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Fungus That Infects Nails

  • December 21, 2016

    A species of fungus that infects nails is called a dermatophyte-literally meaning a "skin plant." The reference to skin results from the fact that the same types of fungi can also invade skin, deriving their nutrients from the Fungus Key Pro same protein that is abundant in nails: keratin. Keratin is a hard substance that is found in hair, the outer layers of skin, toe- and fingernails, animal horns, hoofs and claws. Dermatophytes can grow in all of these tissues and they are amongst the very few fungi that can.

    Known dermatophyte facts tell us that even though these fungi often become established on nonliving materials such as nails and dead skin cells, they usually cannot spread further because the immune system of a live animal keeps them at bay. (The vast majority of fungi live on dead organic material such as leaves, decomposing bodies of animals, animal excrement etc. and help to break it down). Nails and hair, and even the outermost layers of our skin lack a blood supply and other body fluids that carry immune cells and molecules, but wherever such protective mechanisms are active, the fungus that affects nails can't go. In certain rare instances, a dermatophyte may set up an infection in living tissue.