Why Do My Nails Smell? [The Main Causes and Solutions]

As a Certified Nail Technician and Manicurist, I can speak from a lot of experience on this issue. Of course, I have seen a lot of clients and a lot of nails in my time. Sometimes I can see it, other times I suspect it, and then there are those who report it; asking for tips and recommendations to reduce it.

I’m talking about nails that smell.

Now there are several reasons for how and why this happens and as to why your nails are not at their best. If things get so bad, they may even show signs of discoloration, they may become brittle and weak, and they may snap, break, chip or curve.

Through my study, qualifications and out of personal curiosity, I’ve done plenty of research on the subject, so I’d like to share that with you today.

So, why do nails smell?  99% of the time this is due to bacteria and germs. This then causes a breeding ground for Fungus to grow and thrive. If you are looking to reduce and eliminate foul-smelling nails, it is therefore essential that you undertake proper hygiene habits, wash and clean around and under your nails and eliminate any signs of fungus with a potent anti-bacterial and fungus formulation, like Funginix

The Main Reason Your Nails Smell

The short answer is that your nails are infested with Bacteria, Germs and potentially Fungus.

It all stems from this…

Nails that smell are not in their optimal or health-promoting environment.

There is something that you are doing, or that has happened, which is causing your nails to be susceptible to collecting bacteria and germs.

Believe it or not, aside from your mouth, your fingernails are the “dirtiest” area of your body.

When you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense.

You are constantly using your hands throughout the day; frequently touching new things.

Most of the time, these very things are carrying bacteria and germs. Touching door handles, cleaning the dishes – just think about how many of your daily activities contribute. This all unfortunately, contributes to the bacteria and germs that collect on, and underneath, your nails.

Its life; its just one of those things. Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid it.

Here are just some of the things that your nails are often collecting, mostly out of your control: dead skin cells, food residue, actual dirt, oils from your skin, and any chemicals that you come into contact with.

Beyond this, nails that smell are usually the result of poor hygiene habits regarding their washing, cleaning and ongoing maintenance.

If you like to exercise or wear gloves for long periods of time, your nails can be inundated with sweat. Moreover, the warm conditions can promote the growth and proliferation of any bacteria and germs in or underneath the nails.

Its no surprise that exposure and poor hygiene habits leave promote the optimal conditions for bacteria, and fungus (if not managed) to develop.

There is a reason why Surgeons and Dentists frequently wash their hands.

Despite the fact that they are legally required to wear gloves, they still spend a large part of their day washing and scrubbing their nail beds, underneath their nails, and even their cuticles. They know that if they do not do this, that an infection can take hold, and a fungus can develop.

Is It Fungal?

Perhaps the standout symptom of Fungus in, and around the nails, is through discoloration.

These are the classic colors and signs of Yeast and Mold:

The most common is a yellow tint, but it can appear as white or progress to an orange or brown. Fungus appears in different colors depending on the stage and severity of the infection. In the earlier stages Fungus can be white in color and therefore often goes unnoticed.

Fungus can appear at the root of the nail bed, around the cuticle or even on the tips of the nail.

A tell-sale sign that your nails are carrying a fungus, outside of a pungent smell, is that your nails are weak, brittle, unable to grow, painful and may even have ridges. Overtime the nail plate can completely destruct.

If you identify with anyone of the above, its always recommended that you pick up a potent anti-fungal treatment. Even if you do not have a Fungal infection, at the worst you kill off any lingering bacteria.

(Read More: Best Over The Counter Nail Fungus Treatment – Results in 12 Days!)

How To Reduce/Eliminate the Smell

As stated above, if your nails are smelling it is most likely Fungal. The best approach for this is to apply an appropriate treatment. Funginix is one of the most widely used and recommended formulas.

A lot of my clients have had a lot of success with it and swear by it for eliminating hard to eliminate fungus.

Regarding reducing and eliminating your bacteria burden and load in general, and to prevent a smell from coming back, here are just some of the things you can do:

  • Keep a nail brush by your soap and scrub your nails, and underneath them, frequently throughout the day. A great time is to apply at night before bed.
  • Keep nails trimmed short, and use a Nail File to pick out any dirt that collects under your nails,
  • Wear gloves when and wear possible (particularly when gardening or cleaning dishes or where you come into contact with dirt and/or chemicals)
  • Shower regularly, especially after exercise, at least once a day at a minimum. Be sure to scrub your nails during this time.
  • Use a Cuticle Oil and/or Cuticle Cream to restore your nails back to their natural healthy state.

Final Words

Having nails that smell can feel embarrassing and make you feel down about yourself – particularly if they are showing signs of discoloration. It can also lead to long-term complications with the growth and strength of your nails.

If you suspect that you have a Fungal Infection, then the best and first thing you should do is to purchase a potent anti-fungal treatment and apply it regularly.

Depending on the severity on the fungus you may need to apply twice a day, but for the most part one a day before bed is enough to eliminate it. If you get a strong treatment, you can expect to see signs of improvement in as little as 7 days.

Some of the best formulations are available on Amazon. You want to look for one that is packed with natural bacteria and fungal-fighting ingredients. It needs to be strong enough to penetrate the root of the nail and eliminate the fungus for good.

If however, you do not suspect it to be a fungus, then this is what you should. If your nails are long then if you can, you should clip them to a shorter length. A shorter nail means less bacteria can build up.

Otherwise, you can get a brush and a bar of soap. Apply the soap to the brush and scrub all around your nail and underneath the tips. Removing any dirt in the process.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

The best way to eliminate the smell for good is to ensure that you are doing all you can to prevent bacteria from building in the first place.

Wearing gloves, applying award winning Cuticle Oil and/or Cuticle Cream, and keeping high hygiene standards will be your first line of defense to stop your nails from smelling in the future.

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