Nailner Healthy Nail Guide

Nail fungus is one of the most common issues affecting nails and research suggests that many consumers find it a difficult problem to treat, often leading to worry and distress. A new survey found that a huge number – 67% – of people were triggered to find a solution to their fungal nail due to the nail’s unsightly appearance. Coming into spring and summer acts as a natural motivator for treatment. In fact, the survey found that 41% of people are ashamed to show off their bare feet in the warmer months, while 34% of people hate the way their feet look all year round.

Podiatrist & MD of DG Podiatrist, Dina Gohil, is here to provide her expert advice and counsel on nail care to address your concerns on identifying and treating nail fungus quickly and safely.

of people are ashamed to show off their bare feet in the warmer months

of people hate the way their feet look all year round

of people were triggered to find a solution to their fungal nail due to the nail’s unsightly appearance

What is nail fungus?

The medical term for a fungal nail infection is ‘onychomycosis’. It is a common fungal infection that affects the nails. The infection can cause the nail to discolour and become brittle, making them easier to split or break. They may also be crumbly or thick in nature. On occasion, fungal nails can cause pain on the nail bed from the thickening.

What does nail fungus look like?

When a fungal infection begins, you may start to notice discolouration on a small aspect of your nail and notice it get larger over time. For chronic cases this may already have spread to the majority of the nail if not the entire nail. The discolouration can appear white, yellow, or even darker brown in colour depending on the individual. As the fungus spreads further changes in the nail can be caused. The nail can become brittle, ‘chalky’, and you may notice it breaks easily, and there may be an odour present. With chronic infection the nail may become thickened, and the nail may start to separate from the nail bed meaning it is no longer attached to the fleshy aspect of your toe and odour may be more prominent.

Is nail fungus contagious?

When a fungal infection begins, you may start to notice discolouration on a small aspect of your nail and notice it get larger over time. For chronic cases this may already have spread to the majority of the nail if not the entire nail. The discolouration can appear white, yellow, or even darker brown in colour depending on the individual. As the fungus spreads further changes in the nail can be caused. The nail can become brittle, ‘chalky’, and you may notice it breaks easily, and there may be an odour present. With chronic infection the nail may become thickened, and the nail may start to separate from the nail bed meaning it is no longer attached to the fleshy aspect of your toe and odour may be more prominent.


How can I prevent nail fungus?

Hygiene

Hygiene is very important for the prevention of fungal nails and to reduce spreading the infection to other nails. Make sure to wash your feet daily using soap and water. Straight after washing your feet, dry them thoroughly with a towel including in-between the toes.


Nailcare

Secondly, ensure your nails are cut regularly and well, using nail clippers or nail scissors. When cutting your nails remember to leave a small white free edge. Make sure the tools you use to cut the nails are clean and your own. Refrain from sharing nail clippers or scissors or ripping nails off when they have become long or split.

Footwear

Fungus thrives in wet, damp, and moist environments and our feet have over 250,000 sweat glands. Whether you feel it or not your feet release sweat and create the perfect environment for nail fungus. One step towards prevention is to always wear socks with your footwear. There are many lengths and types of sock available on the market to meet your style requirements. It would be ideal to wear moisture wicking and breathable socks that absorb sweat to help keep your feet dry in your shoes and allow air to pass to help regulate
temperature. This can prevent the feet from
becoming too hot and sweaty. If you naturally have a sweaty foot type, it would be advisable to change your socks during the day.

Change your footwear on a regular basis, let them air out, wash them if applicable and make sure they are thoroughly dry before wearing them again. Refrain from sharing socks and shoes with others.


What does a healthy nail care routine involve?

Soaking your feet in a foot bath comprising of salt and warm water for 10-15min is a great start towards a healthy nail care routine. Using a towel, dry your feet thoroughly afterwards. Ensure your nail tools are clean and ready for use. Cut your nails carefully and always leave a small white free edge. Refrain from cutting too deep or leaving them too long. Follow the shape of your nail and try not to cut deep down in the corners. It is always advisable to smoothen any sharp corners with a thin foot file. Once complete apply a nail oil to help maintain the vitality and health of the nail.


What are the treatment options?

Fungal nail infections can be treated using home remedies and OTC anti-fungal remedies. Home remedies can include diluting vinegar in water and using the solution for foot soaks, adding tea tree oil into the solution. OTC remedies vary, one example being Nailner that can be used to treat nail fungus. Nailner’s range of clinically proven products offer people effective treatment options and ensure “Better Looking Nails During Treatment”. The product range includes Nailner Active Cover, Nailner Treat & Colour and Nailner 2&1 brush or pen. These products not only treat the infection, but also improve the appearance of the infected nail. For example, Nailner 2 in 1 products include a brightening ingredient which quickly improves the appearance of your nails, giving visible results in just 7 days. Nailner Active Cover is a treatment using revolutionary new
technology, combining a nail fungus treatment and nude breathable nail polish in one bottle.
For chronic fungal infection you may be asked by your GP to take a course of anti-fungal tablets.


Are these treatments safe to use?

Yes, on the whole OTC anti-fungal treatments are safe to use. Make sure to follow the instructions given with the treatment/ointment/lacquer in use. Do not use if pregnant. Anti-fungal tablets would require monthly blood tests to ensure the liver is working optimally.


How long do I need to use treatment for?

It is important to continue the treatment plan until the nail is restored to its healthy state. It is especially important when the nail looks clear that you continue treatment for another two weeks at least to ensure it is fully clear.


How long does it take until nails look healthy?

The length of treatment depends on the stage of the nail fungal infection. For mild infections the minimum time until your nails are clear can be roughly 6-9 months. For chronic cases it can take a minimum of one year to show signs of improvement and longer for full clear. So, whilst many people can feel frustrated that a treatment isn’t working immediately, try to be patient and feel confident that the condition will improve given consistent and regular treatment.


Can I paint or cover my nails while treating them/when will my nails start to look better?

It is preferable to leave the nails in the natural state as nail polish can make nail infections worse. However, Nailner does have several treatment options that you may want to consider on
occasions where your feet will be on display. Nailner 2 in 1 comes with both brush and pen application options and contains a brightening ingredient that improves the appearance of the nail while the treatment does its work, with visible results in 7 days. Nailner Active Cover combines treatment and a breathable nude nail polish in one bottle, while Nailner Treat & Colour includes the treatment liquid and a separate coloured breathable nail polish to disguise the appearance of the infected nail. Unlike normal nail polish, breathable nail polish is safe and easy to use while treating nail fungus.


I feel embarassed and ashamed about my nails – is this normal?

Of course, this is a common feeling associated with fungal nails and is experienced by women and men equally. This is why Nailner’s range of treatments can help people feel less embarrassed about their condition as their products camouflage the appearance of the nail whilst treating.
It is important to start treating it as soon as possible. I often find that my clients feel less embarrassed and more empowered knowing that they are doing something to help fight the infection.


When should I seek professional advice?

See list below;

  • You are not sure if you have a fungal infection and require diagnosis
  • You have tried OTC remedies and the infection is not improving
  • If the nail is coming away from the nail bed and requires to be removed professionally
  • If the nail is too thick and you are unable to cut it
  • If your nail is starting to hurt with the fungal infection
  • Spreading to other nails
  • Spreading the fungal infection on the skin

Dina Gohil

(BSc (Hons), MChS, HCPC Reg.)
Founder and Managing Director,
DG Podiatrist Ltd. Mayfair.
Karo Pharma’s Footcare Brand Ambassador