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Nail Fungus

Find advice, support and effective treatment for fungal nail infections here

What is nail fungus?

Fungi are a common and perfectly natural part of our environment. They are present in the soil and in the air; on our skin and frequently our food. In most of these cases, they are completely harmless. However, some types of fungi can thrive and spread in different places on the body, such as the skin, nails, hair or vagina, creating infections in these areas.

Did You Know?

Fungal infections don’t just affect your nails. Other common fungal infections include ringworm, thrush, jock itch and athlete’s foot.

On the skin, the most common fungi belong to the group known as “tinea”. Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) is a very common fungal infection of the feet and toes – one which is easily spread through human contact. Tinea infections also commonly lead to ringworm of the scalp (Tinea capitis) and ringworm on the body (Tinea corporis).

Tinea infection also frequently lead to fungal nail infections.


Onychomycosis – also known as tinea unguium, is a specific strand of fungal infection that affects the toenails or the fingernails. These infections can occur over time, making them hard to catch early on as any change in the nail may be too subtle to detect.

A fungal nail infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of fungi in, under or on the nail. It can be a source of discomfort and concern for those suffering with the condition, so it’s important to seek out effective antifungal treatment for nail fungus as soon as any symptoms of the condition become apparent.

Nail fungus causes

According to research by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fungal nail infections more commonly occur in toenails than in fingernails. This is understandable as fungi thrive in moist and warm environments and so are more easily able to naturally overpopulate when confined in your shoe or sock.

Fungi that are already present in the body can cause nail infections, and can be passed on by someone who is currently suffering. It’s also important to enquire about the sanitation of tools like emery boards and nail clippers if you get pedicures and manicures, as these can be a breeding ground for spores. Nail infections occur more commonly in men than women, and are more common in adults than children. People over the age of 65 are most at risk.

Fungal infections start out as minor health concerns, but can become more serious if left untreated. Anti-mycobacterial POM medication like Curanail is the most effective way of eradicating fungal nail infections swiftly.

Daman Bhamra, Express Pharmacy

Other factors that may increase your risk of infection include:

  • Having diabetes
  • Having a disease related to poor circulation
  • Wearing artificial nails
  • Having a nail injury
  • Having a skin injury around the nail
  • Swimming in a public swimming pool
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Wearing closed-toes shoes

Nail fungus symptoms

Fungal nail infections can affect part of the nail, the entire nail or even several nails. Common and visible signs of a fungal nail infection include:

  • Thick toenails
  • Brittle toenails
  • Nail discolouration
  • Scaling under the nail (subungual hyperkeratosis)
  • White or yellow streaks on the nail (lateral onychomycosis)
  • Crumbling in the corner or tip of the nail (distal onychomycosis)
  • Flaking white areas on the nail surface
  • Yellow spots at the bottom of the nail (proximal onychomycosis)
  • Distortion to the nail which may cause it to lift off the nail bed
  • An odour emitting from the infected nail
  • Loss of the nail entirely

A GP can confirm a case of fungal nail infection by taking a scraping of the nail and looking at it under the microscope for signs of fungus.

Thick toenails

A thickening of the nail is one of the most common signs of infection. It is also one of the signs which can occur early on in the infection, meaning it can go unnoticed until the symptoms get worse.

Thick toenails can take on a softer and more crumbly texture than healthy toenails. Although fungal nail infection is by far the most common cause of thick toenails, it can also be a sign of other conditions like psoriasis and diabetes.

Nail discolouration

Nail discolouration is one of several kinds of nail dystrophies. Approximately 50% of nail dystrophies are caused by fungal nail infections.

Fungal nail infections tend to make the nails take on a more yellowish colour. If nails are turning a different colour, it could be the sign of a different kind of infection. For example, bacterial infections can make the nails turn greenish black, while melanoma can cause the nails to become black or dark brown.

Brittle nails

Nails often become brittle when they are infected, making them look and feel less strong. They may also be more prone to breakages, and may crumble when touched.

Although fungal nail infections are among the most common causes for brittle nails, a splitting of the nail can also be caused by iron deficiency. This splitting is also known as onychoschizia.

Nail fungus treatment

Fungal nail infections are easily contracted, but they can also be swiftly dealt with by using the right medication. Topical POM medications work by preventing the fungi from producing an important component of the fungal cell membrane known as ergosterol. This causes the membranes to leak, meaning the cells which rely on the membranes for survival are killed off swiftly.

You can also take steps to prevent fungal nail infections with some simple precautions. Here are some do’s and don’ts to bear in mind:

Do –

  • Keep your feet clean and dry
  • Wear clean socks every day
  • Throw out old shoes
  • Wear flipflops when using the showers in a public gym or pool

Don’t –

  • Share towels with others
  • Wear other people’s shoes
  • Wear shoes which make your feet hot and sweaty
  • Share nail clippers, scissors or nail varnish

Below we’ve taken a closer look at some of the most common treatment methods for fungal nail infection.

Antifungal nail paint

Antifungal nail paints like Curanail are a popular choice of treatment for fungal nail infections as they can simply be painted over the nail in the same way you would with nail varnish, thanks to its lacquered texture. Consistent use is important as fungal toenail infections can take weeks or months to heal completely.


Curanail is one of the most popular and effective forms of antifungal nail paint. It also acts as a nail softener, and can effectively kill off a fungal nail infection thanks to its active ingredient Amorolfine, which is anti-fungal. Applying the medication creates an impenetrable barrier that allows Curanail to sink slowly through the nail to the nailbed. In clinical trials, Curanail successfully cleaned up 85% of fingernail infections and 75% of toenail infections in 6 months.

Nail softener

Nail softeners can be used to treat symptoms of fungal nail infections like thick and brittle nails, helping the infected area return to a more normal texture. It also makes infected nails easier to manage and cut.

Curanail can help treat many of the common symptoms of fungal nail infection, tackling your infection at the root. You can purchase Curanail from Express Pharmacy.

Our price promise commitment means that as we match prices nationally, prices will go down (and up) accordingly.

If you see or buy a treatment online and find it cheaper with a high street competitor (whether or not they also sell online), as long as their service conditions are comparable, then we’ll match that price for you or refund the difference. The cost of the treatment must include consultation charges for medication without a prior prescription. Comparable service conditions include factors such as delivery charges and timescales (such as Shutl delivery), and consultation charges.

If you’ve already purchased the treatment online, please make sure you report the price match within 28 days of receiving it. If you’d like to buy the product but want us to price match first, please check that you’re providing the most up to date information you can obtain when you submit your claim.

We’ll be asking you for full details of the treatment, the competitor and their prices, so please do check that you have this information to hand before you contact us.

Please note though, that we won’t refund the difference in price paid if you could have bought the product more cheaply with an online-only retailer: examples of this include chemistdirect.co.uk, who sell only through their websites or mail order and not via high street shops. We also don’t match competitors who are in administration or closing down.

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