, especially at the corner of your nails.
You may also notice yellow spots, smell something nasty from the nail, experience brittle nails, or even deal with nails that lift up off your nail bed slightly.
How Do People Get Nail Fungus and Infection?
Sometimes, picking up a nail fungal infection can be as easy as coming into any kind of physical contact with someone who has an active nail infection.
Because fungi love moist and warm environments, you’ll also be at a higher risk for nail fungal infections if you’re an athlete or even if you train especially hard in the gym. (This is also why more people develop toenail infections than they do fingernail infections, due to the cozy environment a closed-toe shoe provides.)
It’s also quite easy to come away with a fungal infection (or worse) from a poorly-maintained nail salon. Make sure you’re clear on exactly how the salon cleans and sanitizes their tools.
If you wear fake nails, no matter whether they’re acrylic or a newer, more-natural looking extension, you’re at more of a risk for infection. The same goes if you currently have a cut or any injury close to your nail, or if your nail is already cracked.
Additionally, if you are over the age of 65, have a weak immune system, or if you struggle with poor circulation, you’re more likely to get an infection. This is also true for those who are living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes, you can take steps to prevent a nail infection.
However, in many cases, it just happens because of bad luck.
The Best Nail Fungus Treatment Options
Remember that the sooner you’re able to treat your nail fungal infection, the better the chance you’ll be able to prevent it from spreading.
If the infection seems quite serious, or if the treatments listed below don’t seem to be working, it’s best to make an appointment with a medical professional.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective finger and toe fungus treatment options.
Try Home Remedies
If you’re looking for a natural fingernail and toenail fungus cure, reach for some tea tree oil. It’s packed with antiseptic properties and can prevent the spread of fungus.
For best results, use a cotton swab to dab and brush the tea tree oil onto the nail. If you’re treating more than one nail, use separate cotton balls.
You could also head to your local health food store and ask them if they have any snakeroot extract in stock (or get it online.) Research has shown that the extract is nearly as effective as prescription antifungal medications.
Believe it or not, some people even soak their feet in white vinegar and water for 20 minutes each day until the infection disappears.
Others swear by the application of Vicks VapoRub, while others say that soaking their feet in Listerine for 30 minutes a day does the trick.
We’ll leave it to your best judgment to decide which of these natural remedies are worth trying.
Use Nail Fungus Cream
Nail fungus cream is likely the most effective at-home treatment to banish these nasty fungal infections.
Plus, to keep the mess to a minimum, many of them come with application pencils that allow you to apply the creams perfectly to the affected area.
Other creams are made to work much like standard nail polish so that you can simply use a brush to paint on the infected nail. For best results, experts suggest that you apply nail fungus creams at least three times every day.
So, what kind of active ingredients should you be on the lookout for when you’re looking at creams and other over-the-counter treatments?
Especially if you’re also dealing with pain and discoloration, look for those that contain hydroxybenzoic acid, chitosan, and angelica. In addition to stopping the infection, these ingredients will strengthen your nails in the future.
You should also consider using options that contain Zinc undecylenate, especially if you’re looking for OTC treatments that let you soak your feet and hands.
If the fungus is itchy, buy products that contain soothing eucalyptus and even lavender.
Learn more about what consumers have to say about some of the most popular nail fungus cream brands out there, and let their reviews help you to make up your mind.
If you’re not sure if it’s safe for you to use a certain treatment, the best thing you can do is check in with your doctor first.
Take Oral Medication
Especially if you’re dealing with a more persistent infection, your best bet may be to take oral medications that a doctor is able to prescribe.
Popular options include fluconazole, terbinafine, itraconazole, and griseofluvin.
In order to ensure they work properly, make sure that you take the entire course of the medication. If you stop taking it early because the fungus looks to have disappeared, it will almost certainly come back.
You know what they say: prevention is the best cure.
If you want to stop nail fungus from ruining your day, make it a point to wear moisture-wicking socks. If you can, take a break from fake nails and even polish for about a week each month.
Never go barefoot in a public place, and make sure that you dry your feet and hands off immediately after you get out of the shower. Don’t forget the areas between your toes and fingers, too!
Especially if you’re an athlete or just work up a sweat often, you may want to invest in preventative antifungal powders and sprays.
Will You Go with Medicated Nail Fungus Cream or Natural Remedies?
While no one enjoys thinking about how to handle nail fungus, we do hope that you feel a bit more prepared if it ever crops up in the future.
Having these nail fungus cream and natural remedy options on hand before an infection occurs will allow you to get started on the healing process immediately.
Above all, never ignore an infection. Doing so could lead to blood clots, a total loss of the nail, and even impede your ability to walk. Remember, these infections can spread to other parts of your body before you know it.
Need more advice on the best natural remedies for whatever ails you? Want to know how you can face the winter cold season head-on? Interested in learning how to live with a more serious health condition?
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