Before we talk about the best ways to treat nail fungus, it’s important to first understand what it is.
Typically caused by dermatophytes, yeast or mold, fungal infections of the nail can attack one or more nail beds and typically starts off as a yellow or whitish spot underneath your finger or toenails.
As the infections digs deeper into your nail bed, discoloration occurs along with the thickening and crumbled dissolvent of the actual nail itself.
Understanding the warning signs of nail fungus can help you take preemptive action against the infection with some of the treatments below, but knowing which stage in a nail fungal infection you are at will further help you to determine the best nail fungus treatments for your situation.
What Types of Nail Fungus Treatments Are Available?
Even though for most, nail fungus doesn’t pose a serious health risk but rather a cosmetic problem, for those with diabetes, weak immune systems, connective tissue disorders, vascular disease or poor circulation, things can escalate very quickly.
For this reason, and to prevent reoccurrence or permanent damage in even the healthiest of people, it is vital that everyone treat their nail fungus at the very first sign of infections; early treatment is imperative.
Here are some of the most effective and common nail fungus treatments:
Oral Medication: The most common treatment for nail fungus is a prescription from a doctor of oral antifungal medication.
These oral nail fungus medications are typically taken for six to twelve weeks but take much longer for full results to be seen (four to six months) afterwards as the nail regrows.
Because recurrent infections are typical, it’s important you take precautions to prevent nail fungus such as keeping your feet clean and dry, away from moist and warm environments.
Antifungal lacquer: With less severe cases consisting of mild infection or moderate nail fungus, doctors can sometimes prescribe anti-fungal nail polish called Penlac (ciclopirox).
By applying this topically to the nail once a day, you build up a layer of the medication for a week straight and then remove the layers with alcohol. You then start another treatment cycle for as long as it takes to get rid of your nail fungus (up to a year).
Topical medications: Another prescription option for fungal infections of the nail is topical anti-fungal medications.
These creams can be combined with over-the-counter lotions which contain urea to expedite and facilitate the absorption of the fungal medication.
While typically not curative on their own, topical medications are often used in tandem with oral medications for nail fungus to speed up the process.
Topical antifungal ointments often work better when the nail is filed (debridement) by your doctor first.
Surgery: In cases of extreme nail infection where pain is unbearable, doctors will suggest surgery to remove the nail completely, allowing a healthy nail to slowly grow back in (up to a year).
Surgery can be used in tandem with the above methods of treatment as well.
Photodynamic Therapy: Though not yet widely available, photodynamic therapy for nail fungus is a laser treatment which uses intense heat generated by light to get rid of the nail after acid-treatment.
It has been shown to be effective in many cases of nail infections.
Home Remedies: There are also a wide variety of home remedies for nail fungus that many people swear by including:
- Neem oil,
- Going in the ocean or soaking nails in vinegar and taping vinegar soaked cotton balls over them for constant saturation.
Over-The-Counter: While there are a number of over-the-counter medications for nail fungus, most are not very effective but can be worth a shot if you have no other recourse for curing nail fungus.
Which Nail Fungus Treatments Are The Best?
Keeping in mind that everyone reacts differently to different types of medications due to personal tolerance levels and unique causes of nail fungus, it’s important to note that no one treatment can be considered the overall best, but all of the above can be considered valid options for curing your nail fungus.
Talk more with your doctor about treatment options.
Things To Keep In Mind About Treating Nail Fungus
Fungal nail infection treatments are almost always necessary and some require six-month to year-long treatment courses.
Toenail fungus infections take longer to clear up than fingernail infections (which can be treated in as little as six weeks)
Prescription medications for nail fungus can have potentially harmful side effects for your liver, kidney and skin (rash)
Finding The Best Prices on Nail Fungus Treatments
Of course, there are many other remedies for nail fungus treatments that we haven’t gotten into here in this article.
One of the best treatments for toenail fungus available today is called Zetaclear and you can find more information about it here.