Onychomycosis and pedicure

Filipino women, that includes myself, are very fond of going to beauty parlors to get our nails cleaned. We call it manicure for theĀ  fingernails, and pedicure for the toenails. The process entails pushing the surface of the nail plate backwards into the cuticle. Then the cuticle is trimmed before applying the nail polish for a final finish. Sounds simple and easy and the nails really look beautiful. But very few women know that one skin disease called onychomycosis is commonly transmitted in this manner.

Onychomycosis is fungal infection of the nails. It is usually caused by Trichophyton rubrum. It starts with pitting of the nails. Then gradually, the infected nail changes color from yellow to black. And as the condition progresses, the nail plate separates from the nail bed. The underside of the nail plate can also be invaded causing elevation of the nail plate away from the nail bed. The condition is bad aesthetically. And women with the condition resort to applying nail polish to cover up the bad-looking nail.

How does one gets the infection? One very common way is through the use of dirty manicure-pedicure sets ( pusher, cuticle cutter, file, brush, nail cutter). Let’s take the case of my patient Lisa (not her real name). She had her toenails cleaned for the first time five months ago. Several days after the procedure, the skin surrounding five of her toes became very itchy. The skin became rough and then gradually the nails became pitted and changed color. She sought consult because of the itch. Maybe the manicurist’s tools were not cleaned at all. She used them from one customer to another without cleaning them and one of her previous customers may have the condition. Thus, unknowingly spreading the condition from one customer to another.

So, next time you plan to have your nails cleaned, ask for a clean set of tools or you might want to bring your own set.

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One Response to “Onychomycosis and pedicure”

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