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Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is as the name suggests a fungal infection that affects the toenail. If you find your toenails turning white, brown or yellow and thickening or cracking, you will know that there is something wrong with them. Well, if you are not very mindful, you will notice that your nails may take a significant turn for worse, starting to thicken and crack.
Toenail fungus isn’t very pretty to look at, you may hide your feet in closed shoes, but the point is you need to treat it right at the onset to stem the condition.
There are some prescription medicines which can treat conditions such as oral antifungals like terbinafine (Lamisil) or fluconazole (Diflucan) and they have been considered a reliable treatment option all these years. Like most conventional treatment medications, there may be side effects to this medication such as an upset stomach, dizziness, skin issues and jaundice. Well, before you seek OTP medications, try and go for some home remedies. Home remedies are the perfect options for toenail fungus treatment.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
The moment of truth. Toenail fungus can happen to anyone; yes, even if you are a cleanliness freak, but you do not have to worry as there are effective natural remedies that can help you treat the condition.
This condition is usually said to affect the toenails, but the fingernails can get affected too. You will know that the nails are affected when the color turns to become yellow, green, or black. The condition is really painful and can turn so bad that your toenail may finally have to be removed. Ouch! That sounds scary! So, what causes toenail fungus? Check out the following reasons,
- Wearing closed-toe shoes all day? It is time to make that switch to sandals. Yeah, we know you can’t wear them at the office, but when you come back home, open your shoes first to give them a breather, and always try and wear sandals for a casual day out or a night out, let’s just say in this case it is the better option.
- Are you a sports buff? Take care of your feet – People who are into sports, tend to sweat more and end up with either white toenail fungus or black toenail fungus.
- Smelly socks? Arghh! you do not change your socks frequently, now that’s another reason for contracting severe toenail fungus and finally, athlete’s foot. This kind of fungus can gradually spread to your nails.
- A humid environment
- The nail becomes damaged if it stays that way for too long.
- You travel barefoot, especially in communal areas such as locker rooms or around swimming pools.
- If you have a habit of biting your fingernails, it may lead to toenail
- Using artificial nails can also lead to this condition.
Natural Toenail Fungus Treatment – How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus
If you have been there, done that and yet haven’t got the results you want, I mean you’ve tried ointments, antifungal creams, and oral medications, and still haven’t been able to get the results you always wanted, maybe it is time you took matters into your own hands and tried natural toenail fungus treatments, which don’t have the side effects of conventional treatments. There is also laser treatment to remove nail fungus, but it is sure to make a deep dent in your pocket. It is expensive, and not covered by insurance, now are you sure you want to go for it?
So, now you can try the home remedies listed below to get rid of toenail fungus.
Coconut oil is said to be a powerful remedy for toenail fungus as it has anti-fungal properties, and a high level of medium-chain fatty acids. Use virgin, cold-pressed organic variety to get the best results, avoid the commercial ones.
Clean up your foot first. Now, take a generous helping of coconut oil and smear it all over your nails and the surrounding skin. Repeat this natural cure for toenail fungus at least thrice a day.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has powerful antifungal and antibacterial effects, and this can be an effective way to treat your nail fungus.
In fact, a few American researchers have reported their findings on tea tree oil in the Journal of Family Practice in 1994, showing it to be an effective treatment option for treating toenail fungus and it has shown similar results as conventional fungal medication Clotrimazole.
This is as easy as it gets, just saturate a cotton ball into a tea tree oil solution and then leave the solution on the affected area. Wipe it off with a paper towel. If it stings, don’t worry, it is working. If it is unbearable, you can mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or grapefruit oil, blend it in a 1:1 ratio and try this treatment at least thrice a day for best results. Do not ingest it orally, this is solely for application purpose.
This treatment contains a particular kind of fungus that is harmless to the body but still can kill the infectious fungus.
Pour the cornmeal into a shallow pan and mix it with water, ensure it is hot enough so that it dissolves into a paste, allow the mixture to cool and soak your feet in it for at least 1 hour a week.
Lavender oil is another powerful essential oil that has potent antifungal properties, and it may prove to be your chief weapon in combating fungal nail infections. When it comes to essential oils, it is the only pure oils that work best.
Use a clean cotton swab to wash the affected area, let the oil stay there for a few minutes and then wipe it away with a paper towel. Repeat this procedure for a few times every day till you get results.
Some people find that lavender oil irritates their skin. If you find this, dilute at least three to one with a carrier oil, such as olive oil. Lavender oil can make an even more potent combination with tea tree oil, this essential oil combination is a great topical toenail fungus treatment.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV for short) is one of the most popular nail fungus treatment. It works because it has antifungal effects.
Add one-part apple cider vinegar and two parts of water and make a foot bath. Immerse your feet into this foot bath for about 30 minutes, then dry your feet using paper towels. Try this treatment at least once a day; keep at it for a week or so till you get the results. If you do not have ACV around you then you can substitute it with white vinegar. ACV always works best, though.
Garlic is the perfect remedy to combat fungal nail infections. Try freshly ground garlic, which works best, as it contains active compounds such as allicin and ajoene. The potent combination of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties is what helps treat thick toenail fungus.
Crush the fresh garlic then mix it with a carrier olive oil or vinegar. Apply the mixture on the affected nail. Keep the garlic together with a bandage. Let the mixture stay there for 30 minutes, then wash it off.
Lemon juice is great for combating nail fungus. It is acidic in nature and inhibits the fungal growth.
Just squeeze out lemons to make juice, and then smear it on the affected nails. Leave it for half an hour and then wash it off. Repeat this at least two or three times a day.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a common herb, it is also known as wild marjoram. This works great as it has antifungal properties. The oil is strong and it may irritate your skin though. Blend it with olive oil, to take the sting out of the oil.
Blend one part of the oregano oil with six parts carrier oil. Apply the mixture on the affected nails and keep it for at least fifteen minutes, and then wipe it off with paper towels. Repeat this procedure at least thrice a day. Do not ingest oregano oil, it is a safe remedy to apply only externally.
That’s a surprising addition to the list of natural remedies for toenail fungus. But it works and how! Though it is used for cough suppression, its active components, such as eucalyptus oil and camphor work great against toenail fungus. Some researchers have come up with promising reports on Vicks VapoRub being an effective treatment for toenail fungus.
Just apply a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on the affected area once or twice a day.
Baking Soda and Borax
The fungus cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. So, it is important that you use alkaline baking soda to prevent and curb toenail fungus. It creates an uninhabitable environment for the toenail fungus. Borax is a powerful fungicide which works against toe nail fungus. The baking soda and borax is an incredible combination that can cure nail fungus fast.
Combine equal parts borax powder and baking soda and water to make a paste. Clean your feet and mixture onto the affected area. Try this for at least two weeks and continue with this treatment to get rid of toenail fungus, permanently.
What Kills Toenail Fungus – The Perfect Diet
To address any health issue, the first thing to transform is your diet, and when you do the right things, you start combating the problem right from the bottom. You eat healthily and your immune system gets better and you are in a better position to fight off infections such as toenail fungus. Add the right foods to your diet, some of them are as following,
- Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt
- More foods containing iron
- More protein to help your nails grow
- A diet rich in essential fatty acids
- Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products, eggs, green leafy veggies, mushrooms and so on.
When to See a Doctor?
Is it a cosmetic problem or is there more to it than meets the eye? Well, for some people the complications can increase, especially if you have toenail fungus and diabetes. You may have problems such as ulcers or other foot problems, and when there is chronic toenail fungus you may run the risk of getting bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you do have diabetes or are suffering from a weakened immune system, rather than addressing the toenail fungus with home remedies try to contact your doctor for the next course of action.
Home remedies work well when the condition is not too severe, only mild or moderate toenail fungus. Home remedies are not backed by any scientific evidence, but yes, they work without side effects. When you treat a condition you take into account many things such as infection severity, nail penetrability and the condition of your health.
You may not get the results in a short time. For all home remedies, you need to be consistent with it to get the results you want. If you have started with home remedies for some time and still not gotten the results you want, it is best you consult a doctor to treat it before it gets chronic. Before you go, take a look at some of the preventive strategies that can control the condition and also prevent it,
- Clip your toenails – File the sharp edges and keep your toenails neatly trimmed.
- Wear shoes the right way – Don’t wear shoes that are too tight for you, wear shoes that have a big toe box.
- Sanitize – Keep your feet clean and use antibacterial sprays to keep your feet dry and hygienic.
- Rotate your shoes – Don’t wear the same shoes every single day, choose shoes that help your feet breathe and air them well after you are done with them for the day.
So, kill toenail fungus with these home remedies and work your way to clean, dry, and healthy feet!