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Causes, Symptoms and Experiences of Users of Spruce Products That Have Nail Fungus

Author: Matic Konc

used literature

published: 28/06/2019

updated: 15.05.2024

Nail fungus

Nail fungus or onychomycosis is a common occurrence, usually starting with a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. As the fungal infection spreads , the nail discolors, thickens, and the tip of the nail begins to disintegrate. Fungus on the nails, if left untreated, can also infect the skin of the foot, which is called athletic foot (Tinea Pedis).

Nail fungus sometimes has the connotation in humans as if it were something contagious and

Toenail fungus

consequence of poor hygiene. However, the truth is that as many as 10% of adults in the Western world become infected with nail fungus at least once in their lives. In adults over 60 years even 20% . Fungus on the toenails is much more common than on the hands. Nail fungus accounts for 50% of all nail diseases.


Depending on the onset and course of the infection, several types of nail fungus are distinguished. Even the most common pathogens vary by type. By far the most common type of infection is distal nail fungus. We distinguish the following types:


Interlayer fungi on the nails (interlayer onychomycosis) settle and grow between the layers of the nail. In this type of infection, the nail becomes milky white and stratified . It usually does not thicken and does not separate from the nail bed.

Interlayer fungus on the nails
Distal nail fungus


Distal nail fungus on the nails (distal subungular onychomycosis)  are the most common form of infection. They usually appear at the free edge of the nail on the underside of the nail and spread towards the base. The nail becomes thick, yellow and brittle . The nail eventually separates from the nail bed . These nail fungus are more common on the feet than on the hands and most commonly start on the big toe. This form is caused by dermatophytes .

Proximal nail fungus


Proximal white nail fungus on the nail (proximal white subungual onychomycosis) is a rare form of infection and occurs in people with a weakened immune system , such as patients with HIV. The fungus enters along the cuticle and spreads along the crescent. The nail turns whitish . The causative agents of this form are most often molds .

White surface fungus


White surface fungi  on the nails (white superficial onychomycosis) are also a rare form of infection that can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. It is caused by dermatophytes that grow on the top layer of the nail plate. They appear as pale, cloudy areas on the nail that slowly spread across the entire nail plate. The nail becomes soft and brittle.  This form of infection is more common in tropical climates.

Fungi caused by yeasts


Yeast fungus caused by yeast is quite rare. Yeasts of the genus Candida are better known as causative agents of vaginal fungus, but they are also normally present on the skin and intestines. The fungus can enter if the skin along the nail fold is damaged and inflamed . The nail thickens and separates from the nail bed if the inflammation is not eliminated in time. This type of infection is otherwise more common on the fingers. The most common causative agents are Candida parapsilosis and Candida guilliermondii , the better known Candida Albicans rarely.


Fungi caused by dermatophytes


In 68% of cases, nail fungi are caused by fungi from the group of dermatophytes. Of these, 91% are caused by the fungus Trichophyton Rubrum

Fungi caused by yeasts


Nail fungus is 29% caused by a yeast infection, most commonly Candida Parapsilosis (42%) and Candida Guiliermondii (20%), less commonly Candida Albicans (14%) and others.

Fungi caused by molds


Mold is a less common cause of nail fungus and occurs as a causative agent in 3% of all infections .




The unusual appearance of the nail, however, is not always necessarily associated with nail fungus. Other conditions can cause a similar appearance of the nail, so read which:

  • Dents and bumps on the nail are common and are usually normal. They often worsen during pregnancy . The indentation towards the middle of the nail occurs due to the biting of the nail or the cuticle next to the nail . For some people, such changes occur during chemotherapy treatment .

  • Brittle nails that eventually flake off can occur with prolonged exposure of the hands to water (for example, washing dishes without gloves ) can also resemble nail fungus.

  • White or yellow nails can be caused by onycholysis and are not necessarily nail fungus. Onycholysis is the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed. The nail becomes bright because there is air under it , instead of being fused with the nail bed. Onycholysis is usually the result of an injury, but it can be caused by constant and repetitive minor loads such as e.g. typing with long nails. Onycholysis passes on its own when a new nail grows.

  • A reddish or black nail is caused by a hematoma and occurs due to a blow to the nail. These are not fungi on the nails but clotted blood between the nail plate and the nail bed. A healthy nail will eventually outgrow the entire surface and the hematoma will disappear. If there is a black spot under the nail that is not the result of a blow, consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of melanoma with a biopsy. 

  • Green nail is also not a sign of nail fungus but can be a sign of being infected with a bacterium of the genus Pseudomonas. The infection is also accompanied by an unpleasant nail odor. The infection usually heals spontaneously with a nail clipper.

  • Holes and dimples on the nails can be caused by psoriasis and often occur in people with this disease. Many times the nail looks similar to nail fungus and many times a misdiagnosis occurs. 

  • Swelling and redness of the cuticle called paronychia or whitlow and s fairly common phenomenon. It is an infection of the nail fold and is most often caused by bacteria . Prolonged inflammation can also allow the entry of yeasts of the genus Candida and lead to a secondary infection, and in addition to the cuticle, fungi also form on the nails.

Nail conditions similar to fungus


Nail fungus occurs when fungi enter and remain in the nail through small damage to the nail tissue (abrasions, sores). Fungi need moisture to survive, so they stay in constantly humid places, such as shoes, socks, public shower surfaces, etc. Early detection of the infection is important, as the toenails grow very slowly and the smaller the infection at the start of treatment, the faster the nail will look healthy again. As soon as you recognize the fungus on your nails, start a battle with them. They show up  in the following steps:


the first stage of a fungal infection

At an early stage, the infection can only be seen as a change in the color or structure of the nail plate. Only a white or yellowish spot may appear under the nail. Because this change is only beautyful, many people overlook nail fungus at this stage and do not deal with the change. Many therefore simply cover the change with nail polish or avoid open shoes, which further accelerates the spread of the infection. This phase is best to start the battle with fungi as they are easily suppressed.


second stage fungal infection

In the next stage of infection, the nail thickens and can be distracting to wear shoes due to the pressure. Without treatment, the infection spreads from one point to the entire nail plate or even to adjacent nails. In this stage, the white or yellow spot that appeared in the first stage increases and over time, the entire nail turns yellow or white.


the third stage of fungal infection

In the last, advanced stage, due to the spread of the infection, the nail becomes unusually thick and extremely brittle , so the nail plate is partially or  completely separates from the nail bed. At this stage, the fungus on the nails also spreads to the skin around the nail and to the adjacent nails.


The treatment time for nail fungus depends on the area of the nail plate that is affected. Even when the fungus has already been eliminated, the nail still remains opaque and thickened, and the newly formed nail plate is healthy and transparent. It should be noted that toenails grow very slowly, about 1.5 mm per month . So if half of the nail plate is affected, it will take about three months , and if the whole nail is more than half a year to keep the nail plate healthy and transparent again.


  • Nail fungus in otherwise healthy people usually occurs with prolonged or repeated contact with moisture , where fungi like to multiply. These are, for example, public showers in gyms, swimming pools.

  • Visits to beauty salons where regular disinfection of pedicure accessories is not provided can also cause nail fungus to appear.

  • Although nail fungus is not highly contagious, it can be transmitted from person to person through constant contact with an infected person or the use of the same nail care products in the same household.

  • Athletes are more susceptible  due to wearing sneakers that are constantly damp. Also, many sports cause chronic strain on the nails , which weakens them and makes them more susceptible to nail fungus. If you have an athletic foot (tinea pedis) , the chance of a nail infection is much higher.

  • A weakened immune system due to HIV infection, taking steroid medications and immunosuppressants, or age also increases the chance of nail fungus.


Especially if any of your loved ones have nail fungus, it is advisable to take the following precautions:

  • Socks and shoes : change socks and shoes regularly. Change your socks every day. It is recommended that you allow one pair of shoes to dry when you sweat them and use another, dry pair of shoes in the meantime. Nail fungi need a moist environment to develop. You can also use a disinfectant in the shoe spray. Shoes should be comfortable , as constant pressure on the nails causes chronic nail damage and greater susceptibility to nail fungus. Don’t borrow your shoes and socks. 

  • Hygiene and care : regular nail trimming is very important. Trim them so that the free edge of the nail plate on the sides does not get caught in the cuticle. Do not touch the cuticle. Also, do not bite your nails and cuticles on your hands. If you are prone to heavy sweating of the feet or you often get fungus between your toes, use foot powder , which prevents sweating and disinfects the feet. Nail polish or artificial nails are a risk factor for nail fungus, as a layer of moisture can be retained underneath, which can contribute to the development of fungus. For nail care, choose salons that sterilize nail care products, as otherwise the infection can be transmitted from client to client.

  • When staying in environments where there is a higher risk of developing nail fungus (swimming pools, saunas, public toilets in campsites…), preventively lubricate your nails with Spruce 365 spruce cream .

  • Examine your nails and feet regularly and suppress them at an early stage . The sooner you start using Spruce 365 Spruce Cream when fungus appears, the shorter the time it takes to get your nails healthy again.


The study (Sipponen et al., 2013) involved 20 people who had nail fungus as a result of dermatophyte infection (mycological test with fungal culture). Following once-daily administration of the spruce resin preparation, the spruce resin preparation used was clinically effective in 14 subjects after a few months of study.
The same researchers also tested the antifungal effect of spruce ointment in vitro (in the laboratory) on fungal cultures. Research has shown that spruce resin has a strong antifungal effect against all tested dermatophytes of the genus Trichophyton , which most commonly cause nail fungus (in 68%). Spruce resin caused the collapse of the hypha and cell wall of the tested fungi.

Electron micrographs of hyphal and cell wall disintegration (Rautio et al. 2012)



Why do nail fungus form?

Nail fungus is caused by a fungal infection of the nail, mostly (more than two thirds) from the group of dermatophytes, in a third of cases from the genus Yeast, and very rarely also molds. ., pedicure with non-sterile accessories, exchange of sports shoes, etc. Especially in yeast infections (especially Candida Parapsilosis), the infection most often starts on the cuticle.

What helps for nail fungus and how to eliminate them?

As the resin has a strong antifungal effect, we recommend the use of Spruce 365 spruce cream. Spread the cream on the dried nail and cover with two layers of white sanitary tape (micropore). Replace once or twice a day. The newly grown nail will be transparent and healthy again, but it is necessary to be aware that toenails grow very slowly

How long do nail fungus last?

With proper use of the products, it is necessary to take into account that the toenails grow on average​ 1.5 mm per month, With this data you can calculate approximately how long the problem will last. Example: the entire nail plate of the middle toe (approx. 15 mm) is infected - the treatment will last for 10 months. Without treatment, nail fungus does not go away.

Do nail fungus hurt? 

Nail fungus does not hurt in the initial stages, but if the infection is allowed to progress to the whole nail and the cuticle, pain can also occur, so it is best to take nail fungus seriously and start treatment as early as possible. .


What do nail fungus look like?

Fungi on the nails cause the nail to become cloudy yellow over time, greenish or brownish to thicken sharply and eventually detach from the nail bed. The infection most often starts as a small yellowish stain under the tip of the nail.

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