How can I tell I have a nail infection?

Dr. Marie Jhin, a dermatologist in the SF Bay Area, continues to answer your questions on nail infections.

A nail infection is the result of a fungus, yeast, or mold attacking the nail or the skin under the nail.

What signs should I look for?

  • Nails that are thick
  • Yellowness on the nail
  • Nails that have split from the skin, and have started to crumble

A common type of fungus that attacks nails, White Superficial Onychomycosis, has a specific set of symptoms:

  • White spots on the nails
  • A powdery nail surface that gets worse as the infection progresses
  • Damaged, crumbly, brown nail surface, which remains connected to the skin underneath

What puts me most at risk for getting a nail infection?

  • Being over 60 years old
  • Having cuts near the fingernails, a hangnail or ingrown nail
  • Being someplace where your hands or feet are moist and sweaty

Where did I pick up my nail infection?

The most common places are those that have a lot of people coming and going and that are hot and moist (an ideal environment for fungus), such as a public shower, or places with shared equipment, such as nail salons. Make sure you wear sandals in gym showers and check that your nail salon is using clean equipment.

For most people in good health, a nail infection is nothing to worry about.  However, if an individual with a weakened immune system or diabetes experiences a nail infection, medical attention is needed.

Check back in on Friday to learn how to treat your nail infection!

If you have a nail infection and are interested in learning how to treat it, contact Robert, our Patient Manager, to schedule an appointment. He can be reached at info@premier-dermatology.com or by phone at 415-371-8600 (SF office) or 650-551-9700 (Peninsula office).

How do I avoid getting an infection from the nail salon?

Do you love getting your nails done but fear getting an infection from your favorite salon?

Dr. Marie Jhin, a dermatologist in the SF Bay Area, answers your questions on nail salons.

We all hear the horror stories of learning that a nail shop that appears clean and professional is sending people home with infections.

In this three part blog post, we will explain to you what to do when you go to a salon, what the signs of a nail infection are, and what to do if you have a nail infection.

What you should do when you go to the salon:

Look for licensed, trained professionals. These professionals know the importance of a clean salon and have been trained in how to keep a nail salon safe and clean.

Ask questions. Find out how they clean their equipment and how often they do it. This article (link) on About.com suggests looking for an autoclave or disinfectant called tuberculocidal, these disinfect better than the UV lights some salons use.

Bring your own equipment. If you are worried that equipment isn’t being sterilized properly, make a trip to the beauty supply store and stock up on your own nail supplies. Throw them in a cute bag and leave them in a place you will remember—just grab them before you leave for the salon.

Hold off on shaving and opt not to get your cuticles cut. These are two great ways to reduce your chances of infection. Bacteria are looking for little cracks and openings in the skin to get into your body—a shaving nick or a snip of a cuticle that breaks skin are two easy ways for bacteria to enter.

Check back on Tuesday for Part 2: How to Spot a Nail Infection.

Interested in learning even more about the Dos and Don’ts of going to the nail salon? Read more on the ASDS website.

If you have a nail infection and are interested in learning how to treat it, contact Robert, our Patient Manager, to schedule an appointment. He can be reached at info@premier-dermatology.com or by phone at 415-371-8600 (SF office) or 650-551-9700 (Peninsula office).