While there are many things we look forward to with aging — wisdom and having more time for loved ones — the increased risk of toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, isn’t one of them. As we grow older, our immune systems begin to weaken and nails can become more brittle. This makes them more susceptible to this issue, which causes thick, crumbly, and yellowing nails. While onychomycosis is a typically harmless — if unsightly — condition, those with poor immune systems or conditions, such as diabetes, may want to think about treatment. “For patients who are diabetics and those who are immune-compromised, it’s important to address those issues,” dermatologist Pamlela NG, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic. “The fungal infections can cause breakdown of the skin and lead to conditions like cellulitis or foot ulcers.”
What is the best treatment for toenail fungus?
If you’re one of the more than 3 million Americans suffering from this condition, you’re probably well aware that it can be extremely difficult to treat. Those seeking clinically effective solutions that won't involve added health risks or painful, unwanted nail removal, have come to the right place.
Doctor-prescribed oral antifungals, which are typically for six to 12 weeks, are currently the medical treatment of choice for toenail fungus according to the CDC. But those same Rx's can present some seriously unwanted side effects, including severe liver damage leading to liver transplant or death, loss of taste, numbness or tingling, and more.
Most over-the-counter creams you'll find at the drugstore, such as terbinafine (seen in Lamisil, clotrimazole, and Lotrimin AF), meanwhile, can zap away infections of the skin or nail surface like athlete’s foot, but may do little to relieve what ails you in the fungus department.
“Topical prescription creams and liquids work about 10 to 15 percent of the time when used over many months on true toenail fungus,” Jessica J. Krant, M.D., M.P.H., and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York told Consumer Reports.
As an alternative, we've rounded up a slew of products that, with continued, diligent use, have shown promise when used to treat onychomycosis. Though they may not boast a guaranteed cure, studies and shoppers alike say they work to lessen growth from persistent fungi, offer protection against future infections, or weaken nail beds to allow topical creams to get down deep to the root of the problem. Keep reading for Woman's World’s picks for the best at-home toenail fungus treatments!
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