Nail fungus is an infectious condition. It can leave your nails brittle as well as discolored. These are more likely to show up on the toes. Fungi are microbial organisms; you need a microscope to view them. Also, there are many forms of fungi. Toenail fungal infection is a common condition. What is the best over-the-counter (OTC) treatment option? It is a vital thing to know this if you have a fingernail or toenail fungal infection.

In clinical terms, nail fungus infection is known as onychomycosis. A key difference between athlete’s foot and nail fungus is: former occurs in between toes as well as at the bottom of feet. There are many types of such fungal conditions namely, lateral or distal subungual onychomycosis, white-superficial onychomycosis, proximal-subungual onychomycosis and candida onychomycosis.

Of these four distinctive types, the lateral or distal form is more commonly experienced. It mostly starts at nail-bed which is below your nail. Signs of nail fungus infections can vary based on the type. However, some of these signs are quite common. For instance, you may witness a yellow or white-colored spot underneath the nail. Over a period of time, you may see the entire nail becoming yellow or black. Other signs include nail becoming brittle and may also produce a bad smell.

Some people may choose to leave it untreated. To start with, there may not be much pain; however, you may see some pains when pressure is applied on the infected nail. If the infectious condition turns worse, you may soon find it difficult to walk.

Best over the counter option to treat nail fungus

There are a few OTC products sold for the treatment of fungal infections around your nail’s bed. However, such products are not effective for the treatment of nail fungus condition. These include meds such as tolnaftate (these are sold as brands such as Opti nail, fungi nail, etc.); clotrimazole (available as fungi cure) and also undecylenic acid. All these meds – as mentioned above – may only manage infections surrounding your nail bed. Thus, the actual infected area – i.e., nail bed – remains untreated.

On the other hand, urea (sold as Kera sol) is known to have softening capabilities; this med can enhance the appearance of your infected nail. But, this med does not have therapeutic properties to heal these infections. On the drugs prescribed for this infection, med are available as oral as well as topical formulations. Widely used prescription drugs are efinaconazole (topical – a popular brand is jublia), ciclopirox (topical), tavaborole (topical application), etc.; orally administered prescription meds include terbinafine (a formulation known as Lamisil is quite popular) and itraconazole (formulation: sporanox).

In this milieu, orally administered meds are known to work better than topical drugs. In some remote cases, your skin doctor may combine photodynamic or laser therapies along with drugs for better (and also faster) results.

In sum, there is practically no OTC option to treat such fungal infections. You need to know that nail fungus may take several months to heal. On the other hand, not all forms of such infections need treatment. In a few people, incidence of these infections may not cause any long term problems or other conditions. However, you are advised to visit a qualified skin doctor / dermatologist for a proper medication plan.

Last but not least, people who live with athlete’s foot and having it untreated can run the risk of developing nail fungus infections. For the treatment of athlete’s foot, a few OTC meds are available; these are sold as sprays or creams.

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