Nail fungus infection can be extremely discomforting, embarrassing and even painful condition. Prescription antifungals are usually effective, but can cause side effects such as dizziness, upset stomach and skin problems. Luckily, there are many home remedies for nail fungus that can help you relieve your symptoms and speed up the healing.
Nail fungus is a common fungal infection of toenails. Most often, it is only a cosmetic problem. However, in some cases it can lead to serious complications and require medical attention.
The infection starts with nail discolorations, in the beginning only one spot on the nail changing color to white, yellow, green or brown. It can be followed by a range of symptoms, such as nail thickening, cracking and crumbling, nail thinning and splitting, lifting of the nail from the skin and debris building up underneath the nail.
The condition is highly contagious, so if you have it on one toenail, there’s a good chance it will spread to all the other nails as well.
Anyone can get nail fungus. But, there are certain conditions that can put you at more risk. The fungus like warm, moist environment, so you can easily get it if you wear tight shoes all day, play a lot of sport or if you are not changing your socks regularly.
Walking barefoot at the gym or swimming pools, smoking, having diabetes, having athlete’s foot or injuring one of your nails can also increase the risk of catching a toenail fungus.
Curing a nail fungus infection is not an easy or fast process. The goal is to stop the fungus from spreading, so that the “new” nail can grow healthy and replace the old, damaged nail. This can take several months.
However, it is possible to control the condition, relieve the symptoms and see significant improvement much sooner than that. And these home remedies for nail fungus can help you with that:
5 Best Home Remedies for Nail Fungus
1. Essential oils
Essential oils are probably the easiest, the most convenient home remedies for nail fungus. Many essential oils have powerful antiseptic and antifungal properties that, with regular usage, can erase all the traces of the fungus.
The most commonly used oils for treating toenail fungus are: tea tree, oregano, clary sage, clover, lavender, ylang-ylang, jasmine and all citrus essential oils.
All essential oils are extremely potent products. It is very important to always dilute them in a carrier oil(such as olive or coconut oil) before applying them to your skin. Otherwise, they could severely irritate or damage your skin and nails.
To treat nail fungus, all you have to do is dilute the essential oil you want to use in any carrier oil and apply a few drops directly to the affected nail. Do this twice a day.
2. Baking soda
There are several studies that show that baking soda is capable to prevent and reduce the growth of toenail fungus. Its antimicrobial properties can get you rid of most fungi that commonly cause toenail fungus.
Other than being an antifungal product, baking soda also collects moisture. And since fungi love moist, warm places, baking soda creates an unfriendly environment for most fungal species.
There are several ways you can use baking soda to naturally treat toenail fungus. The easiest would be to dissolve baking soda in a large bowl full of warm water and use it as a foot soak.
You can also mix baking soda with just enough water to create a thick paste. Apply the paste to the affected nails, leave it for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
If you are an athlete or you spend a lot of time wearing tight shoes, you can sprinkle some baking soda in your shoes and on your socks, to prevent the development of toenail fungus.
Apparently, mouthwash can do much more than just freshening breath and killing germs in your mouth. And amongst its many unexpected uses is getting rid of nail fungus.
Mouthwashes, such as Listerine, contain menthol, eucalyptus, thymol and other ingredients that have antiseptic and antifungal properties. Though it takes time to completely clear out the fungus, you can see significant improvement shortly after starting to use this treatment.
All you have to do is soak the toenail in a mouthwash for 30 – 60 minutes a day. You can also soak a cotton ball in the mouthwash and apply it like a compress.
If the condition is fairly mild, you can mix the mouthwash with two parts of warm water. On the other hand, if the fungus is persistent, you can mix the mouthwash with the same amount of vinegar.
4. Lemon juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice is great in cleansing and detoxifying the skin. It has natural antiseptic, antimicrobial and bleaching properties. The acidity of lemon juice can prevent the fungus from growing and spreading on your toenails.
Apply some fresh lemon juice to the toenail. Leave it on for around 30 minutes. During that time, you can reapply the juice a few times. Then thoroughly wash it off with warm water.
Another option is to mix some lemon juice with coconut or olive oil. Apply to your toenails and take some time to massage the mixture into the nails and surrounding skin. You can just leave it like that, no need to rinse it off.
Fresh, raw garlic is one of the most famous home remedies for nail fungus.
Garlic is a great natural remedy that, with regular consumption, can help you improve your immunity and treat many diseases. And its antifungal properties are strong enough to help with toenail fungus, even if you just apply it topically.
Crush or finely chop one clove of garlic. Apply a thick layer to the affected toenail. Leave it on for around 30 minutes, then thoroughly wash off.
You should repeat this every day. However, be careful – raw garlic can severely irritate and burn the skin. Closely follow the reaction of your skin and nail to this treatment. In case of redness, severe itchiness, burning sensation and irritated looking skin, stop with the treatment immediately.