The fungi that usually infect the nails and the skin are called dermatophytes. Skin and nail mycoses are caused when these parts are exposed to dermatophyte fungi for a long time, and when the latter find the right conditions (increased temperature, humidity), and multiply intensely.
More precisely, onychomycosis is an infection and contamination of the nail plaque. It can be caused by three categories of fungi, i.e. dermatophytes, yeasts (Candida species), and nematode fungi that are not dermatophytes.
Mycoses are transmitted by skin contact or direct contact with infected animals in the sea or the pool, due to humidity, however, which favors the growth of fungi.
Skin mycosis presents a different clinical appearance, depending on the fungus species. The main symptoms of skin mycosis are typically itching, light burning, redness, and scaling (peeling). Later on, and depending on the cause, irritation or a wound between the toes can develop, while dryness and thickening often develop on the heels. Erythematous plaque (skin raising), clearly delimited from the surrounding healthy skin, with central cure and peripheral scaling, usually on the exposed parts, with or without itching, erythema with mild scaling between the last toes, broken hair on the scalp, cracks, flakes, and peeling are the most frequent pictures of mycosis.
We can identify an infected toe from the following:
• It has white, yellow, or brown color
• It changes shape and becomes thicker
• It becomes brittle and breaks easily
• It has a foul odor
The topically administered drugs (in cream, ointment, lotion, powder, etc. form) that are used can be classified into three categories: azoles, allylamines, and cyclolypyridinones. Other topically administered drugs are amorolfine, haloprogin, and tolnaftate.
Antifungal drugs that are administered orally should always be taken on prescription and monitored by a physician, due to their possible side effects and interactions with other drugs.
Oral onychomycosis medication is administered, continuously or intermittently, for at least 3 months. The treatment of onychomychoses is difficult and time consuming. A patient should fully comply with the treatment. Nails are difficult targets for antifungal drugs, and therefore, abrasion or/and the use of laser are recommended every 2-3 weeks.