Toenail fungus can be painful, frightening, and, at times, even embarrassing, but you are not alone. Fungal infections on the skin are some of the most common human infections. While fungal nail infections are common and even easier to catch, what causes them?
Different types of molds and yeasts in the environment, which enter your nail and the surrounding skin through small cracks, cause the infections. Also known as onychomycosis, nail fungus cause your toenails to have a thick, crumbly edge that is distorted or have a dark build-up under the nail. Even more painful is the separation of the infected nail from its nail bed – a condition known as onycholysis.
If you are not sure how you caught the infection, consider the locker room, pool deck and walking barefoot in areas where someone else had toenail fungus. In addition, wearing the same pair of sweaty boots or shoes daily is also another possible cause.
A doctor might prescribe an oral antifungal drug that you need to take for between 6 and 12 weeks. Some of the side effects of the medication include swelling around the face or mouth and trouble breathing. It is also possible for you to develop hives, rashes, experience headaches, nausea, weight gain, heart problems and diarrhea.
A large list of side effects you do not need to experience just to get rid of the nasty toenail fungus. Fortunately, here are some natural remedies you might want to try out first.
Lavender oil is not only nature’s antiseptic, it also contains anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiviral properties that make it an effective remedy for your toenail fungus infection. The oil also helps in the stimulation of the body’s natural immune system. Something that is great for the treatment of nail fungus since the infection occurs frequently in individuals with a weakened immune system.
All you have to do is apply a couple of lavender oil drops directly to the infected areas every night and let it soak as you sleep. Cover feet with a pair of breathable, natural wool socks to prevent oil from being rubbed off. Continue treatment for about three weeks after the appearance of the infection.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the most effective at-home remedies for toenail fungus is to apply cider vinegar. Since the fungus thrives in an alkaline environment, vinegar increases acidity to balance the pH levels. Vinegar also contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties for fighting off infection and preventing recurrence.
Mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part Epsom salts and six parts warm water. While the water is still warm, soak feet twice every day for half an hour to get rid of the fungus. You can also pour apple cider vinegar drops directly on the affected nail, and repeat the procedure at least twice daily.
Another useful home remedy for fungus is cornmeal(preferably organic), which is a natural breeding platform for fungus. It kills Candida (an infection causing parasite) but harmless to humans. Mix a cup of cornmeal and about a liter of water in a container big enough to fit your feet. Let cornmeal soak in water for an hour and submerge infected feet (or foot) for about half an hour.
The ideal frequency of using this remedy is debatable, but several people have reported success from using it as little as once a week. Others prefer using it daily. Note that cornmeal is harmless to the skin and nails, so you use the treatment as often as you want.
You can combat toenail fungus without resorting to harsh chemicals using just coconut oil. Medium chain fatty acids almost work miracles when you consider their natural fungicidal properties. In order to sustain life, the fungal membrane is critical, which is why most antifungal treatments target the membrane.
Fatty acids, like those in coconut oil, insert themselves into the fungal membrane’s fat layer, distorting it and leading to the cell’s disintegration and ultimately destroy the fungus. To use this remedy, apply coconut oil to the affected area and let it naturally absorb and dry. You do not have to apply plenty of oil, just a thin layer will do – and repeat the application two to three times a day.
You can consistently work towards the prevention of toenail fungus by ensuring your feet are clean and dry. In addition, do not re-wear socks and, if possible, keep to open-toed shoes. You also need to be patient while getting rid of the fungus and for nails to grow back to their normal, healthy condition.
In order to achieve the best results while using the treatments above, trim back as much of the affected nail as possible with clean nail clippers. Disinfect the clippers after use to prevent spreading of the fungus. Use warm water to rinse your feet, and pat dry.