Is It Okay To Apply Nail Polish If You Have Nail Fungus?

Of the thousands of cosmetic and makeup products that exist as a display of beauty, nail polish has been a standard staple for decades among teens, adults, and ladies for their hands and feet. It is intriguing to know that we can walk up to multiple colored bottles of nail polish and knowing that we have endless options available. While nail polishes turn toenails beautiful, fungal growth makes them thick, yellow, brittle, and discolored.(1)(2)

Is It Okay To Apply Nail Polish If You Have Nail Fungus?

In this article, we will cover,

  1. Brief about the nail, nail fungus and prevalence of nail fungus
  2. risk factors associated with fungal growth,
  3. Should we apply the commercial nail polish if we have nail fungus,
  4. Importance of antifungal nail polish and how to apply it,
  5. prevention and treatment of nail fungus to get rid of the mycotic infection completely. Let’s dive in:

Introduction

Nails are made up of protein and elements like the nail matrix and nail root, growing under the skin. It develops an average rate of 0.1mm/day. Fingernails generally require 3 to 6 months to grow completely, and toenails require 12 to 18 months.(3)

Onychomycosis or fungal infection occurs due to the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. It severely affects toenails and more commonly than fingernails because toenails are confined to shoes exposed to the warm and moist environment. It’s quite surprising to know that half of the nail diseases are caused by fungi making them dark, brittle, and sometimes smelly. The warm and moist environment thrived by fungi, which let them overpopulate and make toenails hard, brittle, and yellow. Trimming the infected nail is challenging and, if not done correctly, makes the fungus worse.(4)

It is prevalent in Europe, with around 4.3% overall age group. It accounts for 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. It is frequently diagnosed among men and older people, affecting 20-50% of people aged over 60.(5)

Risk Factors Associated With Fungal Growth:

Here are some causes which are likely to increase the chance of getting infected fungal nails:

  1. Poor blood circulation
  2. Diabetic patient
  3. Frequently wearing artificial nails
  4. Swim in a public swimming pool
  5. A weakened immune system
  6. Men with a family history of nail fungus
  7. Having nail or skin injury around the nails and more(6)(4)

Should We Apply The Commercial Nail Polish If We Have Nail Fungus:

Parties, events, and the festive season compelled us to apply colored nail polishes. Sometimes we even use another coating of ordinary nail polishes due to busy and hectic schedules to freshen up the nails. Some people have a nail care motto of paint, remove, repeat, and enjoy.

Eventually, we tend to forget to remove the old layers, and when we do so, it’s evident white spots and discoloration of nails that might be the beginning of fungal growth. It is contagious and spread to other body parts if you have touched or rubbed the infected area.

Nail polishes are composed of acrylic polymer, which does not allow the nail to breathe and trap moisture on the nail before painting them, providing an environment for fungus to grow. It is a definite no-no to apply nail polish when you have a nail mycotic infection.(7)

Somebody might try to apply typical nail polish to cover the awful and yellowish nail due to the fungus, which ultimately encourage fungal growth. Nail polish will thicken the nails and make it more challenging to be treated afterward as treatment will not be adequately absorbed.(8)

SHOULD WE APPLY THE COMMERCIAL NAIL POLISH IF WE HAVE NAIL FUNGUS:

Parties, events, and the festive season compelled us to apply colored nail polishes. Sometimes we even use another coating of ordinary nail polishes due to busy and hectic schedules to freshen up the nails. Some people have a nail care motto of paint, remove, repeat, and enjoy.

Eventually, we tend to forget to remove the old layers, and when we do so, it’s evident white spots and discoloration of nails that might be the beginning of fungal growth. It is contagious and spread to other body parts if you have touched or rubbed the infected area.

Nail polishes are composed of acrylic polymer, which does not allow the nail to breathe and trap moisture on the nail before painting them, providing an environment for fungus to grow. It is a definite no-no to apply nail polish when you have a nail mycotic infection.(7)

Somebody might try to apply typical nail polish to cover the awful and yellowish nail due to the fungus, which ultimately encourage fungal growth. Nail polish will thicken the nails and make it more challenging to be treated afterward as treatment will not be adequately absorbed.(8)

Antifungal Nail Polishes:

No matter what the season is, nobody will like to have nail fungus, and it is not something to appreciate when you look down at your feet or hands—the best way to cover it up or eliminate it by using antifungal nail polish.

It works great and amazing as it contains all the natural antifungal nail polish ingredients, including lavender, tea tree oil, garlic, biotin, and more. These nail polishes allow the nail bed to infuse with antifungal properties.

It facilitates to hide blackening, yellowing, and discoloration while treating the infection inside the nail bed.

Here are some antifungal nail polishes available you might be interested in:

  1. Dr. Remedy Enriched nail polish
  2. Nu Wave
  3. DaniPro
  4. NovaNailPlus Crystal clear

How To Apply It?

  1. Use a strong nail clipper to remove and clean your infected and thickened nails due to infection. Take a shower to remove infected skin debris and dry your nails with a towel.
  2. Use a base coat before painting your nails with antifungal polish. Never use a non-medicated base coat for antifungal polish. Apply 2-3 base coats and let it dry for at least 20-30 minutes. Then choose the color you want to apply and flaunt your healthier and beautiful nails all day long.
  3. Please read the directions thoroughly, as it may vary from product to product. It is recommended to dry the topcoat before going out; otherwise, the polish can streak, leading to the antifungal top coat’s ineffectiveness. You must use a non-acetone nail polish remover every seven days to remove the polish from the nails.(9)(10)

Some Not-So Good Facts Denying The Effectiveness Of Antifungal Polishes:

The content present in an antifungal nail polish like tea tree oil or snakeroot extract etc. has shown minimal antifungal properties in in-vivo studies.

As per the saying by James McGuire D.P.M, Associate professor at Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine: It is a clear and definite no for the application of antifungal nail polish as it stops the action of a topical treatment and also blocks the light and air which do not allow the drug to penetrate and do its job.

Oral and topical medications are effective for fungal infection. Another laser treatment is also available, but a bit pricey, with a success rate of about 65%-70%.(11)

Prevention

It’s better to be safe than sorry to prevent yourself from nail fungus, instead of depending on the treatment or cure. Here are the key steps that can be followed:

  1. For a person having sweaty feet, it is recommended to change socks once during the day or wear sweat-absorbing socks to keep the moisture down and inhibit the growth of fungi
  2. Always wash your bath mats once a week
  3. Use a clipper to remove skin debris and trim your nails straight across. Disinfect the used nail clippers
  4. Wash your hands and feet regularly. Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Moisturize your nails after washing
  5. Choose a licensed and accredited nail salon that keeps sterilized tools for manicure and pedicure of each customer
  6. Never go barefoot for showers in public place facilities such as gym or spa(12)(13)

Treatment

To completely get rid of the mycotic infection as it may get severe if not being taken care of at the initial stage, some people might go for one or more of the following treatment plans:

Medicines you take:

Antifungal oral medications work more quickly. It takes two months to cure a fungal infection under the fingernails and three months of treatment for toenails fungal infection.

The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines which work throughout the body.

  1. Fluconazole
  2. Griseofulvin
  3. Itraconazole(Sporanox)
  4. Terbinafine(Lamisil)

Oral antifungal drugs may cause side effects, which may range from a skin rash to liver damage. You may need a blood test report to check it.

Medicated nail polish and cream to apply on nails:

If you have a mild nail infection, it can be used to get rid of the fungus. It may be challenging to remember as prescribed to apply for as some have to be applied every day and others once a week.

These are a list of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medicines that to be apple onto the nail to treat nail fungus:

  1. Amorolfine
  2. Ciclopirox
  3. Efinaconazole
  4. Tavaborole

Combination Therapy:

Antifungal pills and topical applied creams and lotion can sometimes be recommended by doctors, which can be more effective than using either treatment alone.

Nail Removal:

When severely fungal infected or other treatments do not work, then dermatologist may use one of the following techniques so that healthy nails grow back:

  • Non Surgical nail removal (a chemical is applied to the nail)
  • Surgical nail removal(12)(14)

Summary

Everybody desires to have healthy and beautiful nails, but fungal infections are stubborn and may ruin your desires. Suppose you see the white spots or discoloration of nails, a first step of having infected nails. Do not conceal the discoloration of nails by commercial nail polish as it provides an environment suitable for fungal growth. Do not let the fungus control your social life. Nail fungus is stubborn and contagious, but you can get rid of them by following preventive measures in case of mild infection and also get the treatment if it gets severe. See your podiatrist right away for a proper consultation and get advice from the pharmacist over the counter products.

References:

  1. Can Nail Fungus Spread Through Nail Polish

    https://patelpodiatry.com/blog/fungus-vs-nail-polish/

  2. 8 Risk Factors For Toenail Fungal Infection

    https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/toenail-fungal-infection-guide/risk-factors-for-toenail-fungal-infections/.

  3. A. Shirwaikar, T. Thomas, A. Shirwaikar, R. Lobo and K. S. Prabhu, Treatment of Onychomycosis: An Update

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3040862/

  4. Fungal nail infection:

    https://www.healthline.com/health/fungal-nail-infection#causes

  5. Marion Yau, Anisha Soni, Win Leung siu, How to treat fungal nail effectively:

    https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/cpd-and-learning/learning-article/how-to-treat-fungal-nail-effectively/

  6. What you need to know about nail fungal infection:

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151952#risk-factors

  7. Ugly nails after removing polish:

    https://www.johnhollanderdpm.com/ugly-nails-after-removing-polish/

  8. Can I wear nail polish with toenail fungus:

    https://forcesofnaturemedicine.com/blogs/news/can-i-wear-nail-polish-with-toenail-fungus

  9. Using toenail polish with toenail fungus

    https://footgood.com/using-toenail-polish-toenail-fungus/

  10. Toenail fungus should use toenail polish?

    https://laughtocuremnd.com/toenail-fungus-should-use-nail-polish/

  11. Does antifungal nail polish actually cure an infection?

    https://www.prevention.com/health/a32035988/antifungal-nail-polish/

  12. Nail fungus:

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/symptoms-causes/syc-20353294

  13. Antifungal nail polish for yellow toenails, why are my toenails yellow

    https://www.healthyfeetstore.com/conditions-yellow-toenails-fungus.html

  14. Nail fungus: Diagnosis and treatment

    https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/nail-fungus-treatment

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