Can I Wear Nail Polish if I Have Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is a common but pesky infection that can affect toenails. If you have a special occasion on your calendar you might be wondering if you can cover up unsightly toenails with nail polish.

We’ll give you the low-down on if you can use nail polish with toenail fungus, as well as how to spot a fungal infection. 

We also have you covered on other available nail treatment options, including antifungal nail polish and ORLY Fungus MD antifungal serum.

What This Article Covers:

Can You Wear Nail Polish With Toenail Fungus?

Non-Medicated Nail Polish

Covering up infected toenails with regular nail polish might look great, but it can make infections worse.

Fungus grows in dark and moist environments. Nail polish gives fungus an environment to thrive in.

Non-medicated nail polish can be applied over antifungal nail polish. But it is best to avoid non-medicated nail polish entirely when you want your fungal infection to clear up. Non-medicated nail polish will make the antifungal treatment penetrate the nails slower.

If you want to use non-medicated nail polish you should let your toenails breathe and remove the nail polish as soon as possible. 

Can Toenail Fungus Spread Through Non-Medicated Nail Polish?

can fungus live in nail polish

Fungus will be able to grow and stay alive in a bottle of nail polish. If you paint infected nails with non-medicated nail polish you can spread the infection.

This happens when you paint a healthy nail after painting an infected nail with the same brush.

What is Healthy Nail Polish for Your Nails that is Wearable with Toenail Fungus?

Orly Breathable Treatment + Color

If you are looking for the best nail polish for growth and strength, look no further than Orly Breathable Treatment + Color.

This breathable nail polish is the best nail polish for brittle nails. The formula contains Argan Oil, Pro-Vitamin B5, and Vitamin C to make your nails healthier.

Orly Gel Nail Color

Does gel polish make nails stronger? No, usually gel manicures can be harsh on your nails. You need to take breaks between manicures.

This is where Orly Gel Color stands out from the crowd. 

It is infused with antioxidants, vitamin A and E, and pro-vitamin B5 to keep nails protected and strong.

Antifungal Nail Polish

You can wear nail polish if you wear antifungal nail polish. Antifungal nail polish is medicated and treats fungal infections.

Antifungal nail polish can be clear or colored and should be applied like regular nail polish to the nail and surrounding skin.

You can look good and treat fungi at the same time. You can apply non-medicated nail polish over the medicated polish.

What is the healthiest manicure for your nails? With an active fungal infection, you might want to avoid regular nail polish since it will slow down and reduce the effects of the antifungal treatment.

How to Apply Antifungal Nail Polish

Medicated nail polish can be applied daily or a few times a week for it to be effective.

Remove the old layer of antifungal nail polish with an alcohol swab before re-applying. Take a warm shower or soak your feet in warm water. 

File and trim your toenails to remove as many damaged and infected parts as possible. Apply nail polish to clean and dry nails.

Apply the treatment to the nails, surrounding skin, and underside of the nail. Let it dry for at least 30 seconds.

Signs of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a common fungal infection of the skin and nails called mycosis. Signs of infection include changes in the shape, color, or thickness of nails.

Infections typically start with yellow or white discoloration under the tip of the toenails. Infected toenails may develop yellowish or brownish discoloration and become thicker.

Infected nails may also become brittle and weak. Parts of the infected toenail can detach from the nail bed.

Severe fungal infections in toenails may be painful or have a foul smell, but this is not always the case.  

Orly Fungus MD Antifungal Serum

can nail polish cause fungus

Orly Fungus MD is an antifungal serum with the active ingredient tolnaftate to treat and prevent fungal infections.

This serum effectively treats nail and toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It can be applied twice daily until the fungal infection is cured, or as prescribed by a doctor.

The dropper cap was designed for hygienic application. The serum should be applied to the entire infected area: the nails, surrounding skin, and underside of the nails. Apply it between your toes if necessary.

Other Orly Products for Nail Health

Orly Breathable Color + Treatment 

Not only is the breathable formula infused with ingredients to promote nail health, it is also cruelty-free and non-toxic. 

Orly Breathable is the best vegan nail polish that is also affordable. 

Orly Gel Nail Color

Gel manicures can be harsh on your nails. Even the best peel off nail polish, acrylics, or gel can damage your nails. 

If you have damaged nails from gel polish, and you still want a perfect manicure, Orly Gel is for you.


Unsightly toenails from a fungal infection are a pesky problem, but it’s not the end of the world. While you should mostly avoid non-medicated nail polish, you can use antifungal nail polish to have a good-looking pedicure that treats fungal infections.

Other treatments for toenail fungus include oral medication, topical treatments, and home remedies.

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