Fungal infections have various presentations. On the hands and feet (also known as tinea pedis), they present as white scales. On the body (also known as tinea corporis), they typically present as a red ring with scales, thus the word ringworm. In the groin area (also known as tinea cruris), fungal infections present as an expanding, red patch with scales. Dr. Behnam sometimes performs a KOH test in the office to determine if a rash is of fungal origin or not. Fungal infections of the scalp can sometimes present as a patch of round to oval shaped hair loss with scale. Fungal infections of toenails and fingernails present as yellowish thickening of the nail with white debri under the nail. This is also known as onychomycosis.

How do you treat fungal infections?

  1. Fungal infection of scalp is typically treated with a combination of topical anti-fungal creams, shampoos and griseofulvin. Please see Dr. Behnam for evaluation and treatment of fungal infections of the scalp
  2. Fungal infection of the body is typically treated with topical antifungal creams, such as ketoconazole. In very severe and extensive cases, oral antifungal medications such as Lamisil are used for 2 weeks.
  3. Fingernail fungal infection must be treated with oral antifungal medications, such as Lamisil. Lamisil 250mg is taken once daily for 6 weeks.
  4. Toenail fungal infection must be treated with oral antifungal medications, such as Lamisil. Lamisil 250mg is taken once daily for 12 weeks. Topical creams will not work for fungal infections of nails. In patients who do not want to talk an oral medication, there are lasers that will help. Please ask Dr. Behnam for laser removal of fungal nail infections

Are there any lasers for toenail fungal infections?

Yes. There is a laser for toenail fungal infection. Please see Dr. Behnam for  an evaluation to see if you are a candidate.

Are fungal infections contagious?

Yes. Once one toenail is infected, it will not resolve on its own unless it is treated. If not treated, the fungal infection will spread to other nails.

How do I know I have a toenail infection?

Fungal Nail Infections (Onychomycosis) are infections generally caused by a class of fungus known as dermatophytes. They can involve the toenails or the fingernails. It is very common in adults and once acquired, it does not spontaneously remit. If not treated it may spread to other nails.

Fungal nail infections are characterized by thickening and yellowing of the nail, and accumulation of keratotic debris underneath the nail. Unfortunately, topical creams cannot penetrate the nails very well, so systemic antifungal therapy is the mainstay of therapy.

Is it sufficient to treat a toenail infection with topical creams?

No. Topical antifungal creams will not work for toenail infections. This is because the fungus is under the nail and the cream will not penetrate the toenail. The only two options for toenail fungal infections include oral medication like Lamisil or laser treatment. Please see Dr. Behnam for evaluation and treatment options.