Do I Have Toenail Fungus?

Published: February 02, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Do I have toenail fungus? Both my big toes are peeling severely, become thicker, but aren't yellow. I have tried to put Argan oil on them every night for about a month but they are still in the same shape? What can I do to fix them and long will it take?
Signed: Do I Have Toenail Fungus?

Dear Do I Have Toenail Fungus?,

The Mayo Clinic defines nail fungus as the following:

Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails but usually not all of them.

If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help. But even if treatment is successful, nail fungus often comes back.

Symptoms can include nails that are:

  • Thickened

  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged

  • Distorted in shape

  • Dull, with no shine

  • A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail

Infected nails also may separate from the nail bed, a condition called onycholysis (on-ih-KOL-ih-sis). You may feel pain in your toes or fingertips and detect a slightly foul odor.


Since you are describing symptoms related to the skin on your toes as opposed to problems with your nails, it is possible you have Athlete’s foot, Eczema or some other medical condition that is causing the severe peeling. Since TeenHealthFX cannot make any definitive diagnoses over the internet in terms of what is going on with your toes, and because you are unsure of what you have, then we recommend you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or an adolescent medicine specialist. Your doctor will be able to examine the area, make a proper diagnosis and then recommend the most effective treatment based on that diagnosis.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

For more information, visit the Mayo Clinic articles on Nail fungus and Athlete’s foot.

Signed: TeenHealthFX