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What is a fungal nail infection?

Fungal nail infections are quite common infections that affect the nails on the toes. They are caused by a particular type of fungus that develops under the surface of the nail and grows to leave your nails discoloured, thick and brittle. This fungus easily spreads across nails and even through person-to-person by direct contact from carpets, socks and shoes. The micro-organisms also spread through warm and moist environments like communal showers, gyms and swimming pools. They can become uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, but thankfully, they are easily treated. Though treatment is quite simple, it can take around 9 months before the infection is fully cleared and your nails are back to looking bright, smooth and healthy. If it is left untreated, the infection will only spread and get worse.

Healthy nails vs fungal nail infection:

Fungal nail infections are pretty easy to spot when compared to healthy nails, as healthy toenails are smooth and pink-ish in colour with a thin white stripe on the tip, while fungal nail infections on the other hand will alter the nails colour and appearance. Fungal nail infections only affect a small part of the nail initially by discolouring it and forming a small white patch on the nail. It can then develop to turn yellow, brown, green or black, so you’ll easily be able to tell when a fungal infection has attacked! They should be treated as soon as possible, as the infection will only spread deeper in the nail when left untreated.

When the infection has spread further into the nail it will cause the nail to become particularly thick or especially brittle and flaky. They can often cause pain and discomfort and in some cases when the infection is left, it can result in detachment of the nail. Without quick treatment, the infection can also spread to other nails on the foot, making treatment longer and more difficult.

Treating a fungal nail infection:

Fungal nail infection treatments work by lowering the nails pH balance. This will therefore create an environment that will discourage the growth and spread of fungi in order to stop the spread of infection. Main ingredients that assist with the creation of this environment include citric acid, isopropyl alcohol, sodium benzoate, urea, glycerin and pantheol. Throughout treatment you are also advised to file the nail surface using disposable files that are discarded after use alongside applying the treatment until the nail has returned to its normal colouring.