The Ultimate Guide to Fungal Nail Treatment

Learn all about some of the best fungal nail treatments in this comprehensive guide, including how they work, how to use them for optimal results, and more.

Published: Monday 13 May 2024

man and woman stretching their legs outdoors

Fungal nail infections are estimated to affect approximately 1 in 12 people in the UK[1] at some point in time, ranging from athletes to trade workers, school teachers, and more.

Fortunately, fungal nail treatment can be easy and effective, provided the right products are used correctly, and appropriate steps are taken to prevent subsequent infections.

Continue reading to learn everything from the basics of fungal nail infections to how to get the most out of fungal nail treatments, how to prevent subsequent infections, and more.

Things to consider before undergoing fungal nail treatment

What causes fungal nail infections?

Fungal nail infections typically occur when the nails are exposed to warm and damp conditions repeatedly or for an extended period of time.

Wearing damp socks or shoes for several hours is one of the most common causes of fungal nail infections. This environment allows fungi that normally live harmlessly on the skin to multiply beyond normal levels, resulting in an infection.

What does a fungal nail infection look like?

Nails affected by a fungal infection can appear white, yellow, green, black, or darker than usual[2][3]. The affected nail may also become thicker and brittle, causing parts of the nail to crumble and flake.

Types of fungal nail infection

The most common type of fungal nail infection is 'lateral subungual onychomycosis', which is characterised by yellow discolouration on the edges of the nail that slowly spreads to the centre.

Other types include 'white superficial onychomycosis', which resembles white spots on the surface of the nail that can become powdery and flake away if left untreated, and 'proximal subungual onychomycosis', which starts as white spots on the centre of the nail bed and moves outward as the finger or toenail grows.

Common symptoms of fungal nail infections

The primary symptoms of fungal nail infections include discolouration starting from the edges of the nail and moving towards the centre, as well as nail thickening, distortion, and pain when placing pressure on the nail[3]


In some cases, parts of the nail may crumble and flake off, or in severe cases, the nail may detach entirely.

How does fungal nail treatment work

Fungal nail treatment involves the use of a medicated lacquer, which, when applied to the nail, disrupts the growth of certain fungi that cause fungal nail infections. Amorolfine, Loceryl, and Curanail are among the most popular antifungal nail lacquers on the market.


Amorolfine is a nail lacquer used to treat fungal nail infections and contains an active ingredient called amorolfine hydrochloride which acts on the cell membranes of the fungi that cause nail infections.

Fungi have cell membranes made up of various components, including 'sterols,' which maintain the integrity and functionality of the fungal cell membrane. Amorolfine hydrochloride disrupts the production of sterols, causing the fungi to stop growing and die as a result of their cell membranes breaking down. This helps clear up the fungal nail infection.


Loceryl is medically identical to Amorolfine, which means it works in exactly the same way (by disrupting the production of key components within the fungi that cause fungal nail infections). However, Loceryl is more expensive than Amorolfine because it is a branded medication.

Loceryl is also medically identical to Curanail, with the only difference between these fungal nail treatments being the bottle size. Loceryl and Curanail are both manufactured by dermatology specialists Galderma, however, the 5 ml bottle size is sold under the Loceryl brand name, and the 3 ml bottle size is sold under the Curanail brand name.


As we touched on in the previous section, Curanail is the 3 ml bottle variant of Amorolfine from manufacturers Galderma. Aside from this, it is identical to Loceryl and Amorolfine, in that all three treatments contain the active ingredient amorolfine chloride.

How to use fungal nail treatments for optimal results

The fungal nail treatments we touched on earlier (Amorolfine, Loceryl, and Curanail) work best if the following steps are followed in order:

  • Use the nail file provided with the fungal nail treatment to file down the affected nail gently.
  • Clean the surface of the nail with one of the swabs provided with the fungal nail treatment, making sure to wipe the edges of the nail.
  • Open the antifungal nail lacquer bottle and dip one of the applicators inside, ensuring that you do not wipe any of the lacquer off on the edge of the bottle.
  • Apply the lacquer evenly over the surface of the affected nail and allow it to dry completely. This takes approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • The applicator provided with Amorolfine, Loceryl, and Curanail is reusable, so clean it thoroughly using the swab you used to clean the affected nail, then store it inside the packaging for later use. Please note that the applicator provided with other fungal nail treatments may not be reusable, which is why it is recommended to always check the patient information leaflet that comes with the medication before use.
  • Close the nail lacquer bottle tightly, and dispose of the swab you used to clean the affected nail and the reusable applicator.

Always follow the instructions provided in the patient information leaflet before using any fungal nail treatment.

How to prevent future infections after undergoing fungal nail treatment

Keep your feet clean and dry

Dermatophytes (the fungi that typically cause fungal nail infections) grow on dead skin tissue and multiply in moist environments because they need water to dissolve nutrients, which they subsequently absorb through their cell walls to stay alive.

These mechanisms exemplify why fungal nail infections affect the feet. Wearing socks throughout the day on feet that may shed skin (especially around the toes) can create a moist environment due to factors such as the lack of ventilation and the accumulation of sweat on and around the toes.

This can also occur from wearing damp shoes, such as after walking through the rain, that have not dried properly. In both instances, there is an increased risk of the nails becoming infected.

Therefore, if you have worn socks for an extended period, such as a full day, it is recommended to change out of them and wash and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, to prevent fungal nail infections. It can also be helpful to carry an extra pair of socks to change into after washing and drying your feet, especially if you experience recurring fungal nail infections.

It is also advisable to remove damp shoes as soon as possible and allow them to dry completely before wearing them again, to prevent fungal nail infections.

Wear socks and shoes made from breathable materials

Wearing cotton socks and shoes made from canvas or leather can help keep the feet ventilated because of the moisture-wicking properties of these materials. This can prevent instances of fungus overgrowth that cause fungal nail infections.

Trim nails properly

It is advisable to trim the nails by cutting straight across them, as opposed to trimming the edges. This technique can prevent the corners of the nails from growing into the skin, which can lead to ingrown nails that can subsequently damage the skin and exacerbate the symptoms of fungal nail infections.

Answers to common questions about fungal nail treatment

What is the best fungal nail treatment?

Amorolfine hydrochloride (the active ingredient in Amorolfine, Loceryl, and Curanail nail lacquer) is considered one of the best fungal nail treatment products on the market. Numerous clinical studies[4][5] support its effectiveness, particularly for mild to moderate fungal nail infections.

As we touched on earlier, amorolfine hydrochloride disrupts the synthesis of fungal cell membranes, causing the cell walls of the fungi to break down. This leads to the death of the fungi that can cause nail infections.

What is the best fungal nail treatment?

The most immediate way to tell if fungal nail treatment is working is by checking to see whether nail discolouration has reversed. The yellow, white, black or green tinge on the nail should slowly fade away, revealing a healthy and normal nail colour underneath.

Additional signs of successful fungal nail treatment include a reduction in nail thickening, which results from the regrowth of healthy nail tissue.

How long does a fungal nail infection last after treatment?

Fungal nail infections typically clear within 6 to 12 months of consistently applying fungal nail treatments that contain amorolfine hydrochloride (such as Amorolfine, Loceryl, or Curanail).

The exact duration depends on the severity and location of the affected nail; fungal fingernail infections usually take less time to clear after applying amorolfine hydrochloride (approximately 6 months), while toenail infections can take up to 12 months to clear after treatment.

It is worth noting that although topical fungal nail treatments can help clear infections within a few months, complete nail regrowth and healing may take up to a year or more in severe cases, such as if part or all of the nail has fallen off.

How long does it take for a fungal nail infection to go away on its own?

Fungal nail infections do not resolve on their own and may worsen if left untreated. This is why we strongly recommend using fungal nail treatments to clear fungal nail infections as soon as possible.

Can I use nail polish when using fungal nail treatment?

Yes, although it is not recommended. If you intend to apply nail polish on an infected nail, wait at least 15 minutes after applying an antifungal nail lacquer to give the treatment time to take effect on the nail.

Can I treat a fungal nail infection with tea tree oil?

There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that tea tree oil can effectively treat fungal nail infections. It is recommended to use fungal nail treatments that are clinically proven to clear infections, such as Amorolfine, Loceryl, or Curanail.

Can I treat a fungal nail infection with hydrogen peroxide?

It is not recommended to treat fungal nail infections with hydrogen peroxide as it cannot penetrate the affected nail as deeply as fungal nail treatments such as Amorolfine.

Where can I buy fungal nail treatment in the UK?

You can buy fungal nail treatments from Pharmica for quick and discreet delivery across the UK. We provide treatments sourced from MHRA-approved suppliers and offer a broad range of aftercare services for every customer and patient, including comprehensive guides published on the Pharmica Health Hub, the ability to live chat with our pharmacy team online, and more.

With a 4.9/5 rating from more than 189,000 reviews and over 1.25 million customers served, Pharmica is one of the UK's most trusted online pharmacies.

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  1. Patient (2023). Fungal nail infection (Tinea unguium). Available at: [Accessed: 13 May 2024].
  2. NHS (n.d.). Fungal nail infection. Available at: [Accessed: 13 May 2024].
  3. NHS Inform (n.d.). Fungal nail infection. Available at: [Accessed: 13 May 2024].
  4. Chandra et al. (2019). A Randomized, Double-blind Study of Amorolfine 5% Nail Lacquer with Oral Fluconazole Compared with Oral Fluconazole Alone in the Treatment of Fingernail Onychomycosis. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 64(4), pp. 253-260. doi:
  5. Tabara et al. (2015). Amorolfine vs. ciclopirox – lacquers for the treatment of onychomycosis. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 32(1), pp. 40-45. doi:
Yasmin Alame

Written by: Yasmin Alame

Responsible Pharmacist・GPHC Number 2235607

After completing her five-year master’s degree in pharmacy at the University of Milan in 2020, Yasmin moved to England where she worked in a community pharmacy as well as the pharmaceutical industry. As a Pharmacist at Pharmica, Yasmin utilises her experience and clinical knowledge to ensure patient safety and deliver a seamless online pharmacy experience.

Carolina Goncalves

Medically Reviewed by: Carolina Goncalves

Superintendent Pharmacist・GPHC Number 2088658

Carolina Goncalves is the Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmica, where she ensures patients receive exceptional healthcare and support, as part of a seamless online pharmacy service.

With a comprehensive professional background spanning more than 13 years, Carolina has extensive experience supporting Men’s and Women’s health. Carolina is responsible for providing expert treatment advice to thousands of patients in areas such as Sexual Health, Erectile Dysfunction, Hair Loss, Weight Loss and Asthma.

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Fungal Infections: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Fungal Infections: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments