If you have a mild
fungal nail infection or are concerned about the risks
of oral antifungal medicine, try an
antifungal medicine you put directly on your skin
(topical medicine), such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or ciclopirox (Penlac). You
can also use a topical antifungal to prevent
athlete's foot, which can cause fungal nail
infections. But topical medicines may not be as effective as oral medicines in
treating fungal nail infections.
Some people consider
tea tree oil or cream to be an effective alternative for treating and
athlete's foot and mild fungal nail infections. It is
typically used to treat minor cuts, burns, acne, athlete's foot, mild fungal
nail infections, vaginal yeast infections, and respiratory problems (added to a
bath or vaporizer).8 There is little research on how
effective tea tree oil is for fungal nail infections.
infection has cleared up, use daily measures to prevent reinfection.
- Before bed, thoroughly wash and dry your feet or hands and apply
a topical antifungal, such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or
ciclopirox (Penlac), directly to your skin or nail. Use the topical medicine
for 1 year.7
- Keep your feet and hands dry. Dry skin and nails are less likely
to become infected. Apply powder to your dry feet or hands after you take a
shower or bath.
- Wear dry cotton socks and change them 2 or 3 times a day if
- Wear sandals or dry roomy shoes made of materials that allow
moisture to escape. Avoid tight, enclosed shoes. Injury to the tips of the toes
because of tight shoes may be the biggest single factor that leads to a fungal
nail infection returning.7
- Wear shower sandals or shower shoes when using a public pool or
shower, and let them dry between uses.
- Don't share shoes, socks, nail clippers, or nail files with
- Avoid injuring your nail. Cutting nails too short is a common
cause of nail injury. If you decide to get artificial nails or have a manicure,
go to a salon that uses sterile instruments. Nail manicure and certain nail
products can damage the nail or cuticle, making the nail more susceptible to
- Control chronic conditions such as
- Stop smoking.
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