Have you ever experienced a white spot on your nail plate slowly changing yellow? It can smell unpleasant too. Foul maybe. It is a very displeasing business to deal with. Who wants a foul smelling yellow-nailed feet? That is the last thing you ever want in life (pun intended). Toenail fungus might seem tame and mild at the beginning, but early detection and treatment is vital if you want to keep walking! It can get that serious. In this article on home remedies for toenail fungus information has been given on the easily available oils from the kitchen you can use for effective treatment of this discomfort.
What Is Toe Nail Fungus?
As mentioned above, toenail fungus is a fungal infection that begins as a tiny white spot under or the tip of your toenail / fingernail. Scientifically it is called Onychomycosis (pronounced as on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis). It makes your toenail thicker and change color over time, usually yellow in color.
Fungal infection happens in your toenails because they are always damp and warm. This combination creates suitable breeding grounds for fungus. The infection is also capable to spread to other toenails, fingernails, and even the skin. If left untreated, it may even impair your ability to work or walk! The resulting thicker nails will make it difficult to trim and painful to walk in closed shoes.
What Causes Toe Nail Fungus?
Your toes are vulnerable to the outside environment. While it is practically impossible to avoid contact with microorganisms like fungi and bacteria in places where you are most probably going to be walking barefoot, like in a gym shower room, in one way or the other, infection is bound to happen.
- In addition to this factor, wearing synthetic socks hinders the process of ventilation and does not absorb sweat.
- Also, working in a constant wet or humid environment such as bartending and housekeeping increase the risk of contracting a toenail fungal infection.
- Walking barefoot in communal areas such as swimming pools and gyms.
- Having a minor skin disorder such a psoriasis and above that, toenail fungal infection is prone to happen to people who are diagnosed with diabetes, blood circulation problems, immunity problems and in children, those with Down Syndrome.
What Are The Symptoms Of Toe Nail Fungus?
Some of the symptoms are as below:
- Nails are thicker than usual
- Warped or oddly shaped
- Nails are brittle
- Paraesthesia (sensation of pricking, tingling for no objective cause and usually associated with nerve injury)
- In severe cases of Candida, the infection can disfigure the fingertips and nails.
Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
Here are a few natural remedies that are cost friendly and easily available from home.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is claimed to be world’s greatest ‘one for all, all for one’ remedy. You will know the amazing healing and repairing benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in this article. This ‘fluid’ can be used both internally and externally or even both. There are few methods designed separately for fingernails and toenails. These methods are described as follows:
- Mix apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio 1:1
- Soak infected nail(s) in the solution for at least half an hour
- Remove nail(s) from the solution and dry.
- Continue with this process for the next four weeks.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar and Rice Flour
When the skin becomes alkaline, the area becomes a breeding ground for the fungus. ACV increases the acidity of the skin, thereby balancing the pH and eliminating the fungus (curing the discomfort caused due to the toe nail fungus). The acidity of this ‘fluid’ can also help in relieving itching and pain. Since the process of developing vinegar is a long process, it is abundant in bioactive compounds such as gallic acid, catechin, caffeic acid & epicatechin and other anti-microbial properties.
- Form a paste with rice flour and about 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Apply the paste to the infected nail(s) to exfoliate and remove the dead skin cells surrounding the nails and finger(s).
- Leave the paste on the nail(s) for a few minutes, a maximum of 5 minutes. Wash and wipe the nail(s) dry.
- Repeat regularly for optimal results.
3. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil is derived/taken from the Oregano herb. This oil has a concentrated amount of Oregano’s fungicidal properties and is very powerful at combating fungal infection. However, warning! Oil of Oregano is so powerful that it can cause skin irritation. This means you would not want to apply this undiluted oil directly onto your skin unless you can cope up with redness and burning sensations. Dilution of essential oils is not done with water, (obviously!) but they are done with other carrier oils.
- Dilute two or three drops of the oregano essential oil in about a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Rub this mixture over the infected toenail (or fingernail).
- Always try to keep the toe exposed to fresh air as much as possible.
- Repeat the process till the discomfort of toe nail fungus gets cured.
Carrier oils can be jojoba oil or olive oil. Jojoba oil is a more expensive option since it can mimic the skin’s natural sebum consistency. However, if you are on a tight budget and planning to spend thriftily, olive oil is a good economic option.
Thymol – having antiseptic properties. The immunity system of the body is boosted; the damage of skin tissues are prevented and it gives a healing effect to wounds.
Carvacrol – this medicinal compound is effective against infections by Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, listeria and Pseudomonas.
Other than the two above mentioned, there are also other compounds such as terpenes, caryophyllene, ocimene, limonene, rosmarinic acid, naringin and beta-caryophyllene (E-BCP). Some of the nutrients found in this oil are calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, vitamins A, E, C and niacin.
4. Tea Tree Oil
This oil is usually associated with pimples and acne. However, it works amazingly well for toenail fungus as well. Tea tree oil is extracted/taken from Melaleuca alternifolia tree and is well known for its antiseptic & antibacterial properties. According to a survey, recently tea tree oil has been used to treat toenail fungus infection.
Apply a few drops of the this oil on the infected nails a few times in the day. People who are sensitive to direct tea tree oil application can try soaking their nails in treated water or try applying treated lotion or powder.
5. Coconut Oil
If you are doubtful that coconut oil will work for toenail fungus, you better be dumping it into the bin because it sure does! Coconut is blessed with so many unique properties and characteristics that make it a ‘go-to’ remedy. However, the anecdotal results have proven that coconut oil has cured many of the toenail fungus ailments.
Coconut has a rich amount of medium chain fatty acids(natural fungicides – lauric acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and palmitic acid) that can insert themselves into the lipid layer or fat layer of the fungal membrane. It causes disturbance to fungal cell system and brings about cell disintegration and consequently lead to the destruction of the fungus.
Massage coconut oil on affected nail(s) both morning and evening. You can apply two drops on the discomfort area.It reduces the chance of reoccurrence. Remember to wash hands in between applications.
Or Add a few drops of cinnamon oil to about two tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir well and apply this mixture to the infected areas. Let the mixture stay for a while on the nail. Repeat this process daily to see evident results.
In the process, cinnamon improves blood circulation throughout the nails, and coconut oil acts as a potent anti-fungal agent.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
As it is sweet smelling, lavender oil is also a potent antifungal agent. Scientists tested lavender and found it to be lethal for a range of skin-pathogenic strains known as dermatophytes as well as some species of Candida. Dermatophytes cause infections on skin, nails and hair.
- Apply a small drop of oil on the affected nail while paying extra attention to the area underneath the nail.
- For severely infected nails, adding Tea Tree oil to Lavender oil can increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Simply apply one drop of each to the affected nail surface at least two times per day although three times would be ideal.
To prevent the oil from rubbing or making a spill, you can wear a pair of woollen socks. It is best to continue application until a week after the disappearance of symptoms.
7. Olive Leaf Extract
The extract is known for its anti-viral, anti-bacteria and other beneficial properties. Since it is a detoxifier you can experience some side effects when taking the supplement. The olive tree contains a component called as oleuropein which displays strong anti-viral, anti-parasitic properties.
- You can take five olive leaves and 500 ml of Vodka from the market.
- Take a jar in which both the above components can be housed.
- Chop the leaves into small pieces and then mix with alcohol in the container.
- Place the jar in a dark place for two weeks and behold you have the olive leaf extract.
- You can apply directly on the affected area till you get comfort.
If you use garlic as raw for toe nail fungus, you can see it has got antifungal properties. The crushing of the clove releases allicin, the compound that has antifungal properties. The affected area has to be completed covered by the juice. You can also consume garlic but that will help in a longer duration of time.
9. Lemon Juice
The application of lemon juice can assist in getting rid of the toe nail fungus. The Citric acid present in lemon juice acts as a powerful anti-septic and anti-fungal agent. The acidic properties present in lemon juice assist in balancing the pH of the body.
Take a lemon, cut it into half and squeeze the juice. You can take the lemon juice on a cotton ball and with the help of a tape secure it on the affected area. Remove the tape after fifteen minutes and continue this process for three days.
10. Clove Oil
The clove oil remedy for toe nail fungus is fruitful if you have pain. The magical component is eugenol known for its antifungal properties. It has been found that this oil contain this particular component in the 60 – 90 percent.
You can apply the clove oil directly on the affected area. If the skin around the nails is sensitive, then you can dilute the oil by mixing with coconut or olive oil. You can repeat the process two to three times a day.
11. Turmeric Powder
One of the simplest method for toe nail fungus.The component is curcumin known for its anti-fungal properties.
So given are the ten home remedies by which you can cure toe nail fungus. We will add more to the list; so have a watch on our articles.
12 Useful Tips To Prevent Toe Nail Fungus
- Always keep your feet and hands dry. Dry skin and nails are less prone to infection.
- Apply talc to hands and feet every time you come out of the shower.
- Use appropriate footwear such as shower sandals and shower shoes while using a public pool or shower. Let them dry between uses. You can use apple cider vinegar for preventing fungal growth after using a public pool or shower.
- Wear socks that allow movement of air (ventilation). Kindly avoid sharing socks/shoes with others.
- Always insist pedicurist or manicurist to sterilize their tubs and tools after every client.
- Practice good hygiene at all times.
- Avoid going barefoot on public places and the roads.
- Spray footwear with anti-fungal solutions such as Febreeze.
- It is mandatory not to use nail polish or any artificial nails to cover the infected area.
- It is vital to have a strong immune system to ward off any infection.
- All type of fungi feed on grains and sugars, so it is necessary to have observation on your diet.
- Consume rich sources of omega-3 fatty oils. You can also include pro-biotics in your diet.