Last Updated on September 12, 2020 by Nail Explorer
Knowing what causes toenail fungus and fingernail fungus will go a long way towards helping you to prevent it. Read on to find out how to limit your risk of suffering a nail fungal infection.
It’s estimated that nail fungus affects around 35 million Americans, with 25% of the population experiencing it at least once by the time they are forty. Regardless of whether it’s fingernail fungus or toenail fungus, once the infection sets in getting rid of it takes a long time so the sooner you start treating it the sooner the infection will go away.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
My top recommendation for getting rid of nail fungus is ZetaClear, and while it will clear your infection it’s a fact that nail fungal infections tend to come back with around 25% of former sufferers experiencing another infection within three years. The following are some things you can do to limit the chance of this happening.
- Keep your nails fairly short, clean them often and dry your hands and fingernails and feet and toenails well after washing them or whenever they get wet. Be sure to dry in-between your fingers and toes, too. This is especially important for the toes, as sticking your feet into shoes with wet feet will give the fungus a chance to thrive. The main reason it’s important to keep your nails short is that dirt can accumulate under the front of the nails if they are long. If fungi is present in this dirt, a nail fungal infection is almost certain to result. Be sure not to go overboard and cut the nails too close as nicks in the skin will give the fungus a perfect breeding ground
- Limit overexposure to water by wearing rubber gloves while washing up, gardening, or doing anything that requires you to have your hands immersed in water for an extended period of time. Dry your gloves thoroughly between wears by turning them inside out and allowing them to air. Allow your shoes to air between wears too, and use an anti-fungal spray or powder in them regularly.
Speaking of socks, those that are made of 100% cotton, wool, or silk will allow feet to breathe far more than those made of synthetic fabric. This is especially important for people living in a hot or humid climate, who work in a hot or steamy setting or whose feet perspire excessively. If possible, don’t wear closed-in shoes every day, and avoid wearing rubber or synthetic shoes which will encourage your feet to perspire. Be sure to wash your socks or pantyhose between wears.
- While it’s not a good idea to have your hands or feet in water for extended periods of time when suffering from a nail infection, it is important that anti-fungal you keep your nails and hands clean, so when you wash them to use an anti-fungal solution and dry them thoroughly afterwards.
- Sterilize nail files, scissors, or clippers that come in contact with the infected nail after use so as not to spread the infection. Do not share your manicure utensils. If the person you share them with has a nail fungal infection you will pick it up. If you go to a nail salon, make sure to choose one that sterilizes their equipment between clients, or take your own.
- If you wear nail polish. give your nails a break between wears. Wearing nail polish continuously will not allow your nails to breathe properly. Nail polish can trap heat and moisture and possibly fungus which will result in an infection
- Nail polish of the feet, for example, athlete’s foot, can be transmitted to the nails, infecting them. If you find yourself with such a fungal infection of the skin, treat it immediately. While I’ve never suffered from athlete’s foot myself, I once suffered a persistent toenail fungus infection. I now regularly use Tinactin Super Absorbent Antifungal Powder, a preventative and treatment for athlete’s foot, just to be on the safe side.
- If you sustain an injury close to a nail, even if it’s only a nick or a scrape, treat it and keep it as dry as possible until it heals as moisture will encourage fungus growth. Don’t bite your nails. People who do so often bite into the quick to rip it away. This can mean the top layers of skin being removed, making an easy entry point for fungus.
- Don’t be tempted to go in barefoot locker rooms, public pools, gymnasiums, or similar venues where moisture or puddles of water may collect and harbor fungus. Wearing flip flops will cut your risk, as will washing and drying your feet well after leaving the public venue.
Fungi feed off sugar, so diet is important when it comes to avoiding and eliminating fungal infections. Avoid sugar-laden foods and processed carbohydrates that are high in sugar and low in fiber. These will elevate your blood sugar level, allowing the fungus to grow and spread.
Now that you know what causes toenail fungus you’ll be able to lower your risk of it occurring. It’s easier to prevent nail fungus than to get rid of it once it is present. While a proven treatment such as ZetaClear will work, it will take time. For those at risk, it’s far better to get into a habit of following the practices outlined above so you don’t pick up the infection in the first place.