Toenail fungus and athlete’s foot is a common infection. In most cases, it is caused by hygiene breaches and the use of unsuitable shoes.
If the main criterion for choosing footwear is its affordability, one should be prepared to invest in getting rid of a number of health problems, including toenail and foot skin fungus.
How to Prevent Toenail Fungus
If you cannot afford to buy good quality footwear, you should at least take proper care of the shoes you have. It is vital that to air and dry your shoes regularly. Also, you should not use shoes that are not your size or are worn out.
Important note! You should use special deodorants for shoes because they have antibacterial properties.
Prevention of nail fungal infection involves a number of nail and foot care measures that must be followed thoroughly. It is also vital that you boost your immunity, which involves a healthy diet, adequate sleep, avoiding unhealthy habits, etc.
In order to avoid fungal infection follow these golden rules:
- Keep your feet clean and dry at all times
- Wear socks and shoes made of natural materials
- Eat healthy food, i.e. reduce the amount of sugar and bread in your diet and eat more fruit and vegetables
- Do not share nail care tools
What you Should Do if you Become Infected
If you have a fungus infection despite all precautions (or by ignoring them), you should see an experienced specialist immediately. They will prescribe an appropriate method of treatment and diet. However, if getting professional help is impossible, you can start treating fungus using home remedies.
Typical symptoms of a fungal infection are:
- Thickened, brittle and discolored nail
- Peeling, itchy and red skin
You cannot miss these symptoms because they cause a great deal of discomfort.
It is important to note, that the sooner you start professional treatment, the easier it will be to cure this disease. You should bear in mind that fungus will not go without treatment. The untreated fungus will develop into a form which will be difficult to cure.
The Most Effective Essential Oils for Nail and Foot Fungus
Cinnamon Oil for Fungus
Cinnamon is an effective remedy for yeast infections caused by Candida Albicans, which is one of the possible causes of nail fungus. Besides, cinnamon controls the level of sugar in your blood in the range between 3-5%, effectively isolating bacteria from the easily available source of nutrition, namely, sugar.
As a rule, topical treatment of fungal nail infection proves ineffective, because the remedy does not penetrate the nail in a sufficient way.
Black tea with cinnamon or application of cinnamon oil, which should only be done after a consultation with your doctor. It will help your body control ringworm of the nails.
You should bear in mind that the application of cinnamon oil on the damaged skin or nails will cause a severe burning sensation. It is similar to putting strong alcohol on an open wound. Some individuals are able to bear the pain, while others prefer to mix it with water, olive oil or coconut oil for foot fungus.
How to Use Cinnamon Oil
First of all, you have to prepare your nail for the treatment. Use a magnifying lens to examine the damage. If the nail is thickened, clip it as short as possible. Have medical pedicure if you can afford it.
Make a 1% cinnamon oil water solution and sprinkle it on the damaged nail. Let it dry up naturally. In severe cases, you may need to increase the oil concentration to 100%. When using 100% cinnamon oil, apply it using a cotton bud. You should bear in mind that this kind of treatment will give you a severe burning sensation.
An alternative method of treatment involves a 2% cinnamon oil solution in hot water. Soak your feet in this solution for 20 minutes. Adding sea salt to the healing bath will help ’extract’ the infection from your nail. In the case of a severe fungal infection, have these cinnamon oil baths twice weekly in addition to other forms of treatment.
Tea Tree Oil for Toenail Fungus
The use of tea tree oil for toenails is a relatively safe method which can be used in any situation.
Remarkable antibacterial properties make tea tree oil a powerful virus and bacteria killing remedy.
Tea tree originates in Australia. Research carried out in this country has shown that tea tree oil is among the most effective antibacterial and disinfecting substances.
A research published in 1998 by the journal of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy has shown that tea tree oil was tested for the treatment of a number of fungal infections, including Candida. It was tested on 26 strains of life forms, 54 strains of yeast and 22 strains of a range of fungi. Tea tree oil has been found to inhibit the growth of all kinds of fungi.
In 1972 a research of a range of foot problems was made by Dr. Walker. This research included nail mycosis and a number of fungal infections. 58 out of 60 patients who were treated with pure tea tree oil were cured within the period of 3 to 6 years. 38 out of those 58 patients had excellent results, while 20 results were described as fair.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil
To achieve a satisfactory result, damaged nails must be cleaned and treated at least twice daily.
Wash and dry your feet thoroughly. Put tea tree oil on a small piece of tissue. Place it directly on the infected area and fix with a piece of plaster. Repeat this treatment in the morning and before bed. Do it persistently until you see the result. Ensure your toenails are clipped really short.
As an option, you may use vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Add vinegar to very warm water and have a foot bath. The solution should consist of 1 part of vinegar to 8 parts of water for women and 1 part vinegar to 4 parts of water for men, whose nails are thicker. Have this bath for about half an hour, then clip your nails short and apply tea tree oil on the damaged area. Proceed with this treatment twice daily for as long as necessary to get rid of your fungus.
Oregano Oil for Fungal Nail Infection
Oregano oil is produced from an oregano plant. It has powerful anti-fungal properties and has proved to be an efficient remedy for treating fungal infections. However, oregano oil is extremely strong and may cause skin irritation. It means that the use of pure oregano oil may result in skin redness or even damage.
Essential oils used for treating fungal infections should not be dissolved in water. Instead, they should be added to a base oil, such as jojoba or olive oil. The properties of jojoba oil are quite similar to those of skin oil. On the other hand, olive oil is considerably less expensive than jojoba and still provides benefits to the skin. So feel free to use olive oil as the base.
The Use of Oregano Oil
Add three or four drops of oregano oil to one spoonful of olive oil.
Rub this oil mixture into the infected nail and leave it open, i.e. without socks or shoes, for as long as possible, because by wearing shoes and socks you create a warm and humid environment in which fungi thrive on.
Bear in mind that this remedy may leave oily stains on your socks or on the carpet. Besides, oregano is a smell that is suitable in the kitchen, not so much welcome on the living room carpet.
Treat your infected nail with this mixture regularly for two or three weeks. Normally, this is a sufficient period in which nail fungus can be healed. If you see no progress, discuss an alternative treatment with your doctor.
Oregano oil is also available in capsules to be ingested. However, not all essential oils are suitable as food additives. Avoid exceeding recommended dosage specified on the packaging and talk to your doctor before you start taking this kind of medication.
Clove Oil for Fungal Nail Infection
During the reign of the Hahn Dynasty (207 BC to 220 AD), people who approached the Emperor were supposed to put a dry clove bud in their mouth to mask offensive breath. Traditional Chinese healers have been using cloves for treating stomach disorders, hernia, ringworm and a number of fungal infections since the ancient times.
Cloves were brought to Europe as far back as 4 AD. German herb doctors included this plant in their remedies for treating gout.
Since clove has become available, European medicine has been using it for the treatment of flatulence, stomach disorders, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is also a common remedy for a cough, toothache, infertility, warts and wounds.
Eugenol, which accounts for 60 to 90% of clove oil content, has anti-fungal, antiseptic and anesthetic properties.
Eugenol is also present in other essential oils which are used for fungal infections, such as:
Clove oil is as effective as oregano when used for treating fungal nail infections. However, like other essential oils used for fungus in their pure form, it causes a severe burning sensation. It is bearable only if you have a high pain tolerance. For damaged or sensitive skin clove oil has to be mixed with a base oil such as olive or coconut oil.
Recipes for the Treatment of Fungal Infection Based on Essential Oils
1. Foot Bath with Vinegar & Tea Tree Oil
- 100 ml of warm 9% vinegar
- 2 drops of oregano oil
- 6 drops of tea tree oil
Add the components to warm water and use it for a foot bath. The bath must be deep enough to cover the ankles. Soak feet in the bath for 20 minutes.
2. Vinegar & Essential Oil Lotion for Fungal Nails & Athlete’s Foot
- 4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 35 ml of boiled water
- 9 drops of lavender essential oil
- 7 drops of tea tree oil
Put vinegar into a dark glass bottle. Add essential oils and shake well. Add water and give the mixture a good shake. Use this lotion to wipe infected areas three times a day for as long as necessary to get rid of the symptoms. Shake the lotion each time before use.
3. Essential oil and Cornflour for Fungal Infection.
- 2 tablespoon of cornflour or natural baby powder
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 15 drops of lavender essential oil
Put cornflour or baby powder into a plastic bag and add above listed essential oils. Shake the mixture and leave it for 24 hours. Apply this powder all over your feet after washing. More cornflour based recipes for fungal infections.
4. Essential oil pack for fungal nails and athlete’s foot
- 8 tablespoon of 9% vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of lavender essential oil
Mix all the ingredients. Dip a piece of clean cotton fabric in the mixture and apply it on the damaged skin or nail. Leave the solution on for a quarter of an hour. Apply this treatment three times a day.
5. Healing Oil for Fungus
This oil can be applied to the skin and to damaged nails.
- 5-6 drops essential tea tree oil
- 5-6 drops essential lavender oil
- 1 tablespoon of almond oil
Mix up all the components in a dark glass bottle. Use this oil regularly three times a day until full recovery.