Perhaps you have seen some whitish or even yellowish spots on your fingernail or even on your toenail which may leave you tattered with worries. Guess what? Those are symptoms of a common condition known as nail fungus and these appearances are just but the prerequisites of this infection coming to storm your life. With time, this infection may grow stronger and the fungus may discolour the whole nail or make it crumble and even thicken. In some cases, the fungal infection may spread to other nails but not all.
Causes of Fungal nails:
Fungal nail is commonly caused by fungi which thrive in moist and wet areas. Showers and swimming pools in the public domain are their most relevant breeding sites since they are shared by different people hence their hygienic conditions may be distorted. Those who are fond of wearing tightly fitting and poorly aerated shoes are at stake of getting the infections. Besides that, the elderly are also reporting a higher percentage of being infected by fungal nails. This is because those who are within the “old age” bracket tend to suffer from impaired circulation around the distal extremities and defective biomechanics. Those who suffer from underlying disease conditions also get ensnared with this infection since they suffer immune system impairment.
Nail fungus infection has a myriad of symptoms as stipulated below;
- Hardened nails usually caused by debris growth underneath.
- Nail chipping leading to distorted and ragged nails.
- Dull and non-glossy nails.
- The inflammation of the skin around the nail can also signal a danger of getting infected.
- Complications while walking is a sign of getting infected on your toenail.
On the extreme end of Onychomycosis, the nails may fall off your fingers and toes. The incident may be accompanied by a foul odour due to rotting of the nail caused by the infections.
When to See a Physician:
Several treatments and self-health care tips are available to help you curb these infections. However if the treatments do not yield then you are advised to seek advanced medical attentions. The casualties of diabetes are at stake of being affected therefore they should seek for medical consultations to prove their safety.
- Possible Remedies:
1. Ceylon cinnamon leaf oil:
Home care treatment using Ceylon cinnamon leaf oil requires that you cut your cuticles using an edge trimmer and a metal file in order for the ointment to penetrate in and fight the fungi underneath the nail. Never the less it is not advisable to make such cuttings especially if it may attract more germs to the infected area.
The ointment works in a magical way by flaking off the infected nail and leaves it dried thus prevent the prevalence and spread of the infection. It is also wise and acceptable to mix the cinnamon leaf oil with coconut oil which is also an anti-fungal so as to moisten the nails and the skin around the nails. Otherwise you should not spread the coconut oil before you commence the exercise since it may inhibit the effectiveness of the ointment. Therefore it is wise to leave the nails to dry and heal voluntarily in a few weeks with Ceylon cinnamon leaf oil as the chief treatment for the infections.
2. Apple cider vinegar:
The combination of these trio natural medical remedies has antifungal, antiviral as well as antibacterial ingredients which have been used over time to remedy avalanche of skin infections, nail fungal infections not exempted. All you need is to mix the apple cedar solution and water in a ratio of 1:2 and then soak your feet in this solution for about 15 minutes. Rinse your feet after the exercise then dry them completely. This remedy exercise should be practised spontaneously and regularly till your nails are rejuvenated health wise.
Remember always to dry off your feet thoroughly after bathing, swimming or after engaging in any activity that may leave a pool of sweets on your feet. Doing this helps to curb the spread of the fungi infections. Avoid if possible public swimming pools whose hygienic standards are low since you may easily contract infections from such.
3. White vinegar:
It is believed to be one of the most effective toenail fungal treatments since it contains acetic acid which is a profound killer of nail fungus. Its antiseptic and cleaning properties help to counteract further spread of the fungi as well as tame the foul smell. It is viewed to be the most effective homecare nail fungus treatment since it is affordable and easy to administer. Directions on administration include; adding equal amount of the white vinegar in warm water then soak your infected toenail in the solution for about 20 minutes. Make sure you thoroughly dry your hands using a clean towel. Repeat this procedure for about three times a day so as to speed up the fungal eradication.
4. Tea tree oil:
The antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the tea tree oil make it a highly recommended remedy for both nail fungus and skin disorders and infections. This is due to its fast and effectiveness in curbing and eradicating fungi, bacteria. It also respites pain. Proper aeration of the feet and maintaining high cleanliness of your feet is appropriate to prevent nail fungus infection. Sandals are highly recommended for good aeration, stinking and filthy stockings are equally discouraged since they harbour bacteria which cause nail infection.
5. Lemon grass oil:
It contains antimicrobial and antiseptic ingredients which make it more effective in fighting off growths of fungus. When it is applied, it leaves a pleasant smell which helps to counter the bad odour caused by the infection. You should use it to massage your feet at least thrice a day after which it relieves you from the burden of pain caused by the fungi infections.
6. Baking soda:
It is also one of the best recommended remedies for fungal infections. It neutralizes the foul smell emanating from the infected foot thus creates a conducive platform for healing. Baking soda is easily accessible since it is frequently used at home.
Healing precepts are as follows:
- Add one cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide then add one cup of Epsom salt to four cups of hot water and mix thoroughly then add ¼ of white vinegar.
- Soak the infected toenail in the solution for about 10 minutes.
- Wash and rinse the toenail with clean water then dry it thoroughly to prevent further breeding of the microbes. The process should be repeated at least twice a day till the infected nail is revived.
7. Oil of oregano:
The oil has antiparasitic, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial contents which are effective to fight off nail fungus.
Instructions on application:
- Mix two drops of oregano oil in one teaspoon of olive oil.
- Apply the mixture on the infected area and leave it to penetrate in for about 30 minutes then rinse off and dry thoroughly.
Repeat the above procedure at least twice a day until the infected toenail is fully recovered.
8. Listerine mouthwash:
It is well known for its ability to kill germs and microbes in the mouth, it can therefore also be used to tame the toenail fungus since it has the alcohol content which acts as antiseptic and can effectively combat the harmful microbes and fungi.
Methods of application:
- Fill a small tub with Listerine mouthwash or a combination of Listerine and white vinegar then soak your infected toenail in the solution for about 30 minutes.
- Scrub the toenail gently then rinse it off with clean water. Do the routine at least twice a day till healing.
9. Olive leaf extract:
This extract is vastly known for its ability to control the spread and hamper the growth of fungi and microbes such as Candida and Tinea. It is a well proven remedy for toenail infection since it works on the fungi from the inside out thereby killing even the bacteria and parasites which you may be obliviously hosting in your body. It acts as a toxin cleaner for the body hence boosts your energy and also revitalizes your immune system making you less often ill.
Lactobacillus bacterium which is a harmless bacteria living in our bodies is believed to help fight off the harmful foreign organisms which may enter into our systems. Without these harmless bacteria, these foreign organisms tend to supersede our immune system and at times make us sickling. Lactobacillus bacterium therefore produces a substance which helps in killing and suppressing the harmful microbe, nail fungi not exempted. Take the natural probiotic supplement on a daily basis and see how it will work tremendously to treat the nail fungus infections.
11. Lavender oil:
Lavender oil is quite often used as home remedy for treating toenail fungal infection due its anti-fungal property. The ointment works best at night when you have neglected frequent movements and perhaps you are ready to sleep since it gets the ample time to soak well on the affected area. If is better if you cover your feet after applying it using either woollen socks or stockings made of synthetic fiber to prevent rubbing them off. Please continue with this nail fungus treatment therapy for a couple of weeks if you are comfortable with it till your toenail completely recovers.
12. Borax powder:
Borax is well known to fight off fungi both internally and externally. It is therefore quite an effective treatment for toenail fungus infections as well as the athletes’ foot.
All you need to do is to mix Borax powder with baking soda and add little amount of water to create a thick paste then apply it on the wet feet and toenails affected at least twice a day.
13. Corn meal:
This, perhaps is baffling but believe-you me, organic corn meal is proven to be one of those best remedies for toenail fungus. Corn is a healthy meal and is a staple food in some countries besides that, it is poisonous to Candida- a fungal parasite which causes infections in the body. It is also a good killer of the toenail fungus.
How to prepare corn meal:
Mix a cup full of corn flour with two quarts of water in a large tub then allow it to mix well. Soak your infected foot/feet in them for about an hour or more. Repeat the treatment as often as possible since corn meal is absolutely harmless.
14. Vicks VapoRub:
It is advisable to apply some VapoRub on your infected toenail regularly before you put on your socks. However you should thoroughly dry your feet before applying it to avoid mixing the emulsion with moisture which may advance the spread of the infection due to continuous breeding of the fungi. Despite the fact that it may take longer to heal up, the treatment is both cheaper and efficient.
15. Diet changes:
Sugar is a poison especially when it dominates your diets; too much consumption of sugar is linked to various health defects. It encourages growth of bacteria in the body therefore Doctors always counsel people to lower the sugar intake. Likewise, to halt the prevalence of microbes and nail fungus one should ensure the level of sugar intake is low. People living with diabetes are to take serious precautions since sugar prolongs the healing time for wounds and in some cases fail to heal up at all. Change your diet and implement the use of natural remedies; herbs for the treatment of nail fungus infections.
16. Orange oil rub:
Recent studies have shown that orange oil can be used as an effective remedy for nail fungus treatment. It contains both disinfectants and antibacterial properties which are good bacterial and fungal fighters. It is however not appropriate to use the oil on its own but dilute it a bit before applying it on the infected part of the nail.
- 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil.
- ½ teaspoon orange oil.
- ½ teaspoon grape seed/ olive oil.
- Cotton balls.
- Mix all the ingredients in one container, soak the cotton ball in the solution then press it gently on the infected part for about 10 minutes to allow it to penetrate the infected toenail.
- Air your foot/feet to dry. However if the infection is at its advanced stage then you should soak it in a warm water for about 30 minutes then trim the nail if in case it had started drifting from the nail bed.
- Scrub all the visible fungi off the infected area gently to discourage its spread.
17. Avoid tight fitting shoes:
Avoid wearing the tightly fitting shoes which make your feet sweaty and warm hence providing good breeding sites for the fungi. You can do kindness to your feet by putting on open shoes or sandals which allow air to freely circulate within your toes hence discourage moisture from pooling on them. This is a wise health practise which you should instil to discourage infections.
18. Epsom salt:
It is also a very effective homecare remedy for nail fungus treatment. All you ought to do is to mix two cups of hot water with 1/3 of a cup of Epsom salt then soak the infected foot/feet in this solution at least once or twice a day for about 30 minutes. It is advisable to do this exercise when you are relaxed, perhaps when you have retired from the tedious daily activities.
19. Gelatine, silica, biotin, vitamin C and fatty acids:
These are not primarily the treatments for toenail fungus but they are vastly known for helping the nails to grow back to replace the old infected one. They essentially act as supplements for growing new, shiny and healthy nails besides that, they also leave you hair and skin glossy.
20. Emerald boards and scissors:
It comes with disinfected scissors which you can use to trim your infected nails. The disinfecting scissors are quite imperative since it prevents the spread of the fungus to other nails. This remedy works uniquely: as you trim the nail, the disinfectant penetrates the exposed infected areas, ultimately fights the fungi and eradicating them permanently.
21. Grapefruit seed extract:
Studies reveal that grapefruit seed extract can act well just like other antibiotics or fungicides and at times it can do better than them. These extracts are best suited for curing nail fungus, yeast, athletes’ foot and candidiasis. It can be applied externally or internally. All you need is to apply the extract on the affected part at least twice or thrice a day. However you can also add a few drops in a glass of water and drink.
Garlic is a very profound home remedy to a wide range of diseases, it is equally important in treating nail fungus treatment. Besides being valued for its taste, it also has antibacterial and antifungal properties which are needed to combat the fungi infections. It has Ajoene which is an anti-leukaemia agent as well as a strong anti-fungal agent.
- 1 garlic for each infected toenail.
- Cotton gauze.
- Warm water.
- Wash cloth.
- Expose your infected foot/feet in some warmth so as to bring up the fungi to the surface then soak the cotton washcloth in warm water, wring the excess water then using the washcloth press the infected toe gently.
- Crush a clove of garlic then sandwich it in between the cotton gauze, place the gauze on the affected toenail then wrap it using a tape or gauze to hold it in place.
- Redress the infected area after 3-5 hours and dispose the used garlic. You can also eat 1-2 raw cloves daily to help you get rid of the fungus.
23. Lemon juice:
Lemon juice has both antiseptic and antifungal agents which make it very important for the human body. Its acidic content helps in balancing the body pH. It also hampers the growth and spread of fungi around the affected area.
- Apply the lemon juice directly on the infected toenail and let it penetrate for about 15 minutes then rinse it off, allowing your foot to dry completely.
- Alternatively, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and tape it to the infected area for about 15 minutes then rinse it off and leave your foot dry completely. The lemon juice can be diluted with olive oil in case they are too acidic then massage the infected toenails with the mixture 2-3 times a day until the toenail is healed.
24. Turmeric powder:
This is a commonly used remedy in India and China. It has been in use over centuries and has been proved to be quite effective since it contains antifungal and antibacterial agents. These agents are vital in fighting yeast and fungus. According to the scientific studies, this remedy acts by inhibiting the growth of fungi.
- 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder.
- Add some water to the turmeric powder to create a paste then apply it on the infected toenails then leave it to penetrate the infected area for at least 30 minutes. Clean it off but you may need to use warm water as the paste will leave stains on your skin. Repeat this procedure for about 3 times a day.
- Besides that, you can add some turmeric powder to a glass of milk and drink. Not only doesn’t it treat nail fungus infections but it also strengthens the immune system, kills yeast and destroys the fungal infections in the body.
25. Clove oil:
Clove oil has eugenol which is an antifungal, anaesthetic and antiseptic thus a good treatment for nail fungus. The capsaicin present in it is essential since helps to reduce pain as a result of the infection.
- 2-4 drops clove oil.
- 1 teaspoon olive/coconut oil.
- Apply the clove oil directly on the infected area. However you need to dilute it with coconut or olive oil especially if the skin around the affected area is broken or sensitive.
- Repeat the procedure 2-3 times a day for a faster relief.
- Medical treatments:
26. Medicated nail polish:
Doctors usually prescribe the ciclopirox (penlac) where you are required to paint it on the infected area and the surrounding skin once per day for about 7 days. You should regularly wipe off the layer, clean it with alcohol then reapply a fresh paint. It is advised to use this remedy for a year for it to effectively work.
27. Medicated nail cream:
When this antifungal cream is prescribed by a doctor, it supposed to be applied on the affected toenail after soaking them. You are however required to neatly trim you nails to become thin to allow the cream to penetrate effectively into the infected parts and hard nail surface.
28. Antifungal topical medicines:
They consist of cream, gels and lacquers which are applied to the infected toenails and the surrounding skin. They however work best with mild and moderate infections and helps keep at bay the infection from recurring. They also help in treating athlete’s foot from spreading to the nails. They are however not as effective as oral prescriptions.
29. Antifungal pills:
These oral pills are believed to be among the best toenail fungus treatment though they require special attentions since they have dreading side effects such as skin rashes and may also lead to liver damage. They are good for curing both mild and severe toenail infections. Itraconazole and Terbinafine are examples of such pills and can be taken for about 12 weeks for the infection to completely heal.
30. Removal of an infected nail:
This method is best applied in cases of severe infections or when fungal infection keeps recurring. It can be removed through surgery and at times do not need to be surgically removed. The remove is not mandatory but it helps to expose the infected area to allow medicine penetrate hence speeds up healing.
It is important to note that bacteria and fungi thrive in our body parts which we neglect to entreat with care. We need to uphold cleanliness at all cost. Always eat a well-balanced diet with low consumption of sugar and animal products which encourage growth of fungi. Employ the right health practices even when you are under medications. Nevertheless it is your responsibility to ensure you instil the right eating habit; avoid consuming food which will put your life in jeopardy. Discourage poor health behaviours hence discourage the growth and spread of fungus.