Can You Get Toenail Fungus from Nail Polish?

toenail fungus from nail polish

So, you decided to visit a nail salon. You sit back, relax, choose a color, and suddenly you ask yourself – “how many people has this nail polish been used on before me?” This is a good question, as many fungal infections (like ringworm) can be spread through indirect contact – by sharing razors, hats, and towels. But, can you get toenail fungus from nail polish?

Nail Polish Chemicals

By taking just one sniff of nail polish, you can tell that it’s far from a mild chemical. Its strong, stinging smell tells you all you need to know about its chemical contents – it’s filled with fairly harsh substances that make it very unlikely for the fungus to survive. Some of these chemicals include isopropyl alcohol, butyl acetate, and formaldehyde.

If the nail polish you’re using contains any of these substances (and chances are that it does), the fungus is highly unlikely to grow in this environment. These chemicals are very harsh to all organisms, and formaldehyde is so harsh that it has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Should You Use Nail Polish During an Infection?

But, just because it won’t spread your infection to other people, doesn’t mean you should be free to use nail polish on the infected nail. Other tools that are often used in nail salons to trim and shape the nails can spread the infection.

Furthermore, the nail polish may worsen your infection by trapping the water in the nail and providing the fungus with an environment they can thrive in.

Final Word

While it’s highly unlikely you’ll get toenail fungus from nail polish, you should still avoid going to the nail salon if you have a problem with these infections. The nail polish itself won’t help spread the bacteria, but the tools certainly can.