Photo Credit: Beautyinthebag.com
Nail fungus—called onychomycosis—causes your nails to turn colors, thicken, and become brittle. Nail fungus can show up on your hands as well as your feet, and it isn’t pretty. Infections start at the tip of the nail and work their way under the nail bed, causing white, yellow, or brown streaks, and thickening the nail. The nail ends up being a shield that allows the fungus to grow.
Podiatrists and dermatologists often prescribe oral drugs like Lamisil and Sporanox, but they usually need to be taken for months to work, and there is a risk of side effects. Many people are reluctant to take these drugs because in very rare cases they may cause liver damage. Over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments are not usually too effective, and repeat infections are commonplace. When all else fails, having the nail removed and the nail matrix medically destroyed to prevent the nail from growing back is a last resort.
The newest way to stay fungus-free is with lasers. Heat is able to target infectious agents, which makes laser therapy extremely exciting. The universal appeal of lasers is that they can selectively destroy nasty fungi, while sparing healthy surrounding tissue and cure the condition.
Syneron Candela just earned FDA clearance for their proprietary new 5-millimeter spot size for the Gentle Pro Nd:YAG Laser Series to treat nail fungus. In addition to Gentle Pro’s speedy hair removal and vascular and pigmented lesion procedures, nail fungus can now be reversed in just a few brief treatment sessions.
According to New York City podiatrist Krista Archer, “Lasers have greatly improved options for treating infected nails safely, effectively, and without a lengthy plan. With three pain-free CoolTouch CT3 treatments that take about two minutes per nail, we can restore healthy nails, and patients can resume their normal activities the same day.” The best part is that you can continue to polish your toenails throughout the course of the treatment.
Practice safe mani/pedis, warns Archer, who sees a lot of toenail fungus caused from unsanitary conditions at nail salons. “Busy salons can be a breeding ground for fungus. Bring your own tools and polish to avoid the spread of fungus, and don’t get your cuticles cut. The cuticle forms a protective layer between your nail and the bed, and removing it makes it easier for fungus to get underneath and cause infections.”