What Is A Toenail Fungus?
A toenail fungus is an infection that occurs in and around your nails and it is known as Onychomycosis. The infection can enter the body through cuts in the skin or cracks on the nail. It can be seen as a yellow or white spot under the nail. It makes your toenail thicker; the nail colour can change and it can also be painful. Because the area around toes can be warm and moist due to shoes, fungus finds its way to thrive there. As the infection deepens, there will be discolouration in nails, they will become thick and may also crumble off.
Toenail Fungus : Risk Factors and Symptoms
A toenail infection is easy to see, but we may not spot it at one glance as it grows over time. Infected nails are thicker, can be oddly shaped and with time it can separate the nail from its bed. It also appears as a spot under your nail. They can be painful and also slightly foul smelling.
Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus infection is common among humans due to the conducive conditions for fungus to thrive on. Fungal infection can be found in anyone but is more common in the aged population. With age, the nails crack and become an entry point for the fungus. Women, diabetics and people with athlete’s foot are also more susceptible to this infection. There are certain home remedies that can be followed to heal the fungus.
Read more on Bruised Toenail – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
1. Orange Oil or Tea Tree Oil
Orange oil is good for treating fungus, it is photosensitive so do not go out on sun after use. Tea tree oil is known for its fungicidal, anti-bacterial and disinfectant properties and it is a natural antiseptic. Dilute orange oil/ tea tree oil with carrier oil like olive oil if you have sensitive skin.
- Mix half teaspoon of orange oil, one teaspoon of tea tree oil (optional) and ½ tsp of olive oil or grapeseed oil.
- Dip a cotton ball and press it gently on the affected nail, so that the liquid comes out. Let this air dry.
- You can also add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil in sufficient water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.
- Both treatments must be done twice a day for effective results.
Alternatively, add small amount of tea tree oil with coconut oil or olive oil. Apply this mixture on the area which is affected because of the fungus. Wait for 15 min and get it dry. Scrub it with the toothpaste and wash properly. Do at least 3 to 4 times per day until you get satisfactory result.
2. Vicks Vaporub
- Vicks vaporub is a topical ointment, usually used for a cough and cold. The ingredients of this ointment include eucalyptus oil, menthol and camphor that can suppress and heal the infected area. Camphor and menthol are topical anesthetics and Vicks Vaporub has 4.8% camphor, 2.6% menthol and 1.2% eucalyptus oil. Thymol along with the active ingredients of Vicks Vaporub inhibits the growth of fungus
- For best results apply at least once daily on the affected area.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda can prevent fungus from growing and spreading as it is fungistatic and also due to its alkaline nature. Fungus usually grows in an acidic environment. Vinegar is acidic but its acidity is very low, so it helps in killing fungus.
- Mix one cup of vinegar in half bucket of water and soak your feet for 15 minutes.
- Then add 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture and soak again for 15 minutes and pat dry.
- Do this twice a day.
Alternatively follow the below method, Things to be needed
- Half cup of baking soda
- hydrogen peroxide in small amount
- half cup of Epsom salt
- Four full cups of hot water
- Small amount of white vinegar
How To Make
Add the entire above components properly in a bowl
- Soak the foot in this solution for at least 10 minutes
- Then it is best to wash the area with water and dry the foot carefully
- Repeat the same process daily for few weeks.
Make use of white vinegar
White vinegar is considered as best product to solve the nails fungus issues and it is easily available in home. You can follow the steps below to use white vinegar for toenail fungus.
- Add small amount of white vinegar in warm water
- Soak the foot in this solution for at least 10 minutes
- After 10 min it is best to wash the area with water and dry the foot carefully
- Repeat this twice a day until the nail fungus is gone
4. Oregano Oil and Ozonized Oils
Oregano oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, as it contains thymol. To treat the fungus, dip cotton in the oil and apply on the infected area. Do this twice a day. Do not use oregano oil and tea tree oil together as it may cause irritation and allergic reaction.
- Olive and sunflower oils are known as ozonized oils, as they were injected with ozone gas. Fungal exposure to ozone can reduce the infection. Apply these oils to the toenail twice a day.
Alternatively, follow the below process
- Simply mix 2 drops of oregano oil with olive oil. Use the mixture on the nail fungus area
- Keep it for the 30 minutes. Then it is best to clean the covered area with water and dry the foot carefully
- Repeat this twice a day until you get rid off nail fungus
5. Coconut Oil
- Medium fatty acids are known to disintegrate the fungus membrane and it has natural healing properties. It also keeps your feet moisturized and supple. Coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids that can clear out the fungus.
- Apply extra virgin coconut oil on the affected area and repeat 2-3 times in a day to effectively treat toe nail fungus.
6. Olive Leaf Extract
Oleuropein, found in olive leaves is believed to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It improves blood circulation, detoxifies your body.
- Apply olive leaf salve on the affected area daily
- Another alternative is to take 1-3 olive leaf capsules with meals twice a day. Drink plenty of water during this treatment
7. Mouthwash or Listerine
- Listerine is popularly known as an antibacterial and used on pimples too. Its ingredients of menthol, eucalyptus and thymol are anti-fungal and antibacterial and the alcohol act as antiseptic.
- Add Listerine to water in a small tub. You can also use equal proportions of Listerine and white vinegar. Soak your feet in Listerine for 30 minutes and scrub gently for effective results. You can do it once or twice in a day.
Cornmeal is a natural fungi fighter and can treat a fungal infection effectively. Take an inch layer of cornmeal and add 10 cups of water to it in a bowl. There should be 1 inch of water above the cornmeal layer and do not mix. Let the cornmeal sit in it for an hour until it looks mush and then add 1 more inch of water on top of it. Soak your feet for half an hour, rinse and pat dry. Repeat twice a day till you get better result.
9. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil has antiseptic properties and helps in the prevention of irritated skin.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the lavender oil on the affected area and leave on for 20 minutes before washing off
- Repeat multiple times in a day
- Alternatively mix 5 drops each of lavender and tea tree oil. Apply on effected part by using cotton ball, leave for 10 min. Rinse and dry, do it two to three times a day.
Garlic has two compounds – allicin and ajoene that have antifungal properties.
- Mix crushed garlic or garlic oil with white vinegar and apply on the infected nail. Cover it with a bandage and leave on for a few hours. Repeat daily till you get rid off toe nail fungus.
- Some people also suggest that ingesting 1-2 garlic cloves daily may also help.
Stop From Coming Back In Future
A severe nail fungus can be painful and may lead to other infections. However, most toenail infections can happen to anybody and can be managed with simple remedies and lifestyle changes. Certain acts or habits can prevent this infection from making an appearance:
- Wear shoes made of breathable materials so that sweat isn’t trapped in there.
- Wash your feet properly and dry them before putting on closed shoes.
- Wash your socks properly and dip them in disinfectant.
- Beware when you are in areas where infection can easily spread like pool areas, gyms or public showers. Going to these areas barefoot is an invitation for a fungal infection.
- Trim and maintain your nails without cutting the skin or damaging the nail.
- Do not wear tight shoes or share footwear with others.
- Sprinkle your shoes with antifungal powder and dry them out thoroughly if you sweat too much.
More than half the nail infections are caused by toenail fungus. Nail fungus can be better prevented than treated and if it is caught early then simple medication can cure this. Following healthy hygienic habits can help in preventing toenail fungus. Remember to not share nail clippers or shoes with others, as it can transfer the infection to you.