Can Toenail Fungus Be Transferred Through Nail Polish?
If you have a fungal toenail infection, you’ll likely do whatever you can to cover it up. Many of us use toenail polish to hide a fungus. But, could nail polish be making it worse? Toenail fungus won’t necessarily be transferred through the polish itself. But, polishing your nails could make the infection worse, and the brush, cap, etc., could spread the fungus to other toenails.
Nail polish contains a variety of harsh chemicals. While those words might not always sound safe, they are a good thing in this instance. Many of the chemicals in nail polish make it more difficult for toenail fungus to spread to other nails (or people).
But, covering up your fungal infection with nail polish isn’t the best idea most of the time. Even if the infection isn’t transferred through the polish, it can spread in other ways and become worse. You can also give it to other people, or get it from using someone else’s polish.
If you do have an unsightly fungus, there are other ways of dealing with the problem. Covering it up with a standard over-the-counter product isn’t the best option for a few reasons. It’s understandable to want to hide the visible symptoms. But, treating the fungal infection itself is the best thing you can do, and that includes letting your nails breathe without being covered by polish.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Can You Get Toenail Fungus from Nail Polish?
- 2 Can a Professional Pedicure Cause a Fungal Infection?
- 3 How to Make Toenails Look Better with Fungus
- 4 What Are the Alternative Types of Toenail Polish?
- 5 Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus When Painting My Nails?
- 6 Treating Toenail Fungus the Right Way
Can You Get Toenail Fungus from Nail Polish?
The simple answer to this question is ‘yes and no.’ Does toenail fungus live in nail polish? Probably not. Due to the chemicals in the polish itself, it’s not an ideal environment for toenail fungus to live and grow.
But, can toenail polish cause a fungus to spread to other nails? Yes. We will explain why toenail polish isn’t the best solution for managing a fungal condition. We’ll go over how it can be harmful, so you can avoid making your infection worse. If you do want to disguise your toenail fungus, there are other ways to do it. We will offer a few suggestions on how to mask an unsightly fungus.
Why is Toenail Polish Harmful?
Toenail polish on its own isn’t harmful. If you like to have perfectly polished toes, that’s understandable. But, it’s important to give your toenails time to breathe once in awhile.
The problem with nail polish is that it creates a seal over your toenails. Toenail fungus occurs when moisture gets trapped underneath the nail. Because our toes are usually in warm, moist, dark environments (like shoes), we create an ideal setting for a fungus to grow and spread.
By adding nail polish to the top of your nails, you’re creating an even more welcoming environment for fungus. The polish blocks air from getting onto the nail and underneath it. That makes it easier for moisture to get trapped, and for a fungus to spread.
If you get an infection, having nail polish on might make it harder to spot right away. It’s best to treat toenail fungus early. So, if you can’t see the earliest warning signs/symptoms, you could be making it harder for yourself to heal the problem later on.
Can Toenail Fungus Contaminate Nail Polish?
If you use nail polish while you have toenail fungus, it’s more likely that it will contaminate the tools you use to apply it. It spreads quickly and easily. Each time you use the same nail brush, you could be spreading the condition to other toes.
The nail brush dipping back into the polish could cause the infection to contaminate things. But, it’s more likely that the application of the polish with the same brush is the culprit, instead of the polish itself.
You could also spread the fungus through something like the cap of the nail polish bottle. Anything that touches the fungus can become contaminated and cause contamination. For example, if you touch the brush directly to an infected toe and then use it on another toe, the infection could spread. Or, your hand could touch the cap that’s been contaminated. If your fingers touch other areas of your body, it could spread.
Can a Professional Pedicure Cause a Fungal Infection?
You might think you’re safe when you get a professional pedicure. But, even if your pedicure doesn’t include polish, it isn’t always a good idea to get this treatment. Again, the most significant issue with toenail fungus is how quickly and easily it can spread. Not only can it spread to other toes and areas of your body, but to other people.
That means it can spread from other people to you, too.
Going to a nail salon can feel like a treat. Everyone likes to get pampered and leave with their nails looking beautiful. Unfortunately, it can sometimes lead to significant problems for your toenails. If you happen to go to a salon that hasn’t adequately cleaned their tools, you could be putting yourself at risk. They may have worked on someone with a fungal infection. If those same tools are used, the fungus could spread to you.
Always make sure to go to a quality nail salon that you trust when getting a pedicure. Ask them if their tools have been adequately sterilized. If you’re still worried, you can even bring your own tools in and ask them to use what you’ve provided.
How to Make Toenails Look Better with Fungus
Anyone with a fungus will do whatever it takes to make their nails look more appealing. Toenail fungus can lead to a variety of unsightly symptoms.
These include things like:
- Hard, thick nails
- Brittle, crumbling nails
- Foul odor
These symptoms can be embarrassing. So, it’s normal to want to cover them up or change the appearance somehow. If you don’t want to use toenail polish and risk contaminating other nails, there are other options to try.
Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can make your nails look better and feel better naturally.
Practicing Good Nail Hygiene
One of the best ways to leave your nails looking great without polish is to make sure they are always cleaned and trimmed. Not only will this make your nails look better, but it can help to fight off a fungal infection. Letting your toenails grow too long can make it easier for an infection to develop underneath. Keeping your nails clipped straight across will make it harder for a fungus to grow.
Give Your Feet Time to Breathe
Whether you have sweaty feet or you’re prone to fungus, one of the best ways to protect yourself and keep your toes healthy is to give them time to breathe. Go barefoot in your home as often as possible.
If you need to change socks throughout the day, bring an extra pair with you. And, always make sure you wear shoes that fit correctly. Shoes that are too tight can cause severe problems for your toes and nails.
Start from the Inside Out
Healthy nails start with a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to give your nails the vitamins and minerals they need for growth. Since nails are made up of keratin (a type of protein), you should also include plenty of lean proteins in your diet. This will help to strengthen your nails and leave them looking shiny and smooth.
Eating a healthy diet with immune-boosting foods will also help to fight off fungus. The stronger your immune system is, the easier it can be to treat a fungus from the inside out.
What Are the Alternative Types of Toenail Polish?
If you do want to continue to wear nail polish when you have a toenail fungus, there are options to consider. Some companies have recognized that people with fungus want to be able to look and feel good about their toes. So, they have created nail polish that also works as a fungal infection treatment.
One of the most popular solutions is Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. It is the only polish with the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of approval. As you might expect, the formula was developed by doctors. It’s designed to help treat fungus instead of making it worse. It comes in a variety of colors, and no one will be able to tell the difference between it and regular nail polish.
Antifungal nail polishes are becoming more popular as ways to hide unsightly fungus symptoms. Be sure to choose an antifungal polish you can trust, with ingredients proven to heal fungal infections and symptoms. Dr.’s Remedy is a great option due to its recognition by podiatrists. But, there are others on the market that are also effective.
Keep in mind that when wearing even antifungal nail polish, you shouldn’t leave it on for weeks at a time without giving your nails a chance to breathe. The antifungal ingredients will help to treat the infection. But, it’s still a good idea to help it along naturally as much as possible.
Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus When Painting My Nails?
If you regularly paint your toenails, there are a few things to keep in mind to help lower your risk of an infection. Toenail fungus is never 100% preventable. There are too many factors in day-to-day life that can cause it to spread and be picked up. But, when you’re painting your nails there are some precautions you can take.
- Never share nail polish with someone else. They could have had an infection in the past. Or, they may currently have a toenail infection in its early stages and may not be aware. If that infection is lingering on the nail brush, you could spread it to your nails with just one use.
- Make sure any nail tools you use at home are clean and sterilized. If you’ve had an infection before, using the same nail tools can be dangerous if they aren’t properly cleaned.
- Give yourself time between each pedicure. If your nails have been painted for a week, remove the polish and wait a few days before covering them again. This will give your toenails time to breathe and help with any lingering moisture.
- If you used nail polish while you had a toenail fungus, it’s best to throw away that bottle. Again, the polish itself may not be contaminated. But, the brush that’s been sitting in the polish could cause problems and could cause the infection to come back.
Treating Toenail Fungus the Right Way
If you’ve ever had to deal with a fungal infection on your toes, you know how embarrassing it can be. The big problem is once a fungus has started to grow, it can take months for it to go away. The longer you wait to treat it, the harder it will be. So, covering it up with polish might seem like a sound option. Unfortunately, that will probably only make things worse.
The best thing you can do to hide the symptoms is to start treating toenail fungus without delay. Keeping your nails clean and dry is a great start. But, it will not go away on its own. Continuing to cover up the issue with shoes or polish will only make it worse unless the proper remedy is used.
There are a variety of different antifungal options. You can find an over-the-counter treatment or try a home remedy to get rid of the infection. If your toenail fungus doesn’t seem to be going away even with treatment, you may need to seek out professional treatment from a podiatrist.
If you want to use nail polish while you have a fungus, you should use an antifungal polish. Avoid using regular nail polish if you currently have an infection or you’ve used it for an infection in the past. The tools used to apply the polish, or anything it touches can become infected. You could even spread the fungus to your other nails.