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Artificial Nails and Preventing Nail Fungus

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My friend Susan was wearing bright red nail polish at breakfast the other day. Another friend commented on what a pretty color it was. Susan explained she was wearing a darker red color to cover how her nails looked after treating them for a nail fungus. She had applied artificial stick-on nails on top of her own nails and moisture became trapped between them, allowing a nail fungus to grow.


Nail fungus, called onychomycosis, more typically occurs in toenails, but when fingernails are covered with the plastic from artificial nails, a barrier to normal air flow and light is created. Fungus loves to grow in moist, dark places. Artificial nails can become loosened from the nail they are glued to and a pocket may form between both nails, allowing water to get trapped. This provides a prime breeding ground for nail fungus to grow.


The biggest problem with nail fungus infections is that they are very difficult to cure and may recur easily. Nail fungus usually grows at the tip of the nail where it meets the skin. Nail fungus can appear as thickened, discolored, brittle or ragged at the ends of the nail. It can take months for new healthy nail to grow after treatment, especially if infections recur.


How Nail Fungus Is Treated
Topical cream: If the nail fungus is very mild, a topical antifungal cream may be tried. Lamisil cream contains the active ingredient of terbinafine that combats nail and other skin fungus infections.


Oral medication: There are three oral prescription medications used to treat nail fungus: Lamisil, Sporanox, and Diflucan. Unfortunately, each requires several weeks of treatment to get the fungus infection under control, and they can cause severe side effects that some people do not tolerate.


Prevention
1. Make sure the salon you go to is reputable and practices superior hygienic technique in maintaining cleanliness, with good hand washing performed between clients.


2. Do not have nails applied if you have any nail inflammations already present. Test the glue on just one nail if you have chemical sensitivities to make sure no irritations will arise after the nails are applied.


3. Artificial nails can become loosened if bumped and separate from your own nail. Make sure to soak your finger in alcohol to disinfectant your own nail before attaching a new artificial nail.


4. Do not wear artificial nails for more than three months at a time and allow a month in between for your own nails to be exposed to air and light.


Preventing nail fungus from growing is much easier than combating the infection once it has occurred. If you develop nail fungus, make sure not to return to wearing artificial nails or nail polish until the nail fungus infection has cleared.


More Information:
Fungal Nail Infections: Onychomycosis
Ezinearticles: Chris Parker
Mayo Clinic: Nail Fungus

By Michele an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in women’s health care and quality of care issues.

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