Fungi are single-celled or multicellular organisms. Common examples of fungi in the environment are yeasts, moulds, and even mushrooms! Along with various bacteria, fungi are present in and on the body.

There are many different types of fungal infection. In this article, we will look in close detail as to what Onychomycosis is and what is the best medication for a nail fungal infection.

Understanding Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis, also known as tinea unguium, is a type of fungal infection that affects your nails. The infection begins when a fungus gets in through the cuts in your skin or cracks in your nails. Remember that fungi love warm and moist environments — making your nails an ideal place for growth.

Onychomycosis is more common in your toenails that in your fingernails. This is because your toenails are often confined in your shoes where it’s moist and warm.

What does a nail fungal infection look like?

Nail fungal infections vary from one person to another. Below are the common signs of Onychomycosis:

  • Thickened nail
  • Brittle nail
  • Any form of distortion in the nail that may lift it from the nail bed
  • Bad smell coming from the infected nail

Onychomycosis may affect only a small portion of the nail or the whole of it. In some cases, the infection may spread to several nails.

What are the different kinds of nail fungal infections?

There are at least four common types of nail fungal infections. Let’s look at them in detail below:

1. Candida Infection

This type of nail fungal infection is caused by Candida yeasts. Candida infections are more common in the fingernails and among people who soak their hands in water frequently. This fungal infection usually begins around the cuticle. As the fungi grow, your nail will become red, tender, and swollen. Untreated, the infection may cause the nail to lift from the nail bed or fall off.

2. White Superficial Infection

This type of fungal infection is common in toenails. It is often characterized by white spots which may become flaky and pitted. Untreated, these white spots will eventually cover the entire nail causing it to become rough and soft. Toenails affected by white superficial infection are prone to crumble.

3. Distal Subungual Infection

This fungal nail infection is probably the most common one. The distal subungual infection affects both your toenails and fingernails. It begins under the nail and is characterized by white and yellow streaks across the nail. It may also cause the outer edges of your nail to become jagged.

4. Proximal Subungual Infection

Like above, this type of nail fungal infection develops in your toenails and fingernails. The infection begins at the base of your nail — characterized by yellow spots. It then spreads upwards. Proximal subungual infection is rare and often affects people who have weakened immune systems.

If you want to learn more about fungal infections, here’s our fungal infections guide.

Who can develop nail fungal infections?

Most causes of fungal nail infections are preventable. However, your risks of developing any of the infections we’ve discussed above increases when you:

  • Are more than 65 years old
  • Wear artificial nails
  • Have nail injury or cuts around the nail
  • Have a compromised immune system
  • Wear closed-toe shoes often
  • Have diabetes
  • Have moist fingers or toes for extended periods

What is the best medication for a nail fungal infection?

The best way to know what type of nail fungal infection you are dealing with is to have a doctor examine your nails. Remember that other diseases like psoriasis can mimic a nail fungal infection. Knowing the type of infection is the best way to get proper treatment.

Some of the common treatment for nail fungal infections include:

Taking oral anti-fungal drugs

Compared to topical drugs, oral anti-fungal medications clear nail fungal infections quicker. Most of these treatments work by helping your nails grow infection-free — replacing the infected part over time. It may take up to four months to replace the damaged nail and get rid of the infection. The downside of anti-fungal drugs is that they tend to have side effects ranging from a skin rash to liver damage.

Using Curanail

Curanail is a topical fungal medication that’s clinically proven to clear nail fungal infections within six months. It works by preventing the fungi from producing ergosterol — a key component of their cellular membrane — essentially, “killing” it.

Curanail is applied directly on the infected nail like a nail lacquer or varnish. It then slowly penetrates the nail and on to the nail bed where the root of the infection is. You can buy Curanail online from Express Pharmacy.