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Nail Fungus

What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is a common problem that starts with a white or yellow mark under the tip of fingernail or toenail. As this infection spreads and penetrates deeper it may cause the discolouration of nail. The nail may also thicken and crumble at its edge. This disorder can affect more than one nail but it generally does not impact all of them together.

If your nails have mild form of this condition and it is not bothersome you may not require treatment. But when nail fungus causes thickened and brittle nails, it calls for a therapy. Besides being unsightly, the fungi can break your nails causing pain. The problem of nail fungus is medically called onychomycosis or tinea unguium. When the fungi infect the areas between the toes and the skin of your feet, it is referred to as athlete's foot (tinea pedis).

What are the symptoms of this condition?

The signs that indicate nail fungus or onychomycosis include:

  • Thickened nails distorted in shape
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged nails
  • Discoloured and dull appearance of nails
  • Dark nails due to debris build up beneath their plate
  • Yellow streaks under the plate of nails
  • White spots on the surface of nails
At times, infected nails can separate from the nail bed. This causes pain and may emit a slightly foul odour.

What causes nail fungus?

Nail fungus infection is generally caused by fungi known as dermatophytes. At times some yeasts and mould also cause this problem. Nail fungi tends to grow in warm and humid surroundings such as those of swimming pools, spas, and areas around swimming pool. It can invade the skin through very small cuts that cannot be seen. It also enters through the opening between nail and nail bed.

This condition affects toe nails more often than finger nails because toes are usually hidden in dark, warm and moist (due to sweat) environment of shoes and this is an ideal surrounding for the fungi to survive. Furthermore, toes have less blood flow than the fingers - this makes it more difficult for your body's immune system to sense and stop the infection.

Am I at risk of developing nail fungus?

The factors that put you at a greater risk of developing nail fungus include:

  • Being older – Reduced blood flow at older age, slower growing nails and increasing number of years exposing you to fungi
  • Being a male
  • Family history of nail fungus problem
  • Heavy sweating
  • Working amidst humid and hot environments or at places where your hands often get wet
  • Wearing tight shoes and socks that hinder breathing of feet and do not absorb sweat
  • Walking barefoot in warm and humid public places such as gyms, spas, swimming pools and shower areas
  • Having athletes foot, or a skin/nail injury, or a condition like psoriasis
  • Having diabetes, circulation problems, a weak immune system or, (in children), Down syndrome
  • Living with someone affected by nail fungus

How to prevent this condition?

Simple precautions with your routine activities can help you to stay safe from the problem of nail fungus:

  • Wash your hands and feet properly including the areas between fingers/toes.
  • Keep nails short and dry – trim nails straight across and use a filer to shape down the thickened parts
  • Wear nylon/wool/polypropylene socks that can effectively absorb sweat and change your socks often
  • Wear shoes that can reduce humidity and occasionally use sandals to let your feet breathe properly
  • Do not use very old shoes as they may harbour fungi and cause infection – alternatively you can treat them with antifungal powders before wearing the pair
  • If you sweat a lot or have hyperhidrosis, powder your feet with an antiperspirant powder before wearing shoes
  • User rubber gloves while washing clothes or doing dishes by hand and between uses, turn the gloves inside out for drying
  • Do not trim or pick at the skin surrounding your nails as this can allow germs to enter your skin and nails.
  • Do not walk barefoot around pools, showers and public locker rooms.
  • Check the hygiene conditions before getting manicure or pedicure at salons – ensure that the instruments are sterilised after every use.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water if you touch an infected nail because nail fungus can spread from one nail to another.
  • Do not try to hide fungus by covering your nails with cosmetic wraps or stickers – this can trap moisture and cause the fungus to grow further.

Treatment at Skin Alive

There are self-care strategies and over-the-counter products to prevent and treat nail fungus but at times this infection is stubborn and fungi embedded beneath the nail cannot be attacked. The prescription medicines for this condition include oral anti-fungal drugs and medicated nail creams.

In some cases doctors recommend terbinafine and itraconazole based medications to help a new nail grow free of infection and gradually replace the infected part. But with this form of treatment it usually takes around four months or longer until the healthy nail grows back. Also, it may not be very effective in people above 65 years of age. Such medicines are not prescribed for people with liver, vascular or kidney diseases. Medicated nail creams work on thin nail nails as they need to get through the nail surface to reach the fungus. (Nails are thought to be impermeable but they are more permeable than the skin). To thin nails they are treated with special over-the-counter lotion. Doctors can thin the surface of a nail with a filer.

Skin Alive has creams and medications that dermatologists prescribe for treating nail fungus. To treat nail fungus more effectively and get faster results we use modern laser technology in combination with anti-fungal drugs. The system used in this treatment includes:

NdYAG Laser - Clinically proven to be effective for treating toenail and fingernail fungus, the laser emits coherent light energy with adequate strength and of a specific wavelength. When this is projected on to the affected tissue it produces heat and destroys it but other tissue components are not affected. The number of sessions required depends on extent of the condition.

Your Appointment

We know that fighting nail fungus with home remedies does not always bring results. Skin Alive employs a holistic approach in treatment of this problem and we combine nail care products with our laser therapy for superior outcomes. During your appointment at our centre the condition is diagnosed by a specialist for nail fungus treatment and the therapy course is explained. The oral medications and topical applications required for the treatment are offered at Skin Alive.

Nail fungus need not be a cause of embarrassment anymore. We will groom your hand and feet, and restore their health with results that please you.

Call us on +91-8527622991 to book your appointment.

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