As soon as the first really warm days begin, we want to get all of our open shoes out of the closet so that we can bathe our feet in the sun just like the rest of our bodies. But what if the nails are brittle, stained or discolored? These could be signs of nail fungus. In this article you will learn how to recognize it, treat it and prevent it in the future.
What is nail fungus?
Nail fungus is an infection of the toenails (but also fingernails) by certain types of fungi that feed on the keratin that is part of our skin and nails. In some cases, yeast or mold are responsible, but mostly it is filamentous fungi, so-called dermatophytes, that cause the infection. And as the name suggests (derma = skin), these mushrooms have usually been on your skin for a long time before they pass on to nails. So if you have caught a athlete's foot somewhere, it is all the more important to treat it in time, otherwise the microscopic fungi will spread and affect your nails. But a reverse spread from the nail to the rest of the foot or fingers is also possible, simply because both diseases are the same pathogen.
If you are already struggling with a nail fungus, you should not wait any longer but get active quickly. Nail fungus treatment can be lengthy and complicated. Proper treatment is crucial for success, but more on that later. Fast and effective treatment is also important because otherwise it could happen that your nails are completely destroyed.
Incidence and risk factors of nail fungus
Did you know that about 15 to 20% of Germans suffer from nail fungus? That is between twelve and 16 million people. In older people aged 65 and over, the frequency is estimated to be as high as 45%. Three quarters of the nail fungus infections occur on the feet. You can imagine the reason: Our feet and toenails are exposed to significantly more stress due to tight shoes or pressure during sport, which can result in microfine injuries to the nails and skin. And the warm, humid climate in socks and shoes does the rest to make the mushrooms cozy.
Of course, swimming pools and saunas are also among the risk spots, as there are a lot of fungi here. In addition, people who have poor blood flow, such as diabetes or arterial problems, are more likely to become infected. But even if you have a weak immune system, the pathogens have an easier time with you and it is particularly important that your foot care becomes routine.
Many scientists believe that around 80% of nail fungus infections are caused by a main pathogen called Trichophyton rubrum. The common thing about this little guy is that he can trick our immune system so that the body's defenses don't even react. Unfortunately, there is usually no avoiding drug treatment of the diseased nails.
This is how you recognize nail fungus
Of course, you are now wondering how you can recognize a nail fungus or which symptoms you should pay attention to. So here are the hard facts:
- the nails become brittle and some layers of horn split off
- white streaks or spots
- white-yellowish to brownish discoloration of the nails
- the nail plate becomes thicker or deformed
- Inflammation of the nail bed
- in some cases, the infected nail can completely detach from the toe
Basically, the different infections look relatively the same, with one minor difference. Because while the infection from skin fungus spreads from the front edge of the nail, the discoloration due to yeast develops at the root of the nail.
It all sounds really ugly now. And of course you don't want to be seen on the beach or at a garden party with such nails. That is why we come directly to the topic of treatment so that you know how to get the problem under control.
What is the best way to treat nail fungus?
Unfortunately, we have to tell you in advance that getting rid of the fungus is a relatively lengthy procedure. Because a nail is only considered "healed" when the healthy nail has completely regrown. With fingernails, this can take about half a year, with toenails it is usually nine to twelve months. So long it will probably be nothing with flip flops, sandals or open pumps.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, there are external and internal applications. The latter is a so-called systemic therapy in tablet form (must be prescribed by the doctor) and you should only use this if your nail root or more than 50% of your nails are affected by the fungus. If the course is weaker, you can also use a medical anti-fungal nail polish. These are available over the counter in your pharmacy or e.g. here with us, and you can use it yourself at home. It is important that you use the nail polish treatment several times a day and until all your nails look healthy again.
Many varnishes have a small disadvantage: you have to file your nails beforehand so that the active ingredient concentration reaches the diseased nail strong enough. While this is not a big effort, you should make sure that you do not distribute infected nail chips in the bathroom to avoid re-infection and to protect your family and / or roommates.
You can get a solution against nail fungus, which does not need to be filed beforehand and whose active ingredient is deeply absorbed into the nail, for example with us. Our Sanhelios nail treatment against nail fungus penetrates deep into the nail and kills the fungus within 20 seconds.
Now you might think that I will apply the solution once and everything is in butter. Unfortunately no, our nail treatment must be used twice a day until the nail fungus has grown out. Only in this way can you really play it safe that the nail is really 100% free of nail fungus. Nevertheless, the advantages of our nail treatment over many other products are obvious:
- kills the nail fungus in 20 seconds
- is hygienic and easy to use (without filing the nail)
- contains a patented active ingredient with scientifically proven effects
- prevents infection of other nails
- is also suitable for diabetics
- is available in a 10ml bulk pack and usually lasts for several months
So, now enough self-promotion. No matter which product you choose, the most important thing in the treatment of nail fungus is constancy. Only when you treat the affected nail (s) every day can you be sure that it is 100% gone. Sounds lengthy and daunting doesn't it? So we think that in the next section you will find out how best to protect yourself from being infected with nail fungus.
This is how you can prevent nail fungus
We have already explained to you briefly above that mushrooms are mainly in humid environments and grow there best. That's why you should always pay attention to dry feet and hands. The easiest way to do this is by drying them off well after water contact or by drying them dry. And of course, bathing slippers are at the top of the list for swimming pools, changing rooms or communal showers. After all, you never know who was running around before.
The second sticking point is your shoes and socks, which should sit loose and comfortable in the best case, especially if you walk a lot. This allows you to avoid pressure points, injuries or excessive sweating between your toes. For example, pack spare stockings while hiking so you're always on dry foot. And also breathable shoes are great. Now you probably think "comfortable shoes are rarely pretty", but there are enough beautiful shoes that are good for your feet. Yes, we are all a bit vain, but health should be a priority, right?
And one last tip for hygiene if you are affected by nail fungus: So that you can anticipate a new infection and spread, wash all substances that come into contact with your feet at at least 60° C or use a special hygiene rinser – so all spores are killed.
We wish you a carefree summer and a nice barefoot season.
Healthy greetingsYour Sanhelios team