How to Treat Nail Fungus

How to Treat Nail Fungus

There’s no easy cure for nail fungus and it doesn’t just go away. But the good news is, if you are otherwise healthy, most fungal nail infections do not cause additional problems.

If you have diabetes, poor circulation or a weakened immune system, you are at a greater risk of complications, so talk to your doctor even if the infected nail does not bother you. An untreated nail infection does not usually go away on its own and may worsen or spread to other nails.

Treatment Options for Fingernail or Toenail Fungus

There are no over-the-counter products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure nail fungus.

The only treatment that can cure a nail fungus is a prescription antifungal medicine given to you by your doctor. The medicine could be topical or an oral medicine you take by mouth. Trimming or thinning a nail to remove as much of the affected part as possible to allow any topical nail fungus treatment to penetrate is helpful. Sometimes a doctor may recommend surgery to temporarily remove the nail to apply the topical medicine directly to the nail bed or to remove the nail permanently. 

    While prescription antifungal medicine can kill the fungus, it does not repair the nail once it is damaged. It takes about 12 months for a healthy toenail to fully grow in and replace the damaged nail. There is also a chance the fungal infection will come back even after effective clearing with prescription nail treatments.

    Some doctors perform laser treatment to use light to kill fungus and promote nail growth, but the evidence around effectiveness is uncertain. The FDA has approved laser treatment for the “temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis” but not as a cure for fungal infection. Plus, laser treatment requires several visits, usually over the course of a year, which can get expensive.

    If you have recurring nail fungal infections, talk to your doctor about how best to manage your symptoms. Ask about steps you can take to prevent toenail fungus, such as changing socks frequently, not going barefoot in public places, and keeping feet cool and dry.

    Are there any products that can help with nail fungus and available without a prescription?

    There are no over-the-counter products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure nail fungus. 

    However, Kerasal® Fungal Nail Renewal™ and Kerasal® Multi-Purpose Nail Repair™ can improve the appearance of nails that are damaged by nail fungus. They both are formulated to hydrate the nail so it’s less brittle, reduce discoloration and help normalize the thickness of the nail. Kerasal should not be used with other topical nail products.

    Some over-the-counter products such as FungiNail®, FungiCure®, Proclearz® and Dr. Blaine’s® may appear to be a treatment for nail fungus, but they are not shown to cure nail fungus. These products are indicated for the treatment of athlete’s foot, which is why the back panel of these products say, “This product is not effective on the scalp or nails.”

    There are also natural products that are advertised as treatments for nail fungus, but they have not been approved for the treatment or cure of nail fungus.