Knowing how to get rid of fingernail fungus should be a top priority for anyone who experiences it. A nail fungus can be unsightly, painful, and hard to remove. Unfortunately, if it’s not treated correctly, it will keep coming back. Thankfully, there are good OTC fingernail fungus removers.
The same kind of fungus that can cause conditions like ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot can also cause an infection underneath your nails. These types of infections not only spread easily (and quickly), but they can be very contagious to other people.
One of the biggest problems with fungal infections is that they are resilient. Sometimes, oral over-the-counter medicine is needed to remove the fungus at its source. OTC solutions can also be used to prevent an infection from returning. As you’d expect, some are a lot better than others.
Table of Contents:
- 1 What Are the Causes of Fingernail Fungus?
- 2 Top 10 Fingernail Fungus Treatments of 2019
- 2.1 1) Kerasal Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment
- 2.2 2) NonyX Fungal Nail Clarifying Gel
- 2.3 3) Zane Hellas Fungucept
- 2.4 4) Perfect Nail Solution
- 2.5 5) Dr. G’s Clear Nail Antifungal Treatment
- 2.6 6) Miracle of Aloe Antifungal Liquid
- 2.7 7) Omiera Labs Nail Fungus Treatment
- 2.8 8) Probelle “Extra Strength” Natural Fungal Nail Gel
- 2.9 9) FungiAid Nail Fungus Treatment
- 2.10 10) Funginix Antifungal Treatment
- 3 Laser Treatment for Fingernail Fungus
- 4 Cover up a Fungal Infection with Nail Polish
- 5 Home Remedies for Fingernail Fungus
- 6 Which OTC Fingernail Fungus Treatment is Best?
What Are the Causes of Fingernail Fungus?
A nail fungus can occur for a variety of reasons. These include the following:
- It often stems from trapped moisture under the nail bed. The leading causes of this problem include washing dirty dishes and gardening work. Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist environments. It makes it easy for a fingernail fungus to grow and spread.
- Many people also get fungus due to acrylic nails or nail polish. They might do a good job of hiding the symptoms for a while, but in the end, they will only make it worse. Always wear an antifungal polish, such as Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish.
- It can be caused by repeated trauma to the nail. This doesn’t have to mean ‘banging’ it against something. It can be biting your nails regularly. Injuries or cuts in the skin around the nails can also allow fungal spores to get underneath your fingernails.
- You can contract a nail fungus from other people. It’s extremely contagious.
If you’re worried that you already have an infection, knowing the signs to look for is vital.
Symptoms of a Fungal Nail Infection
In the early stages, proximal onychomycosis might not be too noticeable or seem that serious. However, if left untreated, it can start to spread underneath the nail bed and reach other fingernails. In severe cases, the nail can be pushed away from the nail bed.
Recognizing symptoms in the beginning stage of the fungus is the most effective way to treat it quickly. The longer you let a fungus grow and thrive, the harder it will be to remove.
Here are the most likely signs of fingernail fungus:
- A bad odor coming from the infected nail(s)
- Nails that become hard, brittle, or thick
- Distortion of the shape, or uprooting from the nail bed
- Crumbling nail tips
- Scaling underneath the nail
- White or yellow streaking
- Total loss of the nail
Keep in mind that there are other types of nail infections that can have some of these symptoms. Being sure you’re dealing with a fungal infection is important.
It’s easier to treat in its earlier stages. The longer you let an infection continue, the harder it will become to treat. It will also usually take longer to remove if you give it time to grow and spread. Being aware of the symptoms and checking your nails frequently can make a big difference.
Difference between Fingernail Fungus and Toenail Fungus
There isn’t much of a difference. It may be easier to get a toenail fungus based on the fact that toes are often in warm, dark, damp environments.
Fingernails have more of an opportunity to ‘breathe.’ It’s not an ideal environment for fungus to continue growing. Covering nails with acrylics or polish is a leading cause.
However, because fungal infections are easily contracted from other people, fingers are more susceptible to getting an infection this way. Many of the OTC treatments are usually marketed for toenail fungus. However, they can also be used on fingernails safely.
Top 10 Fingernail Fungus Treatments of 2019
Whether you can identify infection early or you’ve let it go too long, treatment is essential. Let’s take a look at the top ten over the counter solutions for fingernail fungus.
1) Kerasal Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment
This is a clinically proven solution for fungus underneath the fingernails. It is designed to clear up the appearance of your nails in just one week.
If nail fungus is causing you discoloration or unsightly fingernails, this is a great way to get rid of those side effects quickly. It is approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
The ingredients in Kerasal include the following:
- Propylene glycol
- Lactic acid
- Sodium hydroxide
- Disodium EDTA
Unlike many other nail fungus treatments, you can use this solution directly on the nail itself. Many competitors are meant for use on the skin surrounding the nail to keep the infection from spreading.
Kerasal Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment penetrates directly through the nail to the nail bed. Once it penetrates through the nail, it goes to work killing the infection.
One of the most common side effects of nail fungus is thickened hard nails. This product can penetrate through even the toughest of nails. It will help to normalize them back to their original state.
According to the manufacturer, it works in 90% of nail fungus sufferers. Plus, it comes with its own applicator tip. You can use it twice daily safely, applying it directly to the nail.
Check the Price of Kerasal Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment on Amazon!
2) NonyX Fungal Nail Clarifying Gel
Our fingernails need keratin. It’s an essential protein and one of the building blocks that make up the nails. However, there is such a problem as too much of a good thing.
When a keratin buildup occurs, it could create big problems for your nails, including a fungal infection. NonyX nail gel clears out excess keratin, fighting back against fungus in the process.
Keratin is often responsible for fingernail discoloration. It also works as a food supply for fungus. The more extra keratin that builds up under the nail, the stronger an infection will become. Because NonyX is a clarifying gel, it cleanses underneath the nail, removing keratin debris.
Made by the Xenna Corporation, this treatment option has been trusted by podiatrists for years. It contains no parabens or harmful preservatives. It’s an all-natural solution that is very safe and even more effective. It’s even safe for people with diabetes with healthy feet to use.
To use NonyX correctly, apply a few drops directly from the bottle to the affected area. As with any treatment, it’s important not to touch the bottle to the infection itself. This increases the chance of cross-contamination. It could ruin the whole bottle, and cause your infection to spread.
One bonus of this solution is that the company offers a money-back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can receive a full refund. It may take a while (with any product) to see the results you want, so be patient.
Check the Price of Xenna NonyX Nail Gel on Amazon!
3) Zane Hellas Fungucept
Fungucept is designed to be a complete solution to getting rid of fingernail fungus. It focuses on one main ingredient: Carvacrol. This is typically found in oregano oil (another popular antifungal solution). The product has intense antifungal properties and can kill a fungal infection at its core. It doesn’t just keep it from growing. It helps to stop a fungus wherever it’s found.
Studies have found that carvacrol is effective for several different types of fungal infections. It is also effective against a few different types of bacteria. Not only will it kill your fungus, but it can also help to prevent other types of infection from occurring.
Additional active ingredients in Zane Hellas Fungucept include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
The vitamins help to strengthen your nails and surrounding skin. They will restore your nails to a healthy state once the fungus is completely cured.
Fungucept contains 100% natural ingredients, which can be rare for an OTC treatment. Many of them contain chemicals or other man-made ingredients. While they can be effective, they can also cause adverse reactions for some people. Natural solutions are usually less likely to create negative side effects. So, you can use this product safely and with confidence.
Even though it is made with natural ingredients, Fungucept is effective. With regular use, it is designed to work in as little as four weeks. You should notice a difference in the appearance and color of your nails. Keep in mind that the longer you’ve let your fungal infection go, the harder it can be to treat.
Don’t stop using Fungucept just because you start to see improvement. Wait until the infection is completely clear. It’s a favorite treatment due to the affordable price.
Check the Price of Zane Hellas fungucept on Amazon!
4) Perfect Nail Solution
Sometimes, it takes a natural process to get rid of nail fungus for good. That is the case when it comes to the Perfect Nail Solution. This treatment is a two-step topical antifungal solution for fingernails.
It contains essential oils that will naturally and safely clear up the effects of nail fungus. Unsightly symptoms like yellowing of the nails and hard, thick nails are common problems. Regular use of this treatment will help to alleviate those symptoms.
It contains the following ingredients:
- Vitamin E
- Oregano oil
- Lemon oil
- Lavender oil
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
The ingredients work as antiseptic agents. They keep the fungal infection from getting any worse. If the fungus has nothing to feed on and no way to grow or spread, it will eventually die out. You’ll notice your symptoms start to subside even faster.
Even though this treatment is a two-part process, it’s incredibly easy to use. The first step involves a nourishing soak. Drop just 1ml of the soaking solution into a basin or sink filled with warm water. Place your hands in the solution for about five minutes.
Follow up the soak with the topical agent. You can use the built-in applicator brush to apply the solution directly to the nail. Allow it to dry, and your treatment for the day is complete.
This solution will help to restore the health of your nails naturally. The ingredients will help to prevent additional infections caused by bacteria. Not only does it protect your nails, but the surrounding skin.
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5) Dr. G’s Clear Nail Antifungal Treatment
Many antifungal nail treatments are meant for the skin surrounding the nails. While this is great to keep an infection from spreading, it doesn’t always get to the source.
Dr. G’s Clear Nail Antifungal Treatment penetrates through the nail itself. It keeps the infection from spreading while killing the fungus at its core.
The key ingredient in Dr. G’s formula is tolnaftate. This is found in various antifungal solutions. It is an antifungal agent that blocks fungal growth. When a fungus isn’t able to spread and grow, it becomes weaker. The weaker it is, the easier it is to treat. With consistent use of this product, the fungus will continue to get weaker until it dies out completely.
You only need to apply the solution twice a day to the cuticle and free edge of the nail. It will penetrate through thick nails to get directly to the fungus. It is so strong that it can even work if you’re wearing nail polish.
It can take a couple of weeks to see changes. It can take several months for it to clear away an infection completely. Don’t stop using it in the process.
This has been a salon-approved product for over ten years. It’s trusted by manicurists and pedicurists to get rid of the symptoms of nail fungus. Now, you can use it in the comfort of your own home.
Check the Price of Dr. G's Clear Nail Antifungal Treatment on Amazon!
6) Miracle of Aloe Antifungal Liquid
Some over the counter treatments only focus on the symptoms of a fungal infection. Miracle of Aloe works to kill the fungus, not just cover up the side effects. It was formulated by doctors to heal a fungal infection effectively.
The key active ingredient in this solution is tolnaftate. Again, tolnaftate helps to prevent fungal growth. However, this formula also contains several other ingredients designed to fight infection and heal unsightly symptoms. These ingredients include:
- Aloe vera leaf juice
- Salicylic acid
- PEG 400
- Tea tree leaf oil
- DMDM Hydantoin
One of the most effective natural ingredients included in this formula is tea tree leaf oil. This is often used on its own to fight different types of infections.
It contains antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. Not only will it help to kill a fungus, but it will prevent it from spreading. Aloe vera is also used to keep your surrounding skin healthy and clear of infection.
This treatment is designed to be used every day. The natural ingredients are typically very safe unless you’re allergic to one or more. Within just a matter of weeks, you should start to notice the symptoms of a bad fungal infection clearing up.
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7) Omiera Labs Nail Fungus Treatment
The Omiera Labs Nail Fungus Treatment, Podiazole, is safe, effective, and recommended by doctors. This easy-to-use treatment is designed to restore the health of your nails to their natural state.
Podiazole penetrates through the protective outer layer of your nails. That allows the medication to get to the very source of the fungus itself, stopping it in its tracks. It has an extremely high success rate among people who use it for fingernail fungus.
There are no known side effects with this treatment. One of the reasons people tend to stay away from OTC products is the risk of potential side effects. With Podiazole, you don’t have to worry about damaging your skin or experiencing any scary health issues.
One small container of this product by Omiera Labs can last up to two months. During that time, you should see a significant difference in the appearance and health of your nails.
It’s important to use an antifungal treatment until the infection is completely gone. But, the even better part about Podiazole is that you can continue to use it. Once the infection has cleared up, it will continue to make your nails healthier and stronger. It can even make them look whiter.
Instead of focusing on a treatment that only can be used on the skin, Podiazole can be used on the nail itself. You don’t have to worry about getting it underneath the nail or in the surrounding areas. It will penetrate through even thick, hardened nails.
Once it gets weaker, it will begin to die out. This allows for new nail growth. As your new nail starts to grow, it should look healthier than ever due to the active ingredients in this formula.
Check the Price of Omiera Labs Nail Fungus Treatment on Amazon!
8) Probelle “Extra Strength” Natural Fungal Nail Gel
100% natural formulas can be hard to come by in over-the-counter solutions. One of the best options, if you’re looking for natural ingredients, is Probelle “Extra Strength” Natural Nail Fungal Gel.
This antifungal treatment has been used in a clinical test where over 94% of participants saw significant results in just six weeks.
The patented formula is odorless, colorless, and completely natural. It is designed to alleviate the following symptoms associated with nail fungus:
- Excessive nail thickness/hardening
Because it is a thick gel, it will have time to absorb into the nails and surrounding areas. Treatments that are thin liquids can be washed away or absorbed too quickly into the skin, but not the nail.
This Probelle solution only requires a thin layer of the application at night. It will be absorbed into the nails throughout the night. No need to rinse away.
This treatment is meant to be used for several months to see the best results. However, if the symptoms of your nail fungus are causing you pain and embarrassment, it’s one of the quickest ways to get rid of them. In just a matter of weeks, you should start noticing healthier-looking nails.
If you tend to have a problem with chemicals, or experience side effects, choosing a natural solution like this is a great option. Side effects are extremely rare, thanks to its simple ingredients. You can fight back against pesky fungus without harming your sensitive skin in the process.
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9) FungiAid Nail Fungus Treatment
FungiAid was developed by doctors in the United States.
It uses essential oils to treat fingernail fungus and restore your nails to a healthy state. It’s designed to promote healthy nails, surrounding skin, and cuticles. The ingredients create a one-of-a-kind formula that is tough on infection but gentle on your skin.
These ingredients include the following:
- Olive oil
- Lauric acid
- Sweet almond oil
- Tea tree oil
- Castor oil
- Lavender oil
- Vitamin E
- Avocado oil
Using natural ingredients and essential oils, you’ll notice that your symptoms start to fade in a matter of weeks. Plus, thanks to ingredients like carvacrol and tea tree oil, the fungus itself will become weak and begin to die. Both of these critical ingredients stop fungus in its tracks.
They will penetrate through the nail to keep the infection from growing. Other nourishing components like Vitamin E will keep your skin healthy, soft, and protected.
This is a solution meant to treat a fungal infection. It’s safe for the skin and nails, not just one or the other. Because it can safely get on your skin, it can prevent an infection from spreading.
The manufacturer recommends that you apply it twice a day. There are no severe side effects to worry about because of the natural ingredients. The company guarantees the product is safe, using only organic components within its formula.
The company is also confident that this is genuinely a fungal treatment that will work for you. They offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not fully satisfied.
For a natural solution, this is a treatment that can work relatively quickly. Within just a few weeks your nails should start to look healthier and stronger.
Check the Price of FungiAid on Amazon!
10) Funginix Antifungal Treatment
Funginix Antifungal Treatment uses FDA-approved undecylenic acid, tea tree oil, and other potent ingredients to stop fingernail fungus in its tracks. The key to this treatment is that it uses nearly twice as many ingredients as other antifungal solutions. The more ingredients with antifungal properties, the faster your infection can clear up!
Funginix works by soaking into the cuticle and the area around the nail. This lets it sink in and penetrate the fungus where it starts – the nail bed.
The comprehensive ingredient list includes:
- Propolis extract
- Sweet almond oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Clove oil
Using such a unique and powerful blend of ingredients allows this treatment to start healing a fungal infection in as little as two weeks. In most cases, total infections can be cleared up in about six months.
To use Funginix correctly, apply a thin layer to the affected area twice a day. You can use the included applicator brush or a cotton swab to apply it safely. It only takes a few minutes to dry. No need to rinse it away!
This specialized formula was specifically designed to fight fungus of the nails. Such a long ingredient list can seem intimidating. But, once you realize that they are mostly herbal extracts proven to have an effect on fungus, you can take comfort. There are very few negative side effects.
Check the Price of Funginix Antifungal Treatment on Amazon!
When to Start Applying an Over-the-Counter Treatment
All of the OTC treatments (above) are meant can be used at any time. Whether you’re in the early stages of an infection, or you’ve had it for months, they can be effective.
It’s always a better idea to start a treatment plan as soon as you notice the signs. Pay attention to the symptoms. If any of them apply to you, it’s never too early to start treatment.
You should adopt a regular nail care routine. Keeping your nails trimmed and as clean as possible during a fungal infection can make the treatment process easier. These treatments are designed for just about anyone to use. Don’t wait until your infection becomes unbearable before seeking out a solution.
What Happens When a Nail Fungus Isn’t Treated Properly?
Fingernail fungus will never go away unless it’s treated. The treatment options listed here are popular sellers. They get great reviews, and many people have had success using them. But, it’s also easy to get impatient while you’re treating a fungal infection.
It can take weeks, or even months, for an infection to be completely cleared up. If you stop treatment before the fungus is completely gone, it could come back.
First, the unsightly and uncomfortable symptoms of a fungal infection will continue to get worse. Things like a bad smell from the nails or a thickening/hardening of the nail can become extremely obvious.
In some cases, you may lose the nail completely. If a fungus is allowed to grow, it can spread to other areas of the body and cause potential health issues.
Laser Treatment for Fingernail Fungus
Laser treatment has become an increasingly popular procedure. It works by using infrared light to kill fungal spores. When the spores have been exposed to this type of laser light, they can’t grow. Similarly to some of the treatments here, when a fungus can’t grow, it becomes weak and dies out.
It can take several laser treatments to kill off a fungal infection completely. But, it is still faster than many over the counter medicines. Unfortunately, it’s also easy for the fingernail fungus to keep coming back. Typically, even if you have a laser treatment, you should complement it with an OTC solution.
The downside is that laser treatment can be expensive. It won’t be covered by insurance. In many cases, it is considered a ‘cosmetic’ treatment, so you’ll be paying for it on your own. While it isn’t meant to be painful, you have to consider that it is a laser light running across your skin and nails.
A safer option for laser-like treatments at home is the Cure Ex Fungus Treatment Laser Device. This is an at-home laser treatment that you can use on fingernails. It mimics the light beam used by doctors to get rid of fungus quickly.
It only takes a few minutes of use each day to be effective. Even better, it can be done in the comfort of your own home for a minimal outlay. It also doesn’t cause any pain while you’re using it.
Cover up a Fungal Infection with Nail Polish
Because fingernail fungus can cause things like yellowing and chipping, it’s tempting to want to hide your nails. One of the most common options is to hide the infection with nail polish. However, like acrylic nails, nail polish can do more harm than good.
When you cover up fungus with nail polish, you’re not giving your nails a chance to breathe. Remember, fungus thrives in warm, dark environments. Covering it up with nail polish doesn’t allow proper air flow to get to your nails. It gives the fungus a better chance to grow and thrive.
If you do want to cover your nails while treating them, you can try antifungal nail polishes.
One of the best on the market is Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. This polish contains Vitamins C and E to encourage healthy nail growth. It also has tea tree oil to help fight against fungal infections.
It comes in a variety of different colors. So, you can treat your fingernail fungus while hiding some of the more embarrassing symptoms safely.
Home Remedies for Fingernail Fungus
There are dozens of home remedies to consider. Some work better than others, based on their ingredients. Some of the ingredients you may even recognize in the OTC solutions above.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular home solutions:
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter treatments. It’s especially popular in treatments that feature additional natural ingredients. There are many essential oils designed to help with clear, healthy nails. None of them tend to work as well as tea tree oil when it comes to fighting fungus.
When you use 100% pure tea tree oil for a fingernail infection, it’s restorative, and healing properties work quickly. It is an antiseptic agent that will keep the infection from spreading. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Not only will it kill fungus, but it will also prevent other infections from occurring.
If you use pure tea tree oil, always apply it with a neutral carrier oil of some type, like olive oil. Some people with sensitive skin may experience a negative reaction from using tea tree oil alone.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Baking soda won’t kill fungus, but it will prevent it from spreading. Vinegar is acidic enough to kill nail fungus but gentle enough not to affect the pH levels of your body. Combining the two into a nail soak helps to keep an infection from spreading and helps to get rid of it entirely.
To use this treatment correctly, do the following:
- Combine 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda into a cup of vinegar.
- Soak your fingers in the solution for about fifteen minutes.
- Then, follow it up by putting 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in warm water.
- Soak your fingers for an additional fifteen minutes and dry thoroughly. Repeat the process twice a day for best results.
Coconut oil has natural healing properties and is used for many health-related conditions. High-grade extra virgin coconut oil is an effective way to get rid of nail fungus. First, it helps to boost your immune system. When your body can fight back against an infection stronger, it can be treated faster.
Coconut oil also contains antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. You can use coconut oil on its own or combine it with other treatment options to get rid of fungus even faster.
Be sure to use 100% organic coconut oil to get the best results. Always test a small amount on your nails first, to ensure you’re not allergic.
Is There a Cure for a Fungal Infection?
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for fungus. A fingernail fungus that keeps coming back probably isn’t being treated until it’s fully healed.
Remember, OTC solutions could take months to work fully. It can be tempting to cut treatment short if you see results. But, that will make it easy for the infection to creep back in.
If you do fully get rid of an infection, it doesn’t mean you can’t get another one at some point. As stated above, a fungus is extremely contagious. It’s easy to get from other people, or under the right circumstances. While most treatments are effective, there is no real ‘cure’ for this type of problem.
Taking preventative/precautionary measures is your best option against fighting fingernail fungus before it starts.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid direct contact with someone who has a nail infection
- Adopt a healthy nail care routine
- Keep your fingernails trimmed
- Don’t always wear nail polish
- Make sure your hands/nails are dry
Which OTC Fingernail Fungus Treatment is Best?
When you’re looking for an over-the-counter treatment for fingernail fungus, the ingredients are key. You want to look for ingredients designed to destroy fungus and stop spreading. Whether they are natural or man-made, you should know how effective they are.
The best over-the-counter solution on this list is Kerasal Fungal Nail Renewal Treatment. While everyone can experience results in a different time frame, it works quickly. Use it correctly each day, and you’ll start to notice your symptoms clearing up.