A dermatologist checks your nails and nearby skin to determine if you have nail fungus. It is critical to examine the skin since the fungus can spread. In addition, you may already have a fungus-caused skin illness, such as an athlete’s foot.
To eliminate the illness, you must treat all contaminated areas.
Your dermatologist may take some samples before making a diagnosis. For example, collecting debris from beneath a nail, cutting a portion of your nail, or scraping off a piece of skin can all be very beneficial. These samples can be studied under a microscope in a lab to determine what is causing the condition.
What treatment options do dermatologists have for fungal nail infections?
Treatment usually starts with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail(s) and cutting each infected nail back to where it connects to your finger or toe. The material under the nail may be scraped and removed by your dermatologist—this aids in eliminating certain fungi.
Most patients will also require one or more of the following treatments to eliminate the infection:
Medicine applied to the nail: If you have a small illness, medicine applied to your nails may help you get rid of it. This treatment keeps new fungus at bay as the nails develop. Fingernails grow out about four to six months on average. Toenails take longer, often 12 to 18 months.
The most challenging aspect of this treatment is probably remembering to apply it regularly. Some therapies must be used daily. Others require you to apply once a week. Therefore, you must use these medications as advised to have the best benefits.
The following drugs for treating nail fungus have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
These medications have relatively mild side effects. Redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when applying the medication are all possible side effects. None of these side events caused individuals to discontinue therapy in clinical trials.
If you require more intense therapy, your dermatologist may prescribe antifungal medications. These have a higher cure rate than nail medication.
Antifungal pills also work faster than medication applied to the nails. Infections under the fingernails can be cured by taking antifungal medications for two months. A toenail fungal infection is usually cured after three months of treatment.
However, antifungal medications can have negative side effects. So your dermatologist will keep a careful eye on you. You’ll also require blood testing every month to rule out any concerns.
To treat nail fungus, the FDA has approved the following systemic (works throughout the body) medications:
Therapy in combination: Nail fungus can be difficult to remove at times. Taking antifungal medications plus applying medicine to your nails is more effective than either treatment alone.
Nail removal: If you have a severe infection and other therapies aren’t working, your dermatologist may propose removing the infected nail(s). To remove the nail, your dermatologist will utilise one of the following methods:
Nail removal without surgery (a chemical is applied to the nail)
Nail removal surgery
In a medical office or clinic, your dermatologist can do both forms of nail removal. Unfortunately, the nail can grow back after either surgery. If the infection does not heal, your dermatologist can treat the nail to prevent it from growing back.
What happens when a person has nail fungus?
Many people can get rid of nail fungus with therapy. However, even when the fungus has cleared, your nail(s) may appear unhealthy until the diseased nail grows out. A fingernail takes 4 to 6 months to grow, while a toenail takes 12 to 18 months.
It is critical to use the medication exactly as directed to eliminate the fungus.
Apply (or take) the medicines for the duration specified.
Keep all of your dermatologist’s follow-up appointments.
Nail fungus can be challenging to treat. If you have a severe infection, you may be able to clear it. On the other hand, a healthy-looking nail may be unachievable, but you may expect the nail to look and feel better.
Even after clearing, nail fungus can reappear. Steps to reduce your risk can be found in 12 methods to avoid another nail infection.