Maintaining a proper hygiene in your feet is as important as in any other part of your body. Moreover, we often overlook any issues that appear in them, especially when they are as common and inconspicuous as toenail fungus. Although it may cause little trouble at first, a fungus can grow and cause pain and even foul smell. Luckily, there are several essential oils for toenail fungus that will cure most cases. But first, let’s take a look at how toenail fungus work and what are its risks.
Toenail fungus is a common infection that can become a serious problem if you don’t take care of it as soon as possible. It usually starts as a yellow or white spot under your nail, which can grow and even pass to other nails.
However, it is very unlikely for it to spread to another person’s feet. As it becomes more entrenched, it can distort the shape of your toe and make your nail brittle. If it grows enough, it will start having a slightly foul smell, cause pain, inflammation and other symptoms.
It can even get to a point where it is uncomfortable to wear shoes. But if you follow good guidance and treat it early, it shouldn’t go beyond the point of a minor annoyance.
There are different causes why toenail fungus can reach you. Dampness helps fungi spread, which is why walking barefoot in places like gyms and public pools or using damp socks are common ways of catching toenail fungus.
Some factors that increase risk are having a wound near your toenail, having diabetes and poor circulation. Also, as you grow older, your risk of catching fungus will increase. If you have a history of athlete’s foot or any skin condition, you could also be more prone to getting infected.
If you have diabetes and you think you have toenail fungus, talk to a doctor directly. Otherwise, you can first resort to methods like essential oils.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of having toenail fungus is how self-conscious you can become about it. It can grow to look very ugly and it just seems to get worse and worse. But don’t lose hope: I’ve known many cases of toenail fungus and, although it can take a long while to go, you’re sure to get rid of it if you take care of it properly, be it with essential oils or other methods.
Otherwise, toenail fungus can be treated with creams, medications and other formal treatments. However, if you want to avoid the side effects and want to look for a natural solution, there is a variety of essential oils for toenail fungus that are trusty and work effectively.
The Best Essential Oils For Toenail Fungus
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil has nothing to do with the common black or green tea plant. It comes from an Australian tree called Tea Tree, and it’s one of the most widely used essential oils. It’s useful for a variety of infections, from acne to insect bites. But here we’re interested in how to use it to treat toenail fungus, which it is exceptionally good at.
Tea Tree oil is composed of chemicals that kill bacteria and fungi, and can even prevent allergic reactions.
You can apply it to the skin without diluting it at all. Although applying tree oil directly to the skin is usually harmless, it could cause adverse reactions like irritation and swelling. In that case, you can dilute it with coconut oil or olive oil (be sure of not taking it orally, which is proven to be unsafe). Follow this steps to make sure any essential oil for toenail fungus does its job:
- Make sure your nail is clean. You can wash it with soap and water or alcohol.
- Apply a few drops of the oil in the nail with an eyedropper or a wet cotton ball.
- Scrub it gently with a soft toothbrush and let it rest for around 10 minutes. This way, the oil can sink deeper into the infected areas. You can also massage your toe to help the oil sink.
- Repeat the treatment twice a day until a new, healthy nail has grown. This process might take up to 6 months.
Lemon is well known for its antiseptic properties, and lemon essential oil follows that mark. This oil, like those of other citrus, has antifungal properties.
The reason this essential oil is especially effective when tackling toenail fungus is that, because of its thickness, it takes more time to penetrate the nail and gets under it more easily than others. This way, it attacks the root of the fungus. Other benefits of lemon oil include nail whitening and prevention of more infections. It also has a pleasant aroma, if that matters to you.
In most cases, there is no need to dilute it. However, if you have sensitive skin, you can dilute it in a carrier oil like coconut oil. If you want, you can use a Qtip to help it soak the bed of the nail.
With many active anti-fungal ingredients, cinnamon proves to be more than just a popular spice. Agents like eugenol will not only kill any fungus but also prevent its growth by drying the surrounding area and making it inhospitable for fungi.
To use it, first dilute it in a carrier oil like coconut oil. If you don’t have any, you can just use water instead. Then, apply directly in the infected area with a cotton ball or a spray bottle. For faster effects, you can use an eyedropper to apply it beneath the nails.
Peppermint makes almost everything taste better, but since ancient times it has been used as more than a normal spice. It is one of the oldest medicines in the world due to its diverse health benefits, from improving the digestive system to strengthening the immune system.
This last attribute is especially helpful when fighting nail fungus, for you need a strong immune system to stop the infection from spreading to other parts of your body. Peppermint oil will also help to relieve pain and reducing inflammation. Being backed by science, peppermint oil proves to be one of the most well-rounded essential oils for toenail fungus.
Another perk of peppermint oil is that you don’t need to dilute it at all. Just apply it directly to the nail and you will notice its relieving powers as it soaks in.
Thyme oil, being antioxidant and antiseptic, is one of the most effective essential oils for toenail fungus. One of its ingredients, thymol, has been scientifically proven to inhibit the growth of dermatophytes, the most common specimen that causes toenail fungus. It has even been seen to work against antibiotic-resistant infections.
This oil must be diluted in some carrier oil before applying. Besides following the same steps described first, you can massage your toe softly to help it get under the nail.
Oregano oil can fight a wide variety of illnesses and is capable of eliminating even the strongest infections. One of the most powerful essential oils for toenail fungus, it was already used by ancient Greeks to treat wounds and infections. Regular use of oregano oil can protect the body from fungus, bacteria and even virus.
It’s not necessary to dilute it, but if you have a sensitive skin you might want to dilute it in a carrier oil like coconut oil. Rub your toes or use a toothbrush to help it soak in.
It is mostly found in toothpaste and dental care products, but the properties of clove oil reach out to an impressive amount of benefits. It is abundant with eugenol, a highly effective chemical against fungus, which is why it belongs to this list. However, it’s also capable of boosting your immune system, which will accelerate healing.
This essential oil should be diluted in a carrier oil. Apply a few drops where the infection is and massage your toe so it can soak the bed of the nail.
Remember that essential oils are densely packed with chemicals, some of them very strong. If any abnormal irritation, soaring or pain appears after applying them, stop their usage and talk to a doctor. Also, consider that if you nail infection might have grown beyond the point where essential oils are used. In that case, there are more direct methods that your doctor can introduce.
Tips for Preventing Toenail Fungus
As in all things regarding health, prevention is as crucial as healing. Now you know the best essential oils for toenail fungus, here is some advice to prevent getting infected in the first place.
- Avoid walking barefoot in damp public places, like public pools.
- Wash your hands and feet regularly (feet are easy to forget when taking a bath). Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after treating toenail infections.
- Trim your nails straight across. You can use a file to smooth the edges.
- Use shoes made of materials that breathe.
- Change socks regularly.