If you’ve got a fungal nail infection, you’ll no doubt be searching for a nail fungus treatment. Among your options, you will find prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and various natural or home remedies. Whatever you choose, resign yourself to a long period of treatment – some of these remedies take quite a long time to work, if they work at all.
Before you buy, however, make sure that you really need a nail fungus treatment: abnormal nails can have other causes, such as bruising, bacterial growth, or psoriasis. A nail that is infected with fungus is typically thickened, and becomes yellow or brown. It may be crumbly, and it may lift away from the nail bed (the soft tender tissue under the nail). A proper diagnosis is important and can save you money, so see your physician.
Fungal infections usually appear in the toenails first, but can spread to the fingernails later, so unless you have been putting off treatment for a while, it’s likely to be a toenail fungus treatment that you need. First, you should learn how to make conditions inhospitable for the fungus, to hasten its departure and discourage it from returning after the treatment is finished. Fungi flourish on dead tissue – dead skin cells and the keratin in nails – and will settle in and cause fungal nail infections when conditions are moist. So keep your feet clean and dry. Towel your feet carefully after bathing, making sure you dry between your toes. You can even use a hair dryer to make sure your feet are completely dry.
Next, you must choose between prescription drugs, over-the-counter treatments, and home remedies for nail fungus. The most commonly prescribed antifungal drugs for toe nail fungus treatment are terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole (Diflucan). These oral medications are the most effective drugs because they attack the fungus from within, but they are expensive and all of them come with the possibility of side effects. There is a topical nail fungus treatment, a nail lacquer called ciclopirox (Penlac), which can only be used if the infection is not too advanced.
Over the counter nail fungus treatment usually consists of oils, creams or lotions that are applied topically to the infected nail. Because nails are very thick and resistant to the penetration of these substances, these treatments do not tend to work very well, especially as toenail fungus treatment – they simply do not reach the fungus where it is growing under the nail.
Home remedies for toenail fungus treatment tend to have the same disadvantages as the over the counter treatments but some people swear by them. Topical home remedies will probably work best if the nail is thin and soft, or if the nail has been soaked to soften it, and possibly filed down. Popular home remedies include vinegar, Vicks Vaporub, Tee Tree Oil, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), PineSol, and oregano oil. There is even an exotic acidophilius beer soak toenail fungus treatment in which acidophilus bacteria are added to a mixture of dark beer and vinegar, and the feet are soaked for 30 minutes daily for at least a month. Some people also recommend a natural remedy imported from the Czech Republic: Saprox Natural Antifungal Treatment.
One of the most promising new nail fungus treatments is a product called Leucatin, which is an internal and topical solution that can effectively destroy nail fungus and prevent it from reoccurring by naturally boosting your body’s anti-inflammatory and anti-infection abilities.
Although people will see different results from different toenail fungus treatments, you are bound to find one that works for you. Talk to your doctor to see what he or she recommends. And if nothing works, you may have to choose the most extreme nail fungus treatment of all – surgical removal of the nail and infected tissue. Ouch.
David Bloom is an avid health enthusiast and a regular contributor to a variety of health websites. He is the author of Nail Fungus Treatment, a blog dedicated to the treatment of fingernail and toenail fungus.