Nail Infections - What You Need To Know
One of our customers reached out to us and shared her story of what happened to her toenail. She loves nail polish and has tried several brands, but an infection got her to find a safer nail polish alternative.
“I’ve worn so many nail polishes. I think at one point I didn’t apply it properly and it left room for the infection to grow. My nail started to change its colour and all I could do was leave it and let it grow out. I couldn’t wear the colours I wanted because of the infection, and I didn’t want to wear any more chemical heavy nail polish. That’s when I searched for a brand that’s chemical free and found nami.”
So how does this happen? What are the causes, cures, or better yet, preventions of nail infection?
Nail fungal infections are the most common type of nail disease, making up about half of all nail problems. Fungus is always in the body, but if it gets out of hand, it can cause problems.
Both fingernails and toenails can get infected, which shows up as discoloration, thickening, and crumbling around the edges of the nail. Most of the time, the condition affects the toenails.
Nail infections can take a long time and cost a lot of money to treat. There are antifungal pills you can take orally, ointments you can put on the skin, and alternative treatments.
It can take up to 4 months for the infected nail to grow out and be replaced by a healthy one.
In the worst cases, a doctor may decide to take out the whole nail. *gasp*
Nail fungus infections can be avoided by keeping your hands and feet clean.
Here are some suggestions:
- Keeping your nails short, dry, and clean.
- Wearing socks that let you breathe
- Avoid getting too much water on your hands by wearing rubber gloves
- Not picking or biting your nails
- Make sure your manicure or pedicure salon sterilises their tools properly.
- Avoid the use of fake nails and chemical based nail polish often.
- Wash your hands after touching infected nails.
- Don't share shoes and socks.
Fungi which cause nail fungal infections don't need sunlight to live, so they can thrive in these places.
Most of the time, nail fungal infections are caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which includes Candida. But there are some yeasts and moulds that can also cause these infections.
Pathogens that cause nail fungus infections usually get into the skin through tiny cuts or small spaces between the nail and nail bed. Fungi grow when the nail is warm and moist enough for them to do so.
Fungal nail infections can happen to anyone, but they are more common in men than in women and in older people than in younger people. Some other traits or things that increase the risk of nail fungus infections are:
- less blood flow to the nails
- slow nail growth
- a family history of fungal infections
- heavy perspiration
- a humid or wet work environment
- wearing fake nails too often
- putting on socks and shoes that don't let air in
- walking around with wet feet in public places like pools, gyms, and shower rooms
- previous injury or infection to the skin or nail
Older adults are most likely to get nail fungus infections because ageing causes their blood flow to slow down and their nails to grow more slowly.
Choosing the right nail polish is part of proper nail care. Toxic chemicals that make up common nail polishes found on the market can linger on your nails and cause infections.
So choose one that’s formulated without harmful chemicals, vegan, cruelty-free, water-based, and dermatologist-approved!