How To Treat Toenail Fungus With Home Remedies
Do you suffer from toenail fungus but don’t want to deal with prescription drugs that put your kidneys at risk or foot the bill for laser treatment for toenail fungus? Luckily there are many home remedies for toenail fungus. Old familiars such as tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar can help fight off pesky nail fungus. Take comfort in the fact that there are cures readily available for purchase and that you are not alone in your suffering.
Toenail fungus, also known as Onychomycosis, is a condition that afflicts tens of millions of people worldwide. Many do not know how to cope with this affliction but there are many natural home remedies that can be used to treat and cure toenail fungus. Not only does nail fungus present a physical health risk but also a mental and emotional one, as many people form a negative opinion of their bodies while trying to cope with their footcare.
Before we get to the remedies, let’s take a look at the symptoms of toenail fungus so that you can identify the problems.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
While advanced cases of toenail fungus are easy to spot, the symptoms
form slowly. The most prevalent infections start from the outer edge of
the nail, near the cuticle, and work their way towards the inner part
of the toenail. The fungal infections appear as yellow discolorations
and are most commonly yellow or brown in color; in its advanced stages
the toenail may become black.
The skin near the discoloration may also become itchy, inflamed or flaky. As the infection grows towards the inner part of the nail, the texture of the nail itself begins to change. Nails may thicken and become brittle. In some cases, the nail becomes overgrown and becomes difficult to cut using regular nail clippers; in extreme cases the nail falls off altogether.
those infected may not feel pain or discomfort in the initial stages, as
the infection spreads, the thickness of the nail may cause pain that
makes it difficult or uncomfortable to walk in even the loosest fitting
The bad news is, that most of the time these symptoms only get worse with time if left untreated so it is very important to identify the symptoms of toenail fungus at an early stage to prevent its spreading.
Causes of Toenail Fungus
Now that you know the enemy, you may be asking yourself, “What are
the causes of toenail fungus?” Truthfully, this question is difficult to
answer. Fungi are present everywhere in our daily life so it’s hard to
ascertain where the infection originated. One thing is certain; fungus
likes to live in warm and moist places such as public shower stalls, gym
lockers, and swimming pools.
Any sporting activity (including walking) that places a lot of stress on the feet can lead to a ruptured nail bed, which allows the built up moisture in socks and shoes to permeate cracks in the nails. In addition, poor fitting shoes, wet shoes or dirty socks allow a perfect breeding ground for foot fungus.
Nail fungus can also be spread through the sharing of linen, such as bath towels. Basically, any place or situation where your feet may come in contact with a wet surface is a potential hazard. People with occupations that require long periods of exposure to wet conditions are especially at risk.
Now that I've completely scared you, let me make your mind somewhat more at ease and tell you that genetics and your current medical condition play a large role in suppressing infections. Weakened immune systems, like those caused by AIDS or HIV, are obviously not as good at resisting infections. Smoking and other medical conditions that cause poor circulation also may increase your risks.
If your nails become infected, don't necessarily think that it is a sign of a larger malady. Some people are just born with weaker immune systems than others. A simple change in diet can help those with weaker immune systems become stronger.
There's More Than One Home Remedy For Toenail Fungus
So now on to the nitty gritty and how to treat toenail fungus with homeopathic home remedies. All of the following are topical solutions and should be applied directly on the infected nail and the surrounding area. To be safe, perform a skin patch test by applying a small amount of the topical substance you choose to a small area of the skin, near the infected area to see if it causes irritation.
Just remember this is a slow process so do not be deterred by slow results, this is normal. In the end patience and perseverance will be required, as the entire process could take up to a year, depending on the severity of your infection(s).
Toenail Fungus Photos: chefranden
Apple Cider Vinegar
Perhaps the most popular home remedy for toenail fungus, apple cider vinegar is known as a classic folk remedy that may be able to cure a variety of ailments; acne, arthritis, allergies, and sinus infections, just to name a few. The general thought is that apple cider vinegar is acidic and fungi will not thrive in an acidic environment. Distilled vinegar is recommended but the regular type can be used too and isn't as expensive.
just apply the vinegar to gauze or cotton balls and apply to the
infected nail and the surrounding regions on the skin, at least two
times a day. It is recommended that you apply after showering in the
morning and before going to bed at night. Some wrap the afflicted toe
in gauze, soaked in apple cider vinegar, and wear it overnight. Others
soak their feet in a shallow pan filled with the vinegar for 15-20
minutes (this method would obviously be less economical).
There are also people who have reported that ingesting a couple of tablespoons apple cider vinegar with juice (it tastes horrible so you will want to mask the flavor) or other beverage daily, in addition to topical treatment, can help to accelerate the process. No matter which process you use, you will generally start to see results in a few days. However, remember that it can take up to a year for a nail on your big toe to fully grow back, fungi free.
Commonly used and ingested as an aid for constipation, or for soaking minor sprains and bruises, Epsom salt is also known as a proven treatment for toenail fungus by many. In a tub, simply mix the salt with lukewarm water and soak the infected feet for 15 or 20 minutes. The Epsom salt will aid in keeping the toenails dry and moisture free. After soaking, remember to completely dry the feet; a hairdryer might be useful for this. Continue treatment for 2-3 weeks.
Tea Tree Oil | Lavender Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil and exhibits a dull golden color. As you can tell by its name, it is derived from the Narrow-leave Tea Tree which is indigenous to New South Wales, Australia. Among users of home remedies, it is known to have anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, analgesic, and anti-parasitical properties. This is why you will see tea tree oil included in many natural hygiene products at your local health food store. It is recommended that you dilute or mix the oil with another essential oil, as it is known to cause irritation when used at full strength.
The most common oil to mix with tea tree oil, for nail fungus treatment, is lavender oil. This is due to lavender oil’s reputation as an antiseptic and pain reliever. I am sure there are other essential oils or elixirs that can be mixed with tea tree oil but I have not seen enough information to comment on them.
As with the apple cider vinegar, apply to the infected nail and surrounding area with gauze or cotton swab at least two times daily. Its recommended that you perform a patch test on your skin before you begin treatment.
Very important safety notes:
*children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women should not use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed; do not drink tea tree oil.
*diabetics, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women should not use lavender oil.
How to Prevent Toenail Fungus with Tea Tree Oil
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Creams
Some recommend applying an AHA cream onto the infected area while the toenails are undergoing treatment. This can be done at night and helps to remove dry and flakey skin, where fungus likes to grow.
Oregano Oil | Olive Oil
Most of us know oregano as a culinary herb, however, it also has medicinal applications as well. Just like tea tree oil, oregano oil is known to have antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-parasitical, antiviral, analgesic and antifungal properties. Undiluted oregano oil is also strong substance and can irritate the skin so again perform a patch test before beginning treatment. A couple of drops of oregano oil should be diluted with one teaspoon of olive oil to achieve the desired solution.
Apply daily to the infected toenail and surrounding area with cotton swab or guaze and you should soon start to see results. Continue to use this treatment for no more than 3 weeks.
Now that you know how to treat toenail fungus with home remedies, I sincerely hope your battle with this frustrating ailment will be a winning one. Whether you decide to use essential oils, natural salts, or a natural over the counter topical solution, as always, I advocate that you see your personal health care physician before beginning any of these home treatment methods I've outlined. Here's to the health of your feet!