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Nail Problems Message Board

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I have a fungal infection of my right ring finger nail. It is thick, yellow and white where the nail layers have separated, flaky, smelly when layers flake off, and debris is present between the layers. Where the layers have not separated, the nail is a brownish color, all the way to the cuticle.

I have tried 2 of the "brush on" fungal treatments that one can get at the drugstore, both with different active ingredients, and niether worked. I have tried the vapor rub treatment, and that actually made it worse (much flakier, moved closer to the cuticle). I cannot afford Penlac or Lamasil tablets. Lamasil sounds scary too.

How I got it: A manicure, 3 years ago. I tried a new place, that a couple of my friends had used, and was sorry. The lady doing my nails was working quickly, and she sliced my cuticle. I bled like a stuck pig. When we got it cleaned up, I wasn't too interested in a manicure anymore, so I paid and left. A week later, my fingertip was swollen to the size of a cherry, and antibiotics weren't helping. The doctor diagnosed me with herpetic whitlow. I paid in cash, and had not been given a receipt. They denied I ever went there.

Anyways, when the swelling from the outbreak went down, my nail separated from the bed. The doctor trimmed it close to the cuticle, and I tried to keep my hands clean and dry. I ended up with a fungus anyways. I have had it ever since. The herpes outbreaks since then (about 4) do not make my finger any more than slightly itchy, so I don't think that my finger will swell again.

That was just a bit of background, so that you know exactly what I am referring to.

I bought a bottle of Tea Tree Oil a few days ago, and I have started using it. I have a few questions about it, and other treatments I have been reading about.

1) Tea tree oil smells pretty bad, at least to me. It has permeated my room. Any way to make it smell better? :)

2) How long before I start seeing results? I understand that I will have to use it until the nail is completely clear, but I don't want to spend months and months if it doesn't work.

3) The skin just below my cuticle is becoming dry. Not bad, but noticeable. Is lotion okay to use? or is a moisturizing soap better?

4) The apple cider vinegar treatment I have been reading about (I am even less anxious to smell [I]that[/I]), is that a better treatment? Is there any way I can try both at the same time, or is it better to not mix the treatments?

5) Are any of these treatments aggravating to herpetic whitlow?

Thanks for any advice or answers. And thanks for reading my long winded post.

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