Fungal nail treatment options

Most minor nail problems heal without treatment, but more severe nail disorders such as fungal nail should be treated correctly. A fungal nail will not get better without help; you must do something about it! There is an increased risk that the fungus spreads to other parts of the nails and feet, and even to other people.The treatment of fungal nails can generally be divided into two categories:

  • Topical treatment for mild cases
  • Oral treatment for severe cases

Risk of recurrence
It is important to continue treatment until the nail looks perfectly clean and healthy again. Fungal nails often return after treatment because not all the fungus is completely cleared. Nails grow slowly, and therefore it takes a long time until the affected part has completely grown out of the nail.

Available treatment

When you are not sure whether you have a fungal nail or another nail defect, we advise you to visit your GP. The same applies when over-the-counter drugs appear to be unsuccessful, even though you have used the drug properly. Many products found on the market do treat (fungal) nails but they do not all kill the fungus which causes the fungal nails.

Oral treatments
These treatments can only be obtained on prescription and are used only for treatment of severe cases in which the nail matrix is affected.

Topical treatment
Existing topical treatments are mainly based on an intensive treatment with nail polish. Some are available on prescription and others can be bought over the counter. Most topic substances have to be used for a longer period of time during which the nail polish has to be removed and applied again. There are new products on the market which use technologies that enable the active substances to penetrate deeper into the nail. Due to this, the fungus is treated locally.

Essential oils
Essential oils are a treatment for the nails.

Nail surgery is only performed after referral from a GP and is not a standard procedure for treatment of fungal nail. It is a procedure which should only be performed in special cases.

Home remedies
Everybody knows a story about a grandmother who dipped her nails into vinegar (or baking soda, or more exotic potions) in order to get rid of her fungal nail. These home remedies certainly have one thing in common; more attention was paid to nail care. Maybe it helps.