Acrylic Nail Fungus: Causes and Treatment
The term “acrylic nails” is often used as a synonym for all types of artificial nails but it is actually the name of a specific type of nail enhancement product. The acrylic is a type of plastic material made from a polymer and a monomer. It comes in powder form and, when mixed with a special liquid, creates a gel that is durable and long lasting once it dries.
People get acrylic nails for all sorts of reasons but primarily to cosmetically enhance their own natural nails. Acrylic nails can be shaped, painted and decorated in all sort of creative and interesting ways. Properly-fitted and maintained artificial nails don’t usually cause the wearer any problems. However, people who wear these nails can get fungal infection if the fake nails aren’t fitted right or their natural nails are damaged in the process of applying the acrylics.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus, also called onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is caused by fungi called dermatophytes. The human body is host to a number of different organisms including dermatophytes. This fungus also likes to grow in moist damp areas like showers and pools. Normally, the nail plate protects the nail bed from being infected by these organisms. Under the right circumstances, though, a person can develop an infection that generally takes months to detect.
Nail fungus infections occur most often on toenails, but people can get fingernail fungus from acrylic nails. The acrylic itself is not the problem. As a synthetic material, the fungus cannot grow on it. Moisture can become trapped under the acrylic which creates a breeding ground for the fungus. The natural nail plate can become damaged during the process of applying the nail which provides the fungus with access to the nail bed. Lastly, fungal spores can be delivered to the nail via infected tools. It is critical to take note of whether the nail technician disinfects his or her tools between customers. If not, take your business elsewhere because you may very well get nail fungus from acrylic nails you get from that person.
What Does Nail Fungus Look Like?
Unfortunately, nail fungus can go undetected for months and often people don’t realize they have it until it’s too late. Some of the symptoms of toenail fungus include:
- Discoloration; nails may turn yellow, black, white, or green
- Brittle nails that break off
- Nails that lift completely off the nail bed
- Inflamed and painful skin under the nail
- Yellow or white patches of skin around the nail
Nail fungus infections can range from mild to severe with the difference between the two being time. Left untreated, nail fungus can cause the nail plate to become deformed. Additionally, the longer you take to treat the problem, the longer it takes to get rid of it.
Nail Fungus Home Remedies
Treating nail fungus that is moderate to severe can be a challenge because any treatment method must get past the nail plate to the fungus living on the nail bed underneath. The first step is to remove the acrylic from the affected nail. It is best to not reapply artificial nails until the infection has been completely cleared. Acrylic nails seal the nail surface and can actually make the infection worse.
If you want to avoid the side effects associated with using pharmaceutical medications to treat the fungus, you can use home remedies to kill the fungus. Here are a few to try:
- Apply apple cider vinegar to the nail twice per day
- Take apple cider vinegar supplements to fight the infection from inside the body
- Soak the affected fingernail for 30 minutes per day in a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water
- Rub Vicks VapoRub into the nail and cover with a bandage; repeat daily
- Massage a few drops of tea tree oil into the nail; repeat three times per day
Be sure to trim the nail on a regular basis to get rid of the infected areas.
These remedies only show results with very mild infection. There are a few over-the-counter nail fungus removal products that work quickly to clear up the infection that is mild, moderate or severe. These products are made using natural ingredients like vinegar so they don’t cause side effects like other medications such as Lamisil. Go to the homeapge link for more information about these nail fungus cures, you will find neutral comprehensive reviews on the top products available.