Toenail fungus is a common occurrence particularly in adults, just under a third of us will suffer from some form of nail fungus at some in our lives. The most common fungi that cause it are dermatophytes which are picked up in public areas like gyms and pools, walking barefoot around the garden, or can occur when there is an injury to the nail or when our feet are constantly warm and damp in shoes all day. Early treatment is the best course of action, toenail fungus treatment is not easy when it is a severe infection that has been around for years. Early signs include spotting or streaking of discoloration. As the infections get worse, symptoms include further discoloring, nail shape change, thickening, crumbling, debris under the nail, and discomfort.
With very serious side effects to consider in medicated toenail fungus treatment, people are more and more considering the effectiveness and safety of alternative options. Undecylenic acid is one of those options and is an ingredient in many over the counter anti-fungal products including antifungal toenail fungus treatment brands. It is a natural substance derived from castor oil and has FDA approval as a treatment for fungal infections. There have been studies done on this substance proving its anti-fungal actions but it tends to be something that is used in combination with other anti-fungal ingredients to boost the effectiveness.
Undecylenic acid is an organic fatty acid that works by inhibiting the fungus’ ability to form enzymes it needs in lipid metabolism. Other medications that work against fungi the same way Undecylenic acid does include the triazoles, amphotericin B and Nystatin. Its action along with other anti-fungal ingredients it can be combined with such as essential oils will then kill existing fungi and prevent any further growth. As with any treatment of toenails, this takes many months before a fully completely healthy nail has grown through, so patience and dedication to toenail fungus treatment is needed.
You can find this toenail fungus treatment in various forms, cream, powder and liquid. Toenails are difficult to treat topically because the nail makes it hard for the treatment to reach the fungus. If you try a cream form it can be applied twice a day, but if you try a powder form make sure you do not inhale it as you apply it. Whichever form you choose, or brand you choose that has Undecylenic acid in it, make sure you follow the instructions and wash and dry your toes and hands before applying, and then wash your hands again after.
You should see signs of a healthy nail starting to grow through after four to six weeks of use, and then a full recovery after 6 to 12 months. If you see no improvement after 2 months that treatment method is probably not working for you and you should see your doctor for further assessment and toenail fungus treatment advice.
Dr. Soumya Podduturi is an Aesthetic Dermatologist, Dermatologist, Dermatosurgeon, Trichologist, Pediatric Dermatologist, Cosmetologist with 8 Years Experience