Nail Fungus

Nail fungus (Onychomycosis) is a fungal infection of the toenail or finger nail. Nail fungus is most commonly found in toenails, due to the more damp and dark environment. As fungi can easily spread, nail fungus is very contagious. Additionally, nail fungus can involve all parts of the nail such as the nail plate, nail bed and nail root.

Nail fungus is typically caused by the fungi Dermatophytes, such as Trichophyton rubrum. However, other fungi and yeasts can also be responsible for nail fungus infections.

The nail

The main reason that the nail bed is a perfect environment for nail fungus is that the nail bed is a moist and warm area, which is the ideal location for the fungi to thrive in.

The reason that toenails are more commonly affected than finger nails comes down to three main reasons:

    1. Toenails are often confined to a moist, dark and warm environment in socks and shoes.
    2. The blood circulation to the toes compared to the fingers is much less, which means that the immune system of the body has difficulty detecting and then fighting the infection.
    3. As feet are often prone to cracks or tiny cuts between the nail and the nail bed, the fungi can easily enter the skin through these openings.

Causes

There are many factors that can lead to the contraction of nail fungus. The most common indirect factor is age, as with age comes reduced blood circulation, more years of exposure to fungi and the nail growth is slower and nail become thicker which makes them more vulnerable to infection.

Other factors that can increase the risk of nail fungus infections are:

    • Heavy perspiration
    • Contact with other fungus infected nails
    • Humid environment
    • Diminished blood circulation
    • Wearing shoes or socks that hinder adequate air circulation
    • Slow nail growth
    • Barefoot walking in moist places such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms etc
    • Regular damage to the nail
    • Weak immune system
    • Damaged skin around the nail
    • Having athletes foot or diabetes

Symptoms

Nail fungus can damage your nails and the longer the nails are not treated the more damaged the they can get. Therefore it is important to detect nail fungus in its early stage. The following symptoms could indicate a nail fungus infection:

    • White or yellow spot under the nail/ nail discolouration
    • Thickening of the nail
    • Slow nail growth
    • Crumbling or brittle edges
    • Distortion in shape
    • Nail separation from nail bed

Prevention

To prevent nail fungus and reduce the risk of infection, basic hand and foot hygiene should be practiced. The following preventative actions can be taken to minimize the risk of nail fungus:

    • Always wear sandals when in wet public places such as swimming pools, showers etc
    • Use foot powder if you suffer from sweaty feet
    • Wearing synthetic and/or clean socks
    • Thoroughly dry your feet, especially between the toes
    • Alternate between pairs of shoes and do not share your shoes or socks with others
    • Wear socks and shoes that are correctly ventilated
    • Wash your hands regularly, especially if you have come into contact with an infected nail
    • Do not use artificial nails
    • Keep your nails dry, clean and short
    • When going to a manicurist or pedicurist, make sure that the instruments used were correctly

Treatment

For an effective treatment of a nail fungus infection; use Nailclin. A quick, easy to use and convenient brush pen which effectively treats nail fungus.

Nailclin penetrates the nail plate and creates a hostile environment for the fungi. In this environment the fungi are unable to survive. Additionally, the nails regain their shine and the discoloration diminishes, leaving healthy nails!

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