Nailcare

Why do nails smell? How to fix it?

Updated: July 12, 2021

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Having smelly nails isn’t an uncommon issue. Nails that smell bad can be embarrassing and can affect your self-esteem. However, they are fixable. By taking care of a few things, you can get rid of the smell and turn your nails into their original healthy state.

The main reason why your nails smell bad is due to the presence of bacteria and germs underneath your nails, causing nail infection. It then allows a perfect environment for the growth of fungus. Sweat and unhygienic habits can lead to bacteria and germs residing in your nails. To get rid of the foul odour and the fungus, try to keep your nails short, wash and scrub them well, wear gloves when in contact with dirt, and keep your hands dry and well-moisturized.

It’s fairly normal for your nails to collect bacteria or germs underneath them, as throughout the day, your hands touch and carry a lot of things, which may contain dirt and debris. In some actions, dirt may not seem visible such as cleaning dishes or touching door handles. But, they also contribute to making your nails get fungus and smell bad.

Some things that can reside in your nails and cause bacteria are dead skin cells, oils from your skin, actual dirt, food residue, and chemicals that you may unknowingly touch. All these have chances of resulting in a nail infection.

Symptoms of fungal nail infection

  • The appearance of a white or yellow spot underneath your nail. If left untreated, it will spread across the entire nail and may turn brown or even black. Discolouration is a tell-tale sign of fungus or yeast growth.
  • The nails may become thick and can be difficult to trim.
  • It may curl down from the nail bed and cause deformation of nails
  • It will become brittle and weak, and it will stop growing. The nails can even be painful to touch.
  • It will give out a foul, pungent smell.

How do I prevent my nails from smelling?

Now that you are aware of the symptoms of fungal nail infection, causing smelly nails, you should take all the precautions necessary for stopping the growth of the bacteria and fungus.

Keep nails short

Short-trimmed nails have fewer chances for bacteria to stay in your nails. Keep them at a manageable length and clip them down after a shower when it gets too long as it’s much easier and softer to cut them at that time.

When any dirt goes under your nail, get a nail file to pick it out. Plus, to reduce infection chances, try not to share your nail clipper with anyone.

Wash and scrub your nails

When washing your hands, rub antibacterial soaps in and around your nails to avoid bacteria on the fingertips. After touching dirt, make sure to use a nail brush and scrub your nails with it to remove any potential chances of germs causing infection.

Wear gloves

Choose to wear gloves when doing any gardening activities, cleaning dishes, or touching any chemicals. But avoid wearing them for a long time, as then your hands will start to sweat, promoting the perfect condition for the growth of bacteria and germs.

Dry hands carefully

Fungus thrive in sweaty hands and feet. Hence, it will not only eliminate the chances of a fungal infection but will prevent your nails from turning too soft.

How to treat nail infection

Treating nail infections can be a long and extensive process. There are many topical medical treatments and home remedies available to get rid of the infections. However, they might not work if it is a severe case. In such a situation, you have to visit a doctor to surgically get the infected nail removed so that a new one can grow.

When choosing over-the-top treatments, pick one that focuses on treating nail infections. There are many antifungal creams available in pharmacies. Here, your best option is to get one with natural bacterial and fungal fighting ingredients. You may choose to use it twice a day, depending on the severity of your infection. The best time to use it would be before your bedtime.

For home-made remedies, essential oils such as lavender oil and tea tree oil have shown their effectiveness in curing nail infections. Overall, you must follow a nutrient-rich diet as well.

How to prevent dry, brittle nails?

Apart from foul odour, nail infections will also lead to dry, brittle nails. Here are some ways you can keep them strong and healthy.

Use hand cream

Every time you wash hands, it will leave your nails dry and dehydrated. Over time, it will lead to brittle and weak nails. This is why make sure to use a hand cream after washing your hands to keep them moisturized and hydrated.

Avoid using harsh nail treatments

When your nail is already in an unhealthy state, going for gel and acrylic nails can make it worse as the process uses harsh chemicals to your nails. Plus, avoid using acetone removers.

All these will remove the top protective layer of your nails, making it more vulnerable than it is already. Wait for the nails to improve their health before resuming with these treatments.

Use a nail hardener

They act as a top protective layer, and their main purpose is to strengthen the nail plate. Using it at least once a week will reduce the chances of a crack or split nails. You can either use a store-bought nail strengthener or combine different oils at home to help strengthen the nails naturally.

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