Who Can Develop Nail Fungus?
The short answer to this question is that anyone who has fingernails or toenails can develop nail fungus.
However, there are certain groups of people who are more prone to develop nail fungus. This includes people who are immunosuppressed and diabetic.
Additionally, women who get manicures and pedicures at unclean beauty spas are at an increased risk for developing nail fungus as the tools used may not be properly sanitized. The use of acrylic and fake nails can also contribute to the development of nail fungus. This is why it is especially important to understand the cleaning procedures of your favorite nail spot as well as the risks that fake nails can pose.
Types of Nail Fungus
While there are many different types of nail fungus, there are four main types of nail fungus. These major types of nail fungus are named for the area where they develop.
Distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO) is caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot to develop. This type of fungus infects the skin near the nail bed before traveling to the nailbed and causing the nail to turn yellow or white. Over time, debris from the fungus begins to build up under the nail and cause it to crack or become crumbly and painful.
Candida onychomycosis is a type of yeast infection that affects the nail. This is an uncommon type of nail fungus that is painful and causes the nail to separate from the nail bed. It can also cause the nail to become severely discolored or abnormal in shape. People with this nail fungus may also experience swelling and tenderness in the skin surrounding the nail.
White superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is a common nail fungus that first affects the top layer of the nail. This fungus causes white spots to develop on the nail prior to the entire nail becoming covered in a powder-like cover.
Proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO) is a type of nail fungus most commonly found in patients with HIV. This fungus is caused by dermatophytes that cause the nail to separate from the nail bed as a result of a thickening of the skin in the area. Surrounding areas of the skin may also be infected and the nails can become white or opaque as a result of this fungus.
Causes of Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is caused by an overgrowth of fungi, yeast, and molds in, around, and underneath the nail.
These conditions are most commonly transmitted through contact and through the use of non-sterilized mani/pedi equipment. Additionally, people can contract nail fungus after going barefoot in a public shower.
Treatment Options for Nail Fungus
Because of how common nail fungus is, there are many treatment options available to alleviate these conditions and try to return the nail to a healthy state.
Treatment options for nail fungus include using a topical antifungal and taking oral medications.
Depending on the depth of infection, topical antifungals may not be effective and can take up to a year to see improvement. Oral antifungals tend to be more effective, but the use of them require close monitoring due to the potential risk of side effects.
In some severe cases, surgery or laser treatments may be needed to treat nail fungus.
Leave your skincare to the experts. Nail fungus can be an uncomfortable and unsightly condition that requires medical treatment in order to restore the health of your fingernails and toenails. If you would like to experience premier dermatological care to achieve beautiful and healthy skin and nails, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Ip today.