Are nail salons to blame for the epidemic of fungal toenails?

I have listened for many years as countless patients have told me stories about their experience at the now trendy nail salons and how before going for a pedicure their toenails were beautiful and clear.

As a podiatrist, I see people every day who come to our clinics desperate to rid themselves of fungal nail. Many people don’t know where they picked up the infection but often, they have one thing in common – frequent trips to the nail salon. Unfortunately, when the right precautions are not taken, nail salons are a haven for the type of fungi that wreak havoc on healthy nails.

While it is possible to get rid of fungal nail, the infection can be very stubborn, and the best precaution is always prevention.

Fungal nail is most commonly caused by dermatophyte, yeast, or non-dermatophyte mould infections. These fungi thrive in moist environments and are easily transmitted, making nail salons the perfect environment for fungal nail to run rampant if the right precautions are not taken. A pedicure presents the potential for minor trauma to your skin and nails, which in combination with poor sterilization measures, makes infection a very real risk.

Early signs of a fungal infection include:

  • White, yellow or brown streaks on the nail
  • Crumbling of the nail
  • Thickening of the nail
  • Scaling under the nail

If you suspect that you might have a fungal nail infection, the best course of action is to contact a qualified podiatrist to discuss the most effective form of treatment for your fungal nails.