Are you wondering if you have black toenail fungus? In such case, you must work as fast as possible. Why? This is due to the fact that toenail fungus is a contagious condition. You may affect even your loved ones if you do not treat it instantly.
What Is Black Toenail Fungus?
It may be your first time to encounter black toenail fungus. You must know that dark toenails are signs of infection, nutrient deficiencies, and trauma among others. Nonetheless, if it is a fungus, there is a chance that you have microscopic fungi spores.
What Does Black Toenail Fungus Look Like
What are the symptoms?
There are several symptoms associated with black fungus under toenail. To have ideas regarding this, here are the following:
- Flaking of the nail
- Thickening of the nail
- Shape distortion
- Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
- Debris building up underneath the nail
- Slightly foul smell
What are the causes?
Before you proceed to check out a home remedy for toenail fungus, you must first identify what probably have caused it. There are several factors that can lead to dark toenail fungus, such as these:
Cutting Toenails Too Short. If you want to know how to get rid of toenail fungus, you must prevent doing this. When the nail clippers get too close to the skin of your nails, you may create cuts that could allow the fungus to take root. This is common if you sweat often and walk around.
Walking Around Barefoot in Public Damp Areas. The usual places that you may be at risk to fungal nail infection are gyms, public showers, swimming pools, beaches, and locker rooms among others.
If you will walk barefoot, your skin and nail will be exposed to the fungus that others might have. Be reminded that the aforementioned areas a breeding grounds for toe nail fungus.
Heavily Sweating of the Feet. You may find out the best toenail fungus treatment if you are suffering from excessive sweating of the foot. You must know that black toenail fungus is commonly due to this condition, particularly if it roots from the soles.
Wearing Tight-Fitting Shoes. You must know that you may actually prevent getting a fungal nail infection treatment if you only had avoided tight-fitting shoes. Many patients often require toenail fungus treatment for it is already too late for them.
In other words, the condition had already developed. Apparently, when you wear tight-fitting footwear, you do not allow either your nail or skin to breath. It is also possible for moisture to build up due to lack of air.
Trauma or Injury to the Toenail or Toe. There is a possibility that you are now suffering from toenail fungus after you had run into something with your toe. Moreover, you may have probably dropped something on your nail.
Your nail may be turning black for it is actually trying to heal. Alternatively, you may be suffering from toe nail fungus for sliding your feet and hit the shoe’s side accidentally.
Not Keeping Your Feet Clean and Dry. People forget the importance of keeping the feet from dirt and bacteria, which is one way of keeping it from becoming a breeding ground for black toenail fungus.
As much as possible, you should use breathable footwear, cut your nails properly, and use properly fitted shoes to prevent nail fungus.
Weakened Immune System. black nail fungus may be due to your weakening immunity against fungi. Apparently, as your nail becomes susceptible to damage, it will be dry and brittle. The resulting cracks of your nails will allow fungi to thrive in the nail bed.
Health Conditions. There is a variety of medical issues that can lead to the development of black toenail fungus. Good examples are diabetes, circulation problems, athlete’s foot, and reduced blood flow among others. Furthermore, you may also be more prone to black fungus under toenail if you have psoriasis and other similar skin condition.
Abnormal pH Level of the Skin. You may also suffer from black toenail fungus if you have abnormal pH skin level, which means it can be too oily or dry. Either way, this will expose you to the development of the condition.
For instance, if your skin is too dry, cracks will allow black nail fungus to root. Alternatively, with extra moisture, the fungus will have more chances of growing.
Athlete’s Foot. If you have a history of athlete’s foot, you will likely have a risk of suffering from black toenail fungus. Things will get worse if you actually have the ailment since it can cause the fungus to spread from your skin to the nails.
Getting a Pedicure Using Unsterilized Tools. There are many salons today that will put you at risk of having black nail fungus since they use cleaning equipment that is not clean. If the salon staff accidentally cuts your skin with any of the said tools, you will be at risk of spreading fungus from the skin to nails.
Weak Blood Circulation. You may be suffering from black toenails or other foot problems if you have a weak blood circulation. Feet are considered to be the primary parts of the body that indicate a poor blood flow in your system.
Apparently, if you have poor circulation in your foot, oxygen will also find it more difficult to be distributed throughout your body.
Wearing Socks and Shoes Too Much. This can be considered similar to wearing tight-fitting shoes. You will only expose your feet to black toenail fungus if you inhibit it from actually getting sufficient air flow.
Your feet have to breathe if you want to guarantee too much moisture will not develop over time. If you can, you can consider open sandals or flip-flops once in a while.
Overexposure to Moist. Oftentimes, black toenail fungus develops when your nails are usually exposed to moisture and warmth. You must know that the said conditions are most favorable for fungi to develop, thrive, and grow. This is also the reason why sweating and swimming are not recommended if you want to avoid the problem.
Genetics or Heredity. According to experts, there are cases that the problem may be hereditary. Alternatively, it may not be due to genetics in the rest of the records. However, it was found out that if someone in your family suffers from it, you have higher chances of struggling with it.
In contrary, it does not mean that a clean record in your family will not cause you to suffer from the fungus development. One of the hereditary factors that may make you more susceptible to the issue is having diabetes.
Being Older. The more you get older, the more your body will become weaker. Apart from suffering from a lower immunity against diseases, your nails will be more prone to brittleness and drying. Apparently, all of the said factors can lead to the fungus of the toenails.
What to Do Before Using Topical Medications
If you want to utilize topical medications in order to address your fungus problem, there are major steps that you should follow. In such way, you will be able to preserve the health of your nails:
Patience and Dedication. There are various patients who confided that they are embarrassed to wear footwear that exposes their toenails. In this type of situation, you must be very patient and accept the consequences of the issue.
Moreover, you must be reminded that the treatment options in topical form may have side effects. The result may also take time since it is also difficult to penetrate the nails.
Necessary Supplies. You must have nail files and nail clippers ready for the preparation of your toenails prior treatment. It is necessary that you keep on thinning and trimming your nails to eradicate the extra pressure on your nails.
- Cut Nails. Cutting your nails short will help the topical solution to penetrate better into your nail bed. If you will also preserve the long length of your nails, you may stub it into a certain surface and cause further problems. Cut it regularly even during the process of treatment.
- File Nails. You must remember that filing your nails is important so that these will not thicken. One of the major symptoms of the problem is nail thickening. When this gets worse, you will only avoid the topical treatment from taking effect quickly and accordingly.
- Twice Daily Soak. You must consider soaking your toenails so that the fungus can be killed continuously alongside the use of topical treatments. One of the best treatments you can consider is apple cider vinegar. There are cases that other patients also use it with hot water and Epsom salt. Nonetheless, it may be used separately.
- Soap and Scrub. Using the two solutions will help you get rid of the dead skin cells and bacteria that may make the condition worse. Every time you visit a public place, you must wash your feet with soap and scrub. Furthermore, this may be assistive if you want to promote the improved absorption of topical solutions.
- Apply Topical Medication. Once your physician has provided you a treatment solution, you must follow the instructions in applying it. There are cases that you need to use the topical medication certain times of the day after following the steps given above. Be patient for not all topical medications take a short time to produce results.
- Allow Treatment to Absorb and Dry. Be reminded that you must not be impatient and wear shoes when you just have applied the topical medication. Let your nail and skin absorb the medication thoroughly. As much as possible, you utilize the treatment when you are at home.
Best Black Toenail Fungus Treatment
There are various solutions made to eradicate the fungus development in your toenails. To give you more ideas, given below are the following:
Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus
Tea Tree Oil. There is no doubt that this solution will be in the list since it has antiseptic and antifungal properties. You simply have to use it directly onto the affected nails, preferably two times every day.
There are also small clinical studies and research that have proved this essential oil can indeed combat fungal infections.
Apple Cider Vinegar. The solution is considered one of the most effective remedies for the fungal infection. You may use it internally or topically. To create an effective mixture out of it, you need six parts of hot water, one part Epsom salt, and one part of the vinegar.
You should use the resulting solution as a soak two times every day with thirty minutes every session.
Oregano Oil. The essential oil contains thymol, which is considered to be rich in both antibacterial and antifungal properties. In order to use it, you simply have to apply the oil onto the toenails two times every day using a cotton swab.
There are patients who actually prefer mixing tea tree oil with oregano oil for stronger effects. However, there may be risks associated, which is why it is not recommended.
Lavender Oil. The loved essential oil is also rich in antifungal properties no matter how unexpected it may be. You simply have to use a few drops of it on the affected toenails during bedtime. Let it sit on your nails while you sleep.
Coconut Oil. The remedy contains one of the most effective medium-chain fatty acids called caprylic acid. The compound has the capability to go through a fungi and Candida’s wall. In other words, it can destroy infection effectively.
To use it, you only need a thin layer of the essential oil. Let the solution be absorbed by your nail and skin for at least 15 minutes.
Vicks VapoRub. This is a typical solution if you want to get rid of the fungus in your toenails with the help of its cooling properties. According to experts, its eucalyptus oil and camphor compounds treat the fungus.
You simply have to use a small amount of it onto the toenails affected by the fungus. This can be done at least once every day.
Listerine Mouthwash. This product contains eucalyptus, thymol, and menthol compounds, which contain antifungal and antibacterial properties. From this given fact, there is already no doubt on what it can do for fungus on toenails. It is recommended that you use it as a soak for half an hour every day.
Hydrogen Peroxide. The use of this remedy is also called as oxidative therapy. The purpose of the treatment is to soak the affected toenails several times daily. You are only allowed to use three percent hydrogen peroxide. Otherwise, you may suffer from skin irritation.
AHA Creams. These creams stand for alpha hydroxyl acid solutions. You need to use it prior to sleeping. The remedy is helpful in order to get rid of the scales on your skin, which will make you more susceptible to the fungus development.
Baking Soda. There are many reasons why people rely on baking soda, one of which is its efficiency in addressing fungus in toenails. You can simply create a paste out of it by mixing warm water and baking soda. Afterward, you may use it on your toenails for a few minutes every day.
There are plenty of oral medications for toenail fungus, such as Sporanox, Diflucan, Terbinafine, Itraconazole, and Lamisil. These claim to promote the re-growth of the nails slowly in order to replace the infected part. It may work for an average of six to 12 weeks.
However, you must know that there is a lower success rate with the said drugs. Furthermore, it may cause side effects, such as liver damage and skin rash. It is not recommendable for those with congestive heart failure or liver disease.
You can purchase a lot of topical solutions for toenail fungus, such as Pur360 Manuka Oil, Fungus Stop, and Funginix. These remedies work by being rubbed onto the affected nails. Topical solutions work well if you will thin your nails first.
There is also a possibility that the removal of your toenail may be recommended in order to promote the direct application of the antifungal drug under the nail. There are also cases that nail treatments do not work or your toenail does not respond to medications.
Laser and Light-Based Therapies
There are remedies considered to be the more modern and technologically advanced approaches in dealing with fungus for toenails. The purpose of the solution is to target the affected tissues and destroy the fungus. However, it ensures to leave the rest of the tissue components unaffected.
Since the therapies are still new, it cannot be said that these are indeed effective.
Diet for Toenail Fungus
You must also preserve proper nutrition to fight the fungus in your toenails by following these tips:
- Drink a lot of water.
- Eliminate sugar-filled food.
- Eat food rich in vitamin C, folic acid, probiotics, and protein.
- Take vitamin B12 supplements.
Preventing Fungal Nail Infections
Instead of treating the fungus, there is nothing better than preventing it, which you may do so by being reminded of the steps below:
- Trim your nails short regularly.
- Wear proper-fitting and breathable shoes.
- Use antifungal powders or sprays.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places.
- Never use other’s nail file, clipper, and shoes.
When to See Your Doctor
There are major signs why you need to see a doctor if you have observed fungus in your toenail. Common ones are the following:
- Painful affected area
- Increased tenderness
- Discharge of pus
- Red streaks
- Thickened toenail
- Unlikely nail appearance
Now that you are fully aware of the condition and how to prevent or treat it, handling it will be much more convenient. Still, for more accurate diagnosis, you should visit your physician.