Nail Issues: fungal infections
Read more about treatments for fingernail and toenails in ‘Beauty: The Ultimate Cosmetic Makeover Guide. Book 2: Body, Teeth & Hair‘.
Fungal infections are more likely to attack your toenails than your fingernails, for two reasons. Firstly, the environment of a warm, sweaty shoe is more conducive to fungal growth, and secondly, because the fungi that infect nails are the same as those that cause athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). That said, fingernails can get fungal infections too.
To deter fungal infections from attacking your nails, keep them clean and dry. Never injure your nails by chewing them, or tearing off hangnails, because as soon as the skin is broken, fungus can enter.
Drugstores and pharmacies sell topical antifungal products that can be used to treat fungal infections of the feet. Choose one that contains clotrimazole or miconazole. If the infection invades beneath the nail, however, you will probably need to see your doctor. Only a strong, prescription-strength medication can deal with that.
Tea tree oil and orange oil have fungicidal properties and can be used to treat foot fungus.
Baking soda, (sodium bicarbonate) is sometimes used as a scrub or a foot-soak. Baking soda is not fungicidal, which is to say that it cannot actually destroy fungus. It is, nonetheless, fungistatic, which means it hinders fungus from proliferating. Baking soda foot soaks can also soften hard skin and calluses.
Some people use coconut oil to combat nail fungus. It contains antifungal fatty acids.