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Is There An Over The Counter Medicine For Nail Fungus

Ranking The Best Toenail Fungus Treatments Of 2021

Over The Counter Toenail Fungus Treatment

A toenail fungus treatment provides a simple, convenient way for people to address fungal infections of the toenail.

Nearly 35 million American adults suffer from fungal infections of the toenail, with many convinced there is nothing they can do about it.

Fortunately, medical science has made impressive leaps in understanding this vexing condition, and there are now numerous OTC toenail fungus treatments that can provide relief.

We put dozens of the most popular brands to the test and concluded that the following represent the 10 best toenail fungus treatment options of 2021.

Simple Tips For Taking Care Of Your Nails

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is also apparently helpful in preventing infections. You should also avoid injuring the skin around your nails.

Look after your feet and nails!

Treatments For Toenail Fungus

by Jennifer Saam

The best way to start treating your toenail fungus is to have an appointment with your doctor so that you can receive proper diagnosis. Other nail conditions can look similar to fungus, such as post-injury changes to the nail plate, so often your physician will take samples of the nail to be evaluated prior to recommending therapy.

There are several over-the-counter ointments and medications that you can try to treat your toenail fungus. Your doctor can also prescribe oral and topical prescription medications. Surgery to remove the nail and Laser treatments are also available. The goal of most of these treatment options is to attempt to kill the fungus and allow the uninfected nail to grow out. It takes approximately 10 to 12 months for toenails to grow out. The choice of treatment modality will vary considerably depending on severity and extent of the disease, coexisting medical conditions, patient medications, physician and patient preference.

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The 5 Best Nail Fungus Treatments

Once fungus arrives it can be a slow and often invasive process to clear up the infection. The best nail fungus treatments can speed up the healing process and help remove the fungal infection. Since fungus usually shows up as a slight discoloration of the nails, it can fool anyone into believing the altered state of their nails is due to an inferior bottom coat of nail polish.

According to sources at the Mayo Clinic, the real telling sign is that as the infection manifests, the nail thickens and crumbles, spreading to your other nails. Although there are plenty of medical treatments available to stave off the infection, some can take up to a year to work and others are way more invasive than you may be comfortable with. Not to mention, popular oral treatments can be expensive and carry side effects as severe as toxic liver damage.

As with any medical issue, you should always seek the advice of a physician before diagnosing and treating fungal infections. According to Dr. Michael J. Trepal, DPM, Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, if the nail is causing pain or growing in thickness, you should seek the help of a qualified physician. âIn these cases nail pathology can lead to bacterial infections, ulcerations and quite possibly gangrenous changes.â

If you’re looking to save your nail and you don’t require a prescription, try one of the best nail fungus treatments while you discuss options with your doctor.

How Did I Get Nail Fungus

Nail Fungus Treatment Over The Counter

Nail fungus is caused by a variety of yeasts, fungi, and mold but the most common culprit is a fungus called dermatophyte. Dermatophytes are fungi that require keratin to grow, and this fungus can be present in animals, people, soil, and infected materials like clothes.

Incredibly, this fungus can live in the environment for up to 15 months! So its no wonder people have such a hard time getting rid of it. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are common risk factors for developing nail fungus…1

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What Causes Toenail Fungus

Toenails are more prone to nail fungus because they are generally confined in socks and shoes which provide a moist, warm environment an ideal situation for fungus.

Older people are more likely to get fungal nail infection because they may have poorer circulation, and their nails grow slower as they get older, and nails also thicken as we age.

Nail Removal Home Remedies And Laser Treatment

In the most serious instances of toenail fungus infection, the toenail may be removed surgically or dissolved with acid. This can be done to just a portion of the nail in the hope that the remaining nail will grow back healthy. In cases where the entire toenail has to be removed, artificial nails and products using light-cured resins to form a temporary covering can be used to protect the underlying tissue until the nail grows back.

If you prefer to go the home-remedy route, such as applying tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to your nails, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products for treating toenail fungus hasn’t been well studied, and they are not recommended by podiatrists.

Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several laser devices for temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis. But while laser treatments are vigorously marketed, clinical trials of lasers have reported mixed results, and the treatments may not be covered by health insurance. If you wish to try laser treatment of toenail fungus, speak to your doctor about what to expect from the treatment, and call your insurance carrier to find out whether the treatment will be covered.

Additional reporting by Susan Jara.

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Terbinafine For Toenail Fungus Treatment

The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time. Common side effects may include headaches, skin rash, and vomiting. It is taken once a day for 6 to 12 weeks.

What We Looked For In A Brand:

FDA Approved Options For Toenail Fungus

Strength of Money-Back Guarantee: A money-back guarantee shows the manufacturer is so confident in the product that theyre willing to put their money where their mouth is. Theres simply no reason to trust a product that doesnt offer a money-back-guarantee.

24 Hour Customer Support: A 24-hour customer-support service shows a manufacturers commitment to their customers, because 24-hour support isnt cheap. With any remedy, youre likely to have questions, and those questions can arise at any time of the day or night 24-hour customer service offers a peace-of-mind knowing the answers are only a phone call away.

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Heres What We Looked For In A Product:

Strength of Active Ingredient: After trying several products, weve found that those with an active ingredient – typically with a concentration greater than 10% – work best for nail fungus. A product that includes very little active ingredient, or none at all, may take months of frequent applications to finally get rid of the fungus.

Skin Nourishing Vitamins and Oils: Skin affected by a fungal infection is often brittle, discolored, and damaged. Thats why its so important to give your skin extra nourishment with essential oils, vitamins, and minerals to help strengthen and rebuild damaged skin. These rejuvenating oils include, but are not limited to, Tea Tree, Jojoba Seed, Rosehip, and Vitamin E.

The Best Nail Fungus Treatments

And if you do end up with a nail fungal infection? The bad news is that it can be challenging to completely banish it the infections are often persistent and even if they are effectively treated, can often have high recurrence rates, explains Dr. Stern.

The other tricky part is that the infection needs to be diagnosed properly, and comparing your nail situation to your Google search isn’t the way, she says. Not every nail problem is caused by a fungus some conditions may appear similar, such as nail psoriasis and nail trauma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Derms have the expertise to determine what’s causing your nail problem and to recommend the right treatment, including various oral and topical medications that could be highly effective.

While it’s best to get a diagnosis from a professional, if you are traveling or simply don’t have time to book an appointment with your derm right now, there are many over-the-counter anti-fungal ointments and creams that can treat fungal nail infections, says Dr.Chen. The catch? If you don’t see improvement after two months for fingernails or four months for toenails, see a dermatologist, advises Dr. Stern.

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Over The Counter Medication

While some over the counter medications are effective enough to be given as prescriptions, other OTC medications have limited effects on disease. They might help for mild to moderate cases, but they arent usually effective on severe ones. If used incorrectly and without guidance, they might even prove to be ineffective and produce unforeseen side effects. However, a dermatologist can tell you whether or not these can be effective for you. Here are some OTC medications that may or may not be included in a treatment plan given by one of our dermatologists:

  • Clotrimazole
  • Tolnaftate

Make An Antifungal Foot Soak

Over The Counter Nail Fungus Treatment Canada

Soaking your feet can also be a useful technique in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus. Many common household items can be used to make a healing antifungal foot bath. Mix one or more of the following with warm water and soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes. After foot bath, rinse feet with clean water and pat dry.

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Thieves oil

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Where Do You Begin Your Search For An Over Counter Treatment Medication For Toenail Fungus

First off, I want to say congratulations!

You have not only recognized that you have toenail fungus, BUT you have an understanding of the importance of treating toenail fungus!


Now, obviously, you are wanting the best treatment for toenail fungus otherwise, you wouldnt be hear, right?

Have you been to the drug store and walked the aisle with all of the different over-the-counter treatments for toenail fungus? Where do you start?

Do ALL of these over-the-counter items really work to get rid of these ugly toenails? What is the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment?

The 6 Best Nail Fungus Treatments To Finally Get Clear Clean Nails

It’s certainly not cute or glamorous, and can even be downright embarrassing, but nail fungus happens. Nail fungal infections technically called onychomycosis say that three times fast actually occur in 10 percent of the general population, 20 percent of people older than 60 years old, and 50 percent of those older than 70, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Preventing Toenail Fungus From Spreading

While you can’t avoid contact with the microscopic organisms that cause toenail fungus its present anywhere that is warm, dark, or moist keeping your feet clean and dry and clipping your nails properly can help prevent an infection.

For fungus to grow, there needs to be some type of trauma to the nail where the nail-skin junction, or natural barrier, is disrupted, says Sheth. For example, from a pedicure, ill-fitting shoes, or the repetitive trauma of running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on from shoes or boots.

Still, some people are more vulnerable than others, she adds. Some people have it only on one toe or one foot, and some have lived with a partner who has it but they never get it,” Sheth says. “And for some you see it in their entire family. It’s not as straightforward as it seems, and it’s an annoying problem.

If you do get a toenail fungus infection, these measures can help stop it from spreading:

Getting rid of established toenail fungus can be difficult. Successfully eliminating it depends on careful adherence to a treatment plan.

“What happens over time is that the fungus breeds in the nail tissue and goes from being just a little bit on the nail, to a really discolored and thickened nail, to a nail that is totally embedded with fungus,” explains Marlene Reid, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Naperville, Illinois, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

How To Prevent Nail Fungus


Even though the fungi responsible for these nail infections are pretty much everywhere, there are a few universal things you can do to aid in prevention. Both derms warn that it’s important to be cautious at the nail salon. “A client with fungus can spread it to other clients if proper disinfection precautions aren’t followed when it comes to porous tools such as emery boards and toe separators, as well as pedicure footbaths,” says Dr. Stern.

Not picking at your nails is also paramount, as well as wearing footwear in wet communal areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pool decks, points out Dr. Chen. And since most fungal infections of the toenails start with a fungal skin infection that spreads to the nail, it’s important to protect the skin.

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Treatment For Nail Fungus

Treatment can take several months with prescription oral medicine and up to a year with topical products. Repeat nail fungus infections are common.

Prescription treatments

  • topical ciclopirox

Oral medicines

Oral antifungal medicines may need to be taken for 6 to 12 weeks and have a higher cure rate than topical treatments. They work by allowing a fungus-free nail to grow over the old one. Because they work faster, you and your doctor may prefer use of an oral agent when possible. If you cannot use an oral medicine or do not want to take systemic therapy, topical treatment may be an option.

Oral medicine for nail fungus infections may cause problems with your liver and may also have dangerous drug interactions. If you are taking oral antifungal medication, you may need to have regular lab tests to check on your liver. Always have your doctor or pharmacist check for any drug interactions with your prescription medicines, and over-the-counter, herbal supplement or vitamin products.

Topical medicines

Topical efinaconazole and topical tavaborole are only approved to be used on the toenails. Topical ciclopirox is used to treat fungal infections of the toenails and the fingernails. These topical treatments are typically used for 48 weeks.

Side effects from topical medications are usually mild and may include redness, swelling, ingrown toenail, or stinging upon application. Most patients can tolerate these minor side effects.

Other options

How Do You Get Toenail Fungus

Ive been told that sporting venues such as swimming pools and gym showers may contain organisms that can contribute to fungal nail infections.

Other factors could include wearing tight shoes, injury to the nail, advancing age and pre-existing medical conditions. Early treatment of a fungal nail infection is important so that the condition does not progress and cause pain and discomfort.

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How Do I Know My Nail Is Infected

Nails can become infected with other infections, so my advice would be to first confirm if you really do have a nail fungus visit your doctor who will probably take a scraping of the nail, which may be sent away for identification.

The infected nail might look yellowish-brown. Fungal-infected nails might become thicker and crumble at the tip, and may cause pain when wearing shoes.

The Most Common Types Of Nail Fungus

What is the best over the counter toenail fungus treatment ...

The most common type of nail fungus is known as distal subungual onychomycosis, and is caused by a fungi known as a dermatophyte, says Dr. Chen. It can show up on fingernails or toenails, and manifests as a yellow-ish area on the nail that can ultimately lead to splitting, crumbling, or even separation of the nail from the skin as it gets worse, she says. It’s also worth noting that this is the same fungi that causes athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that can spread from the skin to the nail, adds Dr. Stern.

White superficial onychomycosis is the second most common it leads to white spots on the surface of the nail, which can ultimately spread to resemble a white chalky powder covering the entire nail, says Chen. )

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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus

To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.

To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.

Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.

Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?

Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.

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