If you haven’t taken a good look at your nails without polish or taken a good whiff of your toes lately, you should especially if you plan to go buff.

The buff nail is a trend this season and we’re not talking about a buff shade of polish.  If you haven’t taken a good look at your nails without polish or taken a good whiff of your toes lately, you should.

More than 14% of people have a fungal nail infection that causes nails to become thick, brittle, and discolored.  You might already know this but just in case you’re not up on your nail health, fungus thrives in dark and moist places like sweaty socks and shoes and gets transferred on the floors of locker rooms and around public pools.  However, what you might not know is that fungus can thrive under nail polish too and can be transferred in nail salons. 

Getting rid of the infection isn’t easy.  In most cases, it takes at least four months and longer if the whole nail needs to be removed for treatment.  It’s not something that just goes away.  So it might seem a little late in the season for some to get onboard with this trend, but it is one of those trends worth integrating into your life no matter when you start.  

The best treatment for fungal nail infections is prevention.  There are a lot of reasons why people get the infection but the most prevalent reasons are moisture, exposure, aging and health issues that cause poor blood circulation.  Granted we all age, but we can affect our behavior to reduce moisture, exposure and health issues.

A few health tips to keep your nails dry, healthy and on trend:

1/ Keep your Feet Dry: Dry between your toes after you bath and use powders as needed to help absorb moisture especially if you have sweaty feet.  Socks made with synthetic materials help wick moisture and open toe shoes or other breathable designs will help keep your feet cool and dry. 

2/ Reduce Exposure: Wear thongs to and from public pools and in the locker rooms and if you get regular mani/pedis, choose the salon carefully.  

3/ Strong Heart: Eating well and exercising regularly will strengthen your heart and keep fresh blood pumping all the way to your tippy toes to help fight off infection. 

4/ Stop Wearing Nail Polish:  Medical experts say stop wearing polish.  We know all or nothing changes are hard to make so maybe start cutting back and then wear it only for special occasions.  Just don’t forget to take it off. 

If you suspect that you have a fungal nail infection, check in with your doctor.  Other bacteria and yeast can cause similar symptoms and may require different treatment.  However, if you have a nail fungus infection, take precaution not to spread it to others.  It’s not something that you want back.