Nail fungus is a common problem, typically it is found on toenails, but it has been known to migrate to fingernails, too. Being common, however, does not make it any more attractive to deal with.
The symptoms include the nail becoming yellow and thick, crumbling and swelling, and if allowed to spread, it can become painful as the nail cracks and splits. The fungus can even cause a complete loss of the nail.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
Many different types of fungus can cause onychomycosis, or nail. These fungi include candida, dermatophytes, and non-dermatophytic types of mold. Once nail fungus is acquired, it is typically a chronic problem.
When it presents itself on one nail, it spreads easily due to direct skin contact of the nails and toes. It is also easily spread with nail clippers and files.
There are several reasons for toenail fungus. Contaminated pedicure equipment can spread the fungus. Diabetics and the elderly are also more prone to nail fungus since the circulation in their legs is reduced.
A compromised immune system can make individuals more prone to fungus since their nail’s defenses are decreased when it comes to fighting the infection.
Also, those on immune suppressant medications and those with psoriasis are more likely to get nail fungus. Those taking antibiotics are more prone to fungal infections, too, especially long rounds of antibiotics as they kill the body’s beneficial bacteria that works to keep fungus away.
Luckily, there are a wide variety of home remedies. When used consistently, these options can clear the fungus within a couple months.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Shown to be one of the most effective home remedies for nail fungus, the mildly acidic apple cider vinegar can be used to kill bacteria and fungus. It can be used on the skin, taken internally, or both.
To use it topically, mix equal parts of vinegar and Epsom salts with about six parts of warm water. Soak your feet for half an hour at least two times a day. Another option is to mix one-part of water and one-part apple cider vinegar to soak your feet in for thirty minutes a day.
You can also create an antifungal exfoliation scrub. Add some apple cider vinegar to course rice flour to make a paste. Add the mixture to the affected area and gently scrub. Not only will you kill fungus and bacteria, but you will keep your skin soft.
To take apple cider vinegar internally, mix a couple tablespoons with a teaspoon of honey and eight ounces of water.
Tea Tree Oil
A natural antifungal and antiseptic, this essential oil is a great remedy for nail fungus. To use it, start by cleaning the affected area with rubbing alcohol. After that, you can add the tea tree oil directly to the nail and allow it to soak in. In 10 minutes, use a toothbrush to lightly scrub the nail.
Another option is to add several drops of tea tree oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil or olive oil. You can add this mixture to the nail with a cotton ball.
Follow the steps above, allowing it to soak in and then scrubbing. Applying this treatment two to three times a day allows you to cure nail fungus. Once the new, healthy nail begins growing out, continue treatment for one month to prevent regrowth.
You can also create a foot bath with warm water, add five to six drops of tea tree oil, and soak your feet.
Another antifungal and antiseptic essential oil, lavender is best used when the nail fungus is a mild case. Before bed, apply two to three drops of the oil to the affected area and allow it to soak in while sleeping. Wearing socks can help the oil stay in place, just make sure they are made of natural fibers.
You can also mix lavender oil and tea tree oil to get rid of fungus. Mix five drops of each and use a cotton ball to apply the solution to the nail and the surrounding area. Allow it to soak in for 10 minutes and then rinse off the oils. This treatment can be repeated several times a day.
A natural antifungal, orange oil can cure nail fungus infections. Before you try this treatment option, test the oil on a small spot of skin. It can cause allergic reactions and have side effects.
Once you tested the oil, apply it directly to the nail, under the nail, and in between the toes using a dropper. Allow it to sit for thirty minutes to an hour. Repeat daily, at least two to three times, until the nails are healthy. If this treatment irritates your skin, dilute the oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grape seed oil.
Oil of Oregano
Oregano is a natural antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic, and antiseptic that can be used to treat nails infected with fungus.
You can place the oil directly to the affected areas, or you can dilute the oil with a carrier oil and apply it. Allow it to work on the nail for at least half an hour before rinsing. Apply the oil to the infected nails twice a day until the fungus is gone.
This treatment option contains caprylic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid. The acid is able to penetrate the cell wall of fungus, causing it to dissolve, and destroy the infection. Apply coconut oil to the infected area and let it soak in for at least 15 minutes. Since this oil is great for overall skin health, you can use it as often as you like.
The compounds, ajoene and allicin are effective fungus fighters that are found in garlic. To treat toenail fungus using garlic, you can eat a clove or two of crushed garlic cloves each day.
You can also apply garlic to the nails. Mix one-part white vinegar with one-part garlic oil and apply. Cover the area with a bandage and let it sit for a few hours. Repeat this treatment daily.
If you can%u2019t find garlic oil locally, you can make your own. Add two tablespoons olive oil and two crushed garlic cloves to a fry pan. Once it%u2019s fried, strain the oil.
Olive Leaf Extract
A healthy supplement, this antiviral, antibacterial natural remedy is taken orally to cure fungal nail infections. Not only that, but it can also lower cholesterol and works as a detoxifier.
Should you experience discomfort when you begin taking olive leaf extract, lower your dose until your body sheds its toxins. Once you start to feel better, increase the dosage to the recommended amount.
Lemon juice contains citric acid that can stop toenail fungus from spreading and also has antifungal and antiseptic properties. There are a couple ways you can treat an infection with lemon juice. One way is to apply lemon juice to the nail and leave it for half an hour. Then, rinse with warm water.
You can also mix olive oil and lemon juice, equal parts, and massage it into the nails. Rinse it after two to three hours. The oil will soften the skin while the lemon treats the fungus.
Vinegar has the ability to treat fungus as it restores the skin’s natural pH levels. Make a solution of two parts warm water and one-part white vinegar. Soak the nail that is infected in the mixture for fifteen minutes. Rinse the area and then dry it. Repeat this treatment two times daily.
Known for killing germs and bacteria in the mouth, this mouthwash can also effectively cure toenail fungus. The compounds and alcohol in the solution work as an antiseptic to keep away the fungi and harmful bacteria.
Create a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and Listerine to soak the infected foot in. Keep it in the solution for half an area. Then, scrub the nail gently, rinse it off, and dry the area. You can do this up to two times a day until the fungus is gone.
While it might sound strange, organic cornmeal can treat nail fungus. Corn naturally hosts a fungus that poses no threat to humans, but is deadly to Candida, the most common fungus that causes infections to our bodies.
Create a foot bath with two quarts of water and one cup cornmeal. Let the cornmeal soak in the water for at least an hour. After that, place the foot or feet in the solution for at least thirty minutes.
Some sources state you only need to do this once a week, while others say it is important to do it daily. Cornmeal is harmless to the skin and nails so you can perform this treatment as often as you would like.
Having an imbalance of the body’s micro-flora can be one of the biggest causes of fungal infections. Adding a good probiotic supplement to the remedy you choose can make the treatment process quicker and more effective.
A probiotic creates a healthy gut, which hinders the growth and spread of fungus. When choosing a probiotic, choose one without artificial fillers and sugar as these feed fungi.
Nail fungus requires an acidic environment, baking soda is alkaline and prevents the fungus from spreading because of the uninhabitable conditions. Adding sodium borate, or borax, a natural fungicide to baking soda and you have an effective cure for toenail fungus.
Mix equal parts of baking soda and borax and enough water to create a paste. Wet the foot, or feet, and rub the mixture onto the nails with the fungus. This treatment can be done twice a day and continued for a couple weeks after the fungus has disappeared.
Another option for using baking soda is mixing a half cup of it with a quarter of a cup of peroxide, and a half cup of Epsom salt, along with four cups of warm water. Thoroughly mix and then add a quarter of a cup of white vinegar. You can soak the nail in the mixture for ten minutes twice daily.
Apply a small amount of VapoRub to the affected area daily.
There are several different products on the market today that can help treat nail fungus. When choosing to use one of these options, file any white markings off the nail’s surface, soak the nail in warm water, and then apply the product.
Trimming nails reduces the pressure and helps reduce any pain that the infection may be causing. If the nails are thick, use a file to thin and soften them. This allows whichever treatment option you choose to reach deeper into the layers of the nail infected with fungus. You may find it necessary to thin nails every couple of days.
How To Prevent Nail Fungus
Once you have effectively gotten rid of the fungus, you want to do all you can to keep it gone. While there are several steps you can take to prevent further infections, no method is totally effective. For this reason, you should closely monitor your nails for any symptoms of a fungal infection. The sooner treatment begins, the easier and more effective it will be.
To prevent a new fungal infection, try the following tips:
-Ensure any nail salon you visit disinfects their metal equipment. Also, disposable items should not be used more than once. You may even choose to bring your own files or pumice stones.
-Avoid having your feet damp for prolonged amounts of time. Consider changing socks and using an absorbent powder if your feet sweat a lot.
-Don’t wear tight shoes. If you must, don’t wear them for long periods.
-Wear open-toed and loose shoes as often as you can. An environment that is dark, moist, and warm promotes the growth of fungus and a dry one limits the growth.
-Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that promotes a strong immune system.
-Do not re-use clippers or nail files on healthy nails until you have disinfected them.
With patience and persistence, the home remedies for nail fungus shared here can help you get the healthy nails you desire.
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