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A fungal nail infection, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a condition in which a fungus infects the toenails or fingernails. It can cause the nails to become thick, discolored, brittle, and distorted. The infection is more common in toenails than in fingernails and is often caused by dermatophytes, yeasts, or molds that live on the dead tissue of the nail, the skin surrounding the nail, and in some cases, on the shoes. Fungal nail infections are more likely to occur in people with weakened immune systems, in older adults, and in individuals who wear closed shoes for extended periods of time.

It is important to keep the infected nail clean and dry and to avoid sharing personal items such as towels and nail clippers to prevent the spread of the infection.

There are a number of ways to treat fungal nail infections, including medication and home remedies.

Antifungal medication

Topical antifungals are applied directly to the infected nail and include creams, lacquers and gels. These products are available over the counter. Oral antifungals taken in pill form may be prescribed by your doctor.

Home remedies

Soaking the infected nail in vinegar or tea tree oil can help to kill the fungus.

Laser and IPL Treatment

Traditional methods of treating fungal nail infections can take a long time and often only work on a topical basis. Using laser to treat the infection works by increasing the temperature underneath the nail bed which kills the fungi. Laser and IPL treatments should only be performed by qualified professionals with the relevant, advanced aesthetics training.