In the course of a day, you process millions of thoughts, but you probably don’t ponder the health of your nails. That is … until you notice something unusual. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fungal infections are common and cause 50 percent of all nail disorders. Since curing the infection takes time, it’s best to prevent one in the first place.
Pamper Your Piggies – Your feet take a beating and carry you everywhere you need to go, and they deserve some special attention. If you visit a salon or spa for your bi-weekly pedicure, be sure to ask about the sterilization techniques their manicurists use to ensure they don’t transfer bacteria from one client to another. You can even bring your own instruments … just make sure to clean them thoroughly at home after each use. And if you clip your own nails, remember to file them straight across. You’ll be less likely to develop an ingrown nail or injure the nail bed, making it vulnerable to bacteria.
Let Your Feet Breathe – In order to remain healthy, toes need a dry, aerated climate. But when the temperatures drop in winter, we tend to wear heavy socks and rain or snow boots. While our feet feel nice and toasty, our toenails can suffer. Nail fungus, much like a mushroom, thrives in a moist environment, so if your socks don’t let your feet breathe, you may see the early signs of a nail infection, such as a change in texture. To prevent this, choose socks that are designed to wick away moisture. Cotton traps sweat, so look for sock brands that utilize a multi-fiber material and feature the word “breathable” in the description.
Be Choosy About Your Shoes – For as much as you might love going barefoot, shoes are a necessity … and you spend a large chunk of your day with them on. Just like those socks, your shoes need to breathe or else your feet will sweat. Whenever possible, wear shoes with ventilation panels (or take them off when you’re sitting at your desk). Open-toed shoes are a good choice as well, but throw out any pair you suspect of making your feet sweat. It’s also a good idea to sprinkle antifungal powder on your feet and inside your shoes. Reducing humidity is key.
Despite all your best efforts, you may still get a nail fungus. And just like giving in to a craving, you may be tempted to simply paint over a nail that looks a bit off-color (yellow, to be precise). But that discoloration may be the first sign of trouble. If you’ve noticed a change in texture, thickness, or hue, it’s best to begin treating that infection right away. Being proactive about your nail health is key, whether you opt for a DIY approach, a targeted product such as Funginix, or seek the assistance of a medical professional.