Natural Remedies For Fungal Nail Infections
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology. He is a clinical professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, and co-founder and practicing dermatologist at the Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Colorado.
Nail fungus remedies are sometimes used to treat fungal infections in the toenails or fingernails. Also referred to as onychomycosis, nail fungus is often difficult to treat with conventional medicine. But while natural nail fungus remedies are widely used, there is very little scientific support for their effectiveness.
To date, very few studies have tested the use of natural nail fungus remedies. Here’s a look at some natural substances often recommended in the treatment of nail fungus.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
- Onychomycosis stems from a number of fungal pathogens, primarily a certain group of fungi known as dermatophytes. Other relatively less common carriers of this infection are yeast and mold.
- Your susceptibility to this type of infection increases with age as older people tend to have increasingly brittle and dry nails that may allow the fungus to slip in through the cracks.
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with people grappling with fungal infections like athletes foot or ringworm on their hands can transmit the fungus onto you, paving the way for a toenail infection.
- A warm, moist environment such as a pool deck or a locker room provide the ideal breeding grounds for these infection-causing fungi. Therefore, people who walk barefoot in such areas tend to pick up this infection quite easily.
- Another common way of catching a fungal nail infection is by sharing an infected nail clipper or towel.
- Moreover, people who are prone to having moisture-ridden nails or often wear sweaty socks and shoes are increasingly predisposed to getting a fungal nail infection all by themselves.
Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenailâs appearance.
Toenail fungus isnât a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. âYou may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,â says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womenâs Hospital.
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Cover The Affected Area In Oregano Oil
Believe it or not, the tasty herb can also work wonders for treating toenail fungus at home. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Skin Appendage Disorders, researchers found that oreganos antibacterial properties are able to inhibit fungal growth in nails.
While the effectiveness of oregano oil has only been known anecdotally, thymola common component of oregano oilhas been reviewed to be an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent, Hayag says. People with toenail fungus can apply the product to affected areas twice daily and can expect no improvement, partial improvement, or complete improvement of their toenail fungus after using oregano oil. That said, she mentioned that oregano oil is quite potent and can cause an adverse reaction if you have particularly sensitive skin. For this reason, she recommends starting with a patch test. Additionally, to prevent an adverse reaction, consider mixing oregano oil with a carrier oil, such as olive or avocado oils, to dilute its potency.
Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
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Natural Home Remedies For Fungal Nail Infection Hydrogen Peroxide And Vinegar
This method will last for 3 days.
The first days, you soak your affected nails into a proper amount of 5% vinegar for about 5 minutes. During the process of soaking, pres and release your nails several times to make sure the vinegar can absorb under your nails. Rinse it off with water before patting it dry.
The 2nd day, you soak your affected nails into a proper amount of 2% hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes or so. Repeat the same routine as the 1st day.
The 3rd day, you repeat what you did in the 1st day. On the 4th day, repeat the 2nd day.
Do this method for about 3 weeks to get noticeable results. However, you should not combine both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar because it can forms peracetic acid which may have different properties that you are not aware of.
Affects Ears Fingers Nails Toes And Genitals
Fungal infections are some of the most common infections, affecting various parts of the body like, ears, fingers, nails, toes, genitals etc. Nail fungus is one such infection.
Onychomycosis is the name of the type of fungus that causes infection on nails both toenails and fingernails. This infection takes time to develop so you might not notice is initially.
Fungi are always present in your body alongside bacteria. The nail becomes infected when there is an overgrowth of fungus on or under the nail.
This infection is communicable and can spread via direct or indirect contact. For example, if you borrow an infected persons shoes or gloves, you too might catch the infection.
The fungus develops in warm, moist environment. This is why it usually affects toenails rather than fingernails as your feet are mostly covered while you wear shoes which provide the fungus an ideal environment to grow.
Causes and Risk Factors for Nail Fungus
Living or working in a hot, humid environment
Constantly covered feet
Diabetic patients, who have reduced blood circulation in their feet
Direct contact with someone who has nail fungus
Minor cuts or injuries around the nail
Using communal showers or public swimming pools
Sweating a lot, especially in your feet and on your hands
A weak immune system
Medications used to treat toenail fungus include terbinafine and itraconazole . Laser treatment is also available but it is expensive and doesnt guarantee results.
Tea Tree Oil
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What Are Common Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication
Topical medications often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially irritate the skin. Itchy, peeling, red flesh and blisters may also occur with many topicals. Consult your doctor if your medication is causing an unwanted skin reaction.
Liver damage is one of the most concerning side effects of some toenail fungus medications. Due to the nature of onychomycosis, many of the medications need to be taken for long periods of time to completely resolve nail fungus. Gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, and trouble breathing are also listed as potential side effects. In addition, if the individual treating the toenail fungus suffers from heart conditions, the medication could interfere with heart health.
How To Treat Toenail Fungus With Home Remedies
Do you suffer from toenail fungus but dont 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 thatafflicts tens of millions of people worldwide. Many do not know how tocope with this affliction but there are many natural home remedies thatcan be used to treat and cure toenail fungus. Not only does nail funguspresent a physical health risk but also a mental and emotional one, asmany people form a negative opinion of their bodies while trying tocope with their footcare.
Before we get to the remedies, lets take a look at the symptoms of toenail fungus so that you can identify the problems.
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Doctor Prescribed Ways To Treat Nail Fungus
Fortunately, there several ways to get rid of nail fungus. Most treatments aim to eradicate the causative organism and restore the normal appearance of healthy nails. Treatment options range from self-care remedies, to medications recommended by a general practitioner, to ointments bought over-the-counter without a prescription.
Its important to note that repeat infections are common even with treatment. Whats more, remedies are not all equally effective with some even causing possible side effects.
With that in mind, here are some of the top ways to treat and get rid of nail fungus at home.
How Contagious Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a contagious fungal skin infection that can be spread directly or indirectly. It is most commonly spread in warm, moist environments. These locations typically include public swimming pools, communal showers, gyms, and locker rooms. To help prevent obtaining a fungal infection, it may be beneficial to wear appropriate footwear when you are in these locations. Some symptoms of this condition may include discoloration of the affected toenail, thickening of the toenail, and in more severe cases, the toenail may become brittle and begin to break off. In order to safely treat a toenail fungal infection, its suggested that you consult with a podiatrist for professional care and advice.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Dr. Manx D. Quayle of Aurora Foot and Ankle Surgical Specialists. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
- Brittle, broken, thickened nail
If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.
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Apply Or Consume Garlic
A 2019 study published online indicated that garlic is an antifungal powerhouse, potentially making it a gem for treating toenail fungal infections. It is best to place crushed or chopped garlic on the affected area daily, Hayag says. It is important to take caution when following this remedy, as garlic has the potential to cause chemical burns to the skin. To avoid any burns, theres also the option of taking garlic supplements to see if that might help clear things up.
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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.
Toenail Fungus Photos: chefranden
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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
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.
While 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 of shoes. 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.
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How To Treat Toenail Fungus
Despite what you may hear, covering your infection with nail polish or artificial nails will not get rid of toenail fungus, says the AAD.
There are a few different ways to get rid of toenail fungus, whether youre looking for home remedies or stronger prescribed treatments. Just know this, per Dr. Goldenberg: Treating toenail fungus is extremely difficult.
But the earlier you treat the nail infection, the more likely you are to cure it, explains, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York Citybased board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Treatment can take several months, even up to a year, as you need to wait for healthy nail to grow out, which is a slow process, he says.
If you prefer to go the natural route first, these are the home remedies worth tryingplus, stronger prescription options to ask about if the infection persists. It usually takes three months of treatment to cure a toenail fungal infection.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
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Top 21 Best Home Remedies For Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infection is a common problem for most of us. People develop a nail infection at some point in their lives. This infection develops slowly and causes unsightly and thickened nails. Sometimes, it is painful. Actually, fungal infections could impact any body part.
What Are Causes Of Fungal Nail Infection?
A fungal nail infection may happen due to the overgrowth of fungi under, in or on the nails. These fungi thrive in moist, warm environments, so such kind of environment could cause them to overpopulate naturally. The same fungi could result it athletes foot, ringworm, jock itch, aside from nail infection.
Fungi are already present in or on the human body can result in nail infections. They could spread from person to person. You could suffer from fungal nail infection from walking barefoot in pools or public showers or by using the shared personal items like nail clippers. For those having athletes foot, it could spread from the skin to nails.
Symptoms Of Fungal Nail Infection
People with fungal nail infection often have nails that:
Turn white or yellow
Split or crumble, and it might separate from their skin
Once you get a fungal nail infection, it could be uncomfortable and sometimes painful to walk, wear shoes or stand at a position for a long time. Over time, the fungal nail infection can lead to permanent damage to your nail bed and nails.
Who Is At Risk Of Fungal Nail Infection?