Home Spun Remedies For Toenail Fungus Infections
Conditions That Put You At Risk
infections are very common, contagious and sometimes hereditary. They are common because the fungus that causes these infections is everywhere, and can infect anyone, given the right conditions. This is where your genes comes in. If you have been blessed with relatively healthy nails, it is unlikely, given normal conditions, that you will contract a toenail fungus. On the other hand, if you have soft, porous nails that often split and break, you may be in danger of getting nail infections. Other factors that can cause toenail fungus infections are wearing shoes that are too small, or that have a constricted toe box (the area where the toes fit), wearing nylon socks or non-leather shoes which cause excessive sweating, and wearing the same pair of shoes continuously, which doesn't allow them to dry out properly between use. Keeping your feet clean and dry and in the open air as much as possible, is the best remedy for preventing toenail fungus infections.
What To Do If You're Already Infected
The first thing you must know when searching for a treatment for toenail fungus infections is that no treatment works for everyone. This is because toenail infections may be caused by a number of different types of fungus. You can have your doctor take a sampling of your nail to be analyzed, so that you will know exactly what type of fungus you have. This may be helpful in making decisions as to what treatment strategy to use. Most people will use a combination of topical prescription products and home remedies. As a general rule, most people will need a combination of both in order to get completely free of nail infections. Lastly, you must be prepared to be diligent with whatever treatment you use and know that it will take time before you begin to see any improvement. The biggest enemy to a cure is getting "burned out." Many people get tired of applying products, and not seeing any progress. Know that it could take a month or more, before you begin to see improvement. One recommendation would be to take a photo of your nails before starting any treatment, and then comparing your toes to that photo, every 3 or 4 weeks. The following is a summary of most of the remedies that have been recommended and/or tried by others. I have purposely avoided any toenail fungus treatment methods that seemed too inconvenient or difficult, as these methods would be unlikely to be diligently followed. Remember, consistency and diligence will make the difference for you.
Principle Number One: Getting the Treatment to Absorb
The toenail fungus infection is embedded under the nail bed. In order for any treatment to be affective, you must get the product to be absorbed into the nail. There are several home remedies for helping this process.
1. The first and foremost method is to lightly sand the outer surface of your nails several times per week, which makes the nail more absorbent.
2. Listerene Mouthwash and vinegar or undiluted lemon juice: The alcohol in the mouthwash and the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice will help your nails be more absorbant. Listerene also contains salicylate thymol and euchalyptol, which have strong anti-fungal properties. It is recommended that you mix equal parts of the mouthwash and the vinegar or lemon juice. Since soaking would require too much of the mouthwash, you could try applying this liquid to the nails, using a sterile cotton ball, and then wrapping the toe to keep the cotton ball in place. This seems a bit cumbersome, and remember, if it's not relatively simple to do, it won't get done. I would recommend picking up cheap band-aids at the dollar store. Soak the absorbent pad of the band-aid with the liquid mixture, using a q-tip and then wrap the toe, making sure the soaked cotton pad is tightly fastened to the nail. After wrapping each toe, cover your feet with clean cotton (only cotton) socks and leave this on overnight. Lightly brush toenails before dressing for the day so that you are applying this mixture twice per day. Discontinue if the treatment is irritating to your skin.
3. Olive Oil and Lemon Juice: The acid in the lemon juice will help control the toenail fungus and will make your nails absorb better and the olive oil will help soften the nails and skin. It is important to keep your feet exfoliated because the fungus will thrive under the layers of dry, cracked and peeling skin on your feet. This method would need to be used in conjunction with an addition anti-fungal treatment such as one of the over the counter or prescription topical treatments.
4. 91% Isopropyl Alcohol: This is another product that will help your nails absorb better. You should apply the alcohol to each nail, using a q-tip and then apply a topical anti-fungal treatment. Using bandaids soaked with the topical ointment and the alcohol would also improve your results. This process should only be done at night, when you can cover your feet with clean cotton socks. Do not attempt to wear band-aids on your toes during the day when wearing shoes.
5. Bleach: A number of testimonies have attributed complete cures to the use of bleach. Bleach is a very strong substance and can burn the skin is used undiluted. I am reluctant to recommend trying this solution, but if nothing else works, you might want to give it a try. Carefully apply bleach to your nail using a q-tip and taking care not to get it on your skin and being careful not to let drops of the liquid fall onto surfaces that could be ruined by bleach. I would recommend following up with a topical toenail fungus treatment and I wouldn't recommend using the band-aid soaked in bleach, for fear of burning the skin around the toenail.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide: This is another method of disinfecting and causing your nails to better absorb other toenail fungus treatments. It can be applied in the same way that you would apply alcohol (as instructed above) and used in conjunction with a topical anti-fungal treatment.
Toenail Fungus: Topical Anti-fungal Treatments
Before talking about home remedies, I should mention that there are several topical treatments that your doctor can prescribe. They will usually take a culture of your nail, before recommending a particular treatment. Some doctors will recommend a oral prescription of one of the following drugs: 1. Sporanox (Itraconazole) 2. Lamisil (Terbinafine) 3. Diflucan (Fluconazole). All these drugs have contraindications for certain medical conditions. They also have some serious side affects and risks. The whole premise behind using the oral medications is getting the drug underneath the nail where the infection is breeding. Oral Lamisil has been proven to be effective in eradicating infection under the skin and nails. If you are healthy enough (your doctor can advise you about this), I strongly recommend trying the oral medication. You must be diligent to take it everyday for the prescribed time. Once your nails start to clear up, I would also suggest starting to use a new pedicure product called Barefoot. This product has a time released anti-fungal ingredient. It seals your nails, keeping out the moisture which encourages infections. Click here if you'd like to
learn more about Barefoot.
If you aren't comfortable using an oral medication, your next best alternative would be one of the prescription topical treatments. You should try using one of the solutions mentioned above to help the medicine be absorbed better into the nails. The reason that many have not had success is because they have not tried these products in conjunction with solutions which will help carry the product through the nail, to the nail bed. Don't forget that the most important method will be to reduce the thickness of the nail by daily (if very thick) or weekly filing.
Natural Anti-Fungal Treatments
1. Vicks Vapo-Rub. This ointment has many ingredients which have anti-fungal and medicinal properties. It's a great product to use in conjunction with above mentioned methods of improving absorbency. It's also great to use this product after applying one of the topical prescription or over the counter ointments. It will help seal in the treatment and will add additional anti-fungal properties. It's also a great method of controlling athletes feet. Just use a q-tip to apply ointment liberally to toenails, between toes and especially dry, scaly skin areas. Cover with cotton socks and apply this ointment nightly before bed and in the morning, after showering and before dressing.
2. Tea Tree Oil: This natural oil has been found to be anti-fungal and is widely recommended as a treatment for toenail fungus. You should use it in conjunction with one of the methods mentioned above, and it should be applied at least twice per day. There is an amazing new polish, developed by a podiatrist. This polish does not have toxic ingredients present in most commercial polishes. It does have tea tree oil and garlic bulb extract. Click here to learn more about
Dr's Remedy polishes.
3. Baking soda and/or salt: Another relatively cheap and readily available product which has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties is baking soda. I would recommend using it in conjunction with other methods mentioned here. The idea is to lightly dust your feet and shake off the excess. Some people have claimed to be completely cured of toenail fungus by simply using one of these products alone however I have repeatedly recommended using a number of products. No one method works for everyone and without the ability to scientifically test all products on your specific family of fungi, the best policy is to be flexible and try a lot of things.