About 15-25% of us suffer from some kind of fungal nail infection or Onychomycosis which is its proper name. A typical first sign is a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. As it spreads the nail becomes more discoloured. It may also thicken and develop a distorted shape and the edges may become brittle and deteriorate.
It is not only unsightly but can also be painful and the nail becomes impossible to cut at home. In some cases the infected nail even separates from the bed.
If this is combined with poor circulation due to age or numbness (often seen in diabetics) it can cause real problems.
Onychomycosis is can be very resistant to treatment and is unlikely to go away by itself. Our bodies are better at fighting off viruses or bacterial infections than the fungal ones.
The most common are caused by:
Dermatophytes – which makes the nails become yellow or brown in colour and have a crumbly texture
Candida – which is a yeast that gives the nails a yellow or white powdery appearance. This is caused by microscopic fungi entering the nailbed through tiny cracks, cuts or small separations between the nail and bed.
Causes of Onychomycosis
– Cutting the nails too short or over-zealous pedicuring
– Damage to the nail caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes or playing sport
– Poorly sterilised instruments in beauty parlours
– Sweaty feet
– People who use gym and swimming pool change rooms
Traditional treatments for onychomycosis are slow and often ineffective
Traditional treatments include topical anti-fungal solutions such as Loceryl which are painted on to the nail or oral anti-fungals for more stubborn infections.
Topical anti-fungals often don’t get applied regularly enough or penetrate the nail effectively. Treatment can go on for months and years.
Oral anti fungal tablets prescribed by your GP that can be required to take for months. This method can be effective but there can be many side effects upon your general health. Often you need to get regular blood tests whilst taking this medication as it is known to cause liver damage. Other unpleasant side effects produced by these tablets can be nausea, headaches or even abdominal pain.
We now have ClearNail Laser treatment
Developed in Germany, ClearNail laser uses an infrared beam to target the fungal spores and nail bed. It is administered via a pen-type device that is passed over the entire surface of the nail and back over the bed. The spores react to the heat which breaks up and destroys them.
The difference with laser treatment is that it is localised so it only treats the immediate area and healthy tissue is left undamaged.
There are no side effects or “recovery period” after the procedure. Clients are able to walk out comfortably following the procedure. Within a couple of months the new healthy nail should start to become visible as it grows – hopefully reattached to the bed. We advise a follow-up application to ensure infection is cleared after 8 weeks. Because the risk of re-infection is high also suggest the use of separate towels to dry the infected areas, wiping the shower or bath with antiseptic wipes before and after use, washing socks and bed linen at 60ºC to kill the spores and spraying footwear with an anti-fungal spray.
If you are interested in ClearNail laser treatment for fungal nails, please call me at Better Health today.