Is There Any Cure for Nail Fungus?
If your nails ever thicken, crumble, distort or darken, you may be observing the signs and symptoms of a fungal infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, these infections are typically caused by microscopic organisms that thrive in warm, moist environments, and can penetrate skin through tiny cuts or spaces between the nail and nail bed.
Though there are countless over the counter treatments claiming to clear up fungus, terbinafine, a prescription medication, is the only somewhat reliable solution. "There are topical treatments that are helpful, but they are not as strong as the terbinafine pills," said Dr. Kottke. But even this method isn't a surefire cure. "It is reported that 80 percent of patients who take terbinafine orally experience clearing," Dr. Kottke explained. "However, of those patients, 50 percent will have a reoccurrence of the fungus at a later date. There are potential risks with the oral medication and, in some cases, the side effects are severe."
"Only oral medications that you take for about 6 months [can help]," said Dr. Baumann. "You need blood work and a prescription [to obtain them]. Some lasers such as the Vbeam Perfecta may help but there is not good proof."
What Should You Do If You Develop an Ingrown Toenail?
Few skin problems are more painful (and annoying) than an ingrown toenail. Poorly fitted shoes and untrimmed nails can put pressure on the toe, causing the nail to curl downward and grow into the skin. If you notice that the skin around the nail appears to be growing over it, the nail may be ingrown. It will also be hard to miss signs of swelling and redness or even pus that accompany ingrown toenails. While it's often best to see a podiatrist for treatment, there are some tricks you can try at home to prevent ingrown nails. "Cut toenails straight across, never rounded," said Dr. Benabio. If you need immediate relief for the painful problem, "gently pull the corner of the nail out" before trimming, he says.
How Do You Rehydrate Dry Skin?
Though it may seem counterintuitive, the more water you expose your skin to, the more dryness you'll encounter. While it may be relaxing to soak in a hot bath for an hour or so, you're not doing your dry skin any favors by doing this. Dr. Baumann recommends 5-10 minute showers or baths in lukewarm water.
She also encourages seeking out products that contain fatty acids, ceramide and cholesterol. "More importantly, studies have shown that all three must be present in the right ratio to maintain a watertight skin barrier," Dr. Baumann explained. "My top recommendation is ATOPALM MLE. Tri Ceram, although too greasy to use regularly on the face, is a great body moisturizer. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Moisture Network Night Cream, MD Skincare Hydra-PureTM Intense Moisture Cream, and CeraVe all contain ceramides. MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Eye Crème and Rodan and Fields Anti-Age PM Cream contain cholesterol."
Dr. Benabio isn't too picky about the specific products his patients use. "The best is the one that you'll actually use," he said. "Some in-shower body moisturizers and moisturizing body washes work well because people actually use them every day."
Michelle is a freelance writer and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student.