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What Causes a Fungal Nail Infection?

fungal-nail-infection.jpgThere are three types of fungi that can cause a fungal nail infection, also referred to as onychomycosis (on-ee-koh-my-ko-sis): dermatophytes, yeast, and mold. The most common cause of fungal nail infections is dermophytes. If it is a yeast infection, usually the culprit is of the Candida species, and on occasion fungal nail infections are caused by mold. All three can affect both the toenails and the fingernails and can be very difficult to get rid of, but they can also all be treated with the same Naturasil products. 

Dermatophytes cause most fungal nail infections and can grow not only on the nails, but also on the skin and hair. This triple threat invader can be found anywhere from clothing, shoes, and nail clippers to locker room floors and showers. Fungi thrive in humid environments, making places like indoor swimming pool floors and athletic supporters (see Jock Itch) ideal homes. 

Yeast is also a type of fungus which is normally present on the human body to some capacity. Anything that may lower your body’s immune response, such as illness or immune system problems, can allow the already existing yeast populations to grow out of control. Even taking an antibiotic can trigger the growth. Yeast, usually Candida, can grow on the skin and nails, but unlike dermatophytes it cannot grow on hair. 

Mold, which is referred to as a non-dermatophyte, is also a fungus. The types of mold that can cause nail infections grow in soil and can also grow on skin and nails. So for all of you gardeners out there, make sure you buy yourself a pair of nice and sturdy gardening gloves to prevent nail infections! 

Once you have come into contact with the fungus, it may begin to grow on your skin (i.e. athlete’s foot) which is then transferred to your nail, or it may start on your nails. These infections normally affect the nail bed, which is the skin underneath the nail, and the actual nail. Once you have a nail infection, you are much more easily susceptible to recurring nail infections and will need to take extra precautions in the future.

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