One of the worst things that could happen to your nails is nail fungus. Nail fungus looks nasty, can cause your nails to become brittle, and smell bad. In worse cases, this condition can be really painful, and cause the affected nails to actually lift-off your nail bed! Not a pretty sight to be sure. Seriously though, getting nail fungus is not good, and in extreme cases can even cause more serious diseases.
If you love your dip powder manicures like we do, you might be wondering: can dip powder cause nail fungus? The short answer is: it’s not that simple! But don’t fear; it’s not as bad as what you may be thinking right now. And that’s what we’re going to try to do with this article: we’re going to shed some light on the condition and give you information on how you could best prevent it from ever happening to your nails.
A Quick Lowdown on Nail Fungus, and How To Catch It.
What exactly is nail fungus, and how does it affect nails? As the name implies, nail fungus is a fungal infection of the nails. Nails affected by this fungus have a light-beige to brownish discoloration on their surface. As previously mentioned the affected nails may become brittle as well as thickened over time. Different types of fungus can cause the disease almost all of which can be found just about everywhere in the environment.
In fact, nail fungus affects about 3% to 12% of the population. Men are also more likely to get nail fungus compared to women, although it’s still not clear why. Older people are also more prone to this condition compared to younger people, as well as people with certain medical conditions, like diabetes, or a weakened immune system. People with siblings or relatives who have gotten nail fungi are also more likely to develop the condition.
Nail fungus also affects the toenails much more than the fingernails. This is because the fungus that causes the disease thrives in a moist and warm environment – kind of similar to the conditions in your shoes, especially if you have sweaty feet. Similarly, if you are suffering from athlete’s foot, you could get nail fungus, since the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is similar to the fungus that affects your nails.
Probably the biggest factor that can cause the disease is exposure to the fungus. This makes sense since if you’re not regularly exposed to the fungus you’re not going to develop the condition. This is why if you have athlete’s foot, you’re likely to get nail fungus.
As previously mentioned, fingernail fungus is much more uncommon compared to toenail fungus because your hands are seldom exposed to the same conditions that encourages nail fungus growth. For example, your hands are generally uncovered. You also most likely do not have your hands on the ground all the time, where the fungus is more commonly found. And if you do, you most probably clean your hands and dry them.
Nail Fungus and Manicures.
Unfortunately, one way to develop nail fungus on your fingernails is if the equipment you’re using on your nails was used by someone who has nail fungus (also known as cross-contamination). This brings us to the original question of whether or not dip powders can cause nail fungus. The answer is no, but a dip mani doesn’t help.
If you already have nail fungus, covering it up with a manicure – any manicure, not just a dip powder – does not prevent it from spreading. In fact, manicures, particularly really heavy ones tend to block light, which can potentially cause the fungus to grow.
What To Do?
So let’s say you’ve just removed your dip mani, and you see a bit of discoloration on your nails, you should definitely have it checked out by your doctor. This is particularly true if you didn’t do your mani yourself. Your doctor will most likely run a few tests to confirm your suspicions, after which you will be prescribed some medication, usually in the form of a cream. The good news is nail fungus is easily treated.
Here’s the thing: if you do have nail fungus, you HAVE to treat it. Nail fungus does not go away on its own, even if you stop getting a mani for a while. Also – and we can’t stress this enough – you HAVE to follow the treatment plan given to you by your doctor.
For example, if your doctor prescribes a cream that you have to apply for 10 days, and you notice the discoloration goes away after only just 3, you can’t and shouldn’t stop applying the cream on your nails. The 10 days were given to you for a reason; if you stop taking the medication, the fungus will most probably come back and come back stronger!
Prevention Is Key
By now you’re probably looking at your gorgeous dip nails and thinking what could be lurking underneath that mani? Don’t worry though; if you did the due diligence as we’re sure you did, and checked if your favorite salon is licensed by your state’s cosmetology board, you have nothing to fear. A licensed salon should be cleaning and sterilizing their equipment, which will prevent any infection, not just fungus, from spreading.
Having said all of that, there are other things you could do to prevent getting nail fungus:
- Bring your own stuff. If you suspect your salon to be less than judicious in the equipment cleaning department, or if your favorite nail tech is just absolutely brilliant with her skills, you could always bring your own equipment. This includes your own dip powders and nail essentials.
- Go the DIY route. Giving yourself a dip mani at home is not as hard as it seems. Yes, it does take some practice to get efficient as well as to get the effect you want but pretty much anything does. That being said, you should still clean and sterilize the equipment you’re using. As previously mentioned, the fungus that can infect nails can be found just about everywhere.
- Wash and dry your hands regularly. If your hobbies require you to get down and dirty with your hands (like gardening for example), always remember to wash your hands thoroughly and dry afterwards.
- Let your hands breath. This applies to jobs that require you to wear gloves for extended periods of time, especially if you get your hands wet constantly. A good example of this is if you work in a professional kitchen, and there’s a policy requiring you to wear rubber gloves.