Toenail fungus also known as onychomcosis disfigures the nail completely. It is one of the most common diseases of the toenails. The nail thickens and become brittle. Its shape changes and color becomes dull or dark. Overall it looks ugly and can be painful sometimes, though generally it doesn’t pain.
Toenail fungus is caused by moisture which gets trapped inside the shoes. That is why the big toe gets affected first. A white spot appears on tip of the toe and gradually spreads to the entire nail making it yellow first and then brittle at the edges. If remain untreated it spreads to other toes. Some people get it on their fingernails also.
Pain can be managed by these toenail fungus home remedies but permanent cure has not yet been found by any means of medication or surgery. If it goes away, it is only temporary. It resurfaces.
The only treatment that seems to work is laser toenail fungus removal. Use of these laser treatments for toenail fungus is on increase since the year 2010
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Fungi are responsible for toenail fungus. Continuous exposure to warm and moist environment attracts fungi under the toe nail. The fungi then feed on keratin- the tough protein that makes up the hard surface of the nail.
In very few cases the infection can spread to the skin and to the fingernails also. Toe nail fungus is not the same as athlete’s foot but they can coexist.
Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus
First of all start using open toed shoes if possible. In fact use normal shoes only if it is absolutely a must. Shoe provides the warm moist environment in which the fungus grows, so awe want to deny that environment to the fungus.
Here is how to use them.
1. Baking Soda
You can use baking soda in two different ways. Both work well.
Baking Soda Alone
- Take half a teaspoon of baking soda
- Add little quantity of water to make a thick paste.
- Cover your affected toenail with the paste
- Leave it for 15 minutes and wash, clean and dry your foot
If the fungus has spread to more toes then make more paste as required. Do it two times a day. If the skin around the toenail gets irritated then use it less frequently or stop using it.
Another potent method to use baking soda is to give foot bath. Other ingredients are required to make a treatment solution.
- Take one liter of hot water
- Add 5 table spoons each of hydrogen peroxide, Baking Soda, Epsom salt and white vinegar and mix it well.
- Soak your toe in the solution for 15 minutes.
- Wash your feet well and clean them dry.
Do this twice a day for a month and then continue doing this once every week.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can apply apple Cider Vinegar directly on the toe or take foot bath. Both the methods are effective. See what suites you.
- Dip a cotton ball in a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- Place the cotton ball on the toenail with fungus
- Wrap the ball with medical tape and or bandage
- Change the cotton ball in the evening.
If your fungus is mild then it should disappear in a month.
Another method is to use a foot bath. Add half cup of apple cider vinegar of white vinegar in a liter of warm water and take a foot-bath for 30 minutes twice a day for a month.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tree tea oils works well during the onset of the toenail fungus. When you begin to see the signs of emerging fungus use this.
Tea tree oil requires a carrier oil to keep it on the surface for longer periods.
- Add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil in a teaspoon of olive oil and mix it well
- Dip a cotton ball in the oil mix and gently but firmly press it on the toenail
- Keep it pressed for 2 minutes
- Change the cotton ball and repeat the process until the entire oil mix is consumed
Generally this quantity of oil should last 5 to 5 times, which means your toe will be getting 10-12 minutes of continuous exposure to yea tree oil at a time.
Do this twice a day for a month.
Another way of using tea tree oil is to give your toes foot bath. Add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil in 1 liter of warm water. Soak your foot in the water for 30 minutes.
Tea tree oil has natural anti fungal and antiseptic properties and is good for skin.
Listerine is a commercially available mouthwash to kill germs and bacteria in the mouth. If kills the fungi also.
Take a toothbrush and assign it for the purpose of treating toenail fungus with Listerine.
- Take one cap full of Listerine in a small bowl
- Dip toothbrush head in Listerine and brush your toenail with Listerine for two minutes until half of the quantity of Listerine is consumed.
- Now take a cotton ball dip it in Listerine and gently press it on the toe for 52 minutes
- Repeat the cotton ball pressing until the entire quantity is consumed.
Do it twice a day for a month.
5. Vicks Vaporub
Vicks Vaporub is an externally used cough suppressor. It contains several anti fungal herbal oils, thyme and eucalyptus oils. These oils have active ingredients thymol and eucalyptol.
Its application is easy as it is in gel form. Cover your toenail with a layer of Vicks Vaporub. Keep it their for 30 minutes.
Do it twice a day for 2 months.
Most dermatologists don’t buy into these alternate treatments as the results from them are not consistence. What works in one case may not work in the other. So keep trying different methods but use them for more than a month before switching to the other.