Toenail fungus, which doctors call onychomycosis, is unsightly and embarrassing; it can put quite a bit of a strain on your personal life.
For one, it can make it harder than necessary to shop for shoes. Open-toed shoes and sandals are out of the question because you don’t want to expose strangers to your fungus, while your socks can get even dirtier than usual after exposure to it and will need more washing than they usually do.
The more you wash them, the sooner it will be before they wear out. No one wants to have to continually deal with unsightly yellow spots, crackling, or the foul odors that can result from untreated toenail fungus.
However, it does not have to be this way.
You have the option to do something about it by using essential oils for toenail fungus.
Unlike a prescription pill, this is something you can put directly on your feet and toes. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t use just any old oil in an arbitrary amount and expect them to work.
You need to know which ones are the best to use and how much of them you need. Sometimes the difference is in the dosage.
Essential Oil For Toenail Fungus
In 2007, a study by the Korean Society of Mycology showed that clove oil, when applied directly to the skin, acts as a potent anti-fungal (1).
The vapor of the oil contributes to the prevention of new fungal spore development while the oil itself kills existing spores. A longtime staple of Eastern medicine, the active ingredient in clove oil is eugenol, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory compound found in various types of nut oils.
Eugenol is usually present in clove oil at a concentration of 60—90%.
If you are concerned that you might get irritated skin from a stray drop of oil splashing onto a place where it doesn’t belong, then you should try oregano oil for your toenail fungus.
More than just a seasoning, oregano has healing properties that can help fungal infections clear up without irritating your skin.
Its active ingredients are called thymol and carvacrol, two compounds that kill both bacteria and fungus (2).
Also known as melaleuca oil and initially discovered in Australia, tea tree oil contains many healing properties that can help control toenail fungus, but it requires a high concentration over an extended period to be effective.
However, unlike other essential oils that require dilution with a carrier oil before you can safely apply them to the skin, you can apply pure tea tree oil to the affected area twice daily with a cotton swab to reduce the severity of toenail fungus.
You can also mix tea tree oil with other oils, such as oregano oil, for even higher intensity and effectiveness in fighting toenail fungus.
For effective toenail fungus treatment that also smells great, give lavender oil a try.
Not only does it have a pleasant floral fragrance, but it also has potent antifungal properties that attack the dermatophytes and candida that can enable fungal infections (3).
However, to get the most out of it, try applying it to a cotton ball and affixing it onto the affected area with tape.
At first, it may seem strange that a plant that is also a flavor of candy may also be useful in clearing toenail fungus, but it’s the truth.
Peppermint oil has powerful ingredients that can help keep your toenails clean and free from fungal infection. It also has cooling and soothing properties that help relieve the pain a fungal infection can cause.
In addition, studies have shown that in a laboratory test, peppermint oil kills 11 out of 12 fungal and bacterial infections (4).
How to Use Essential Oils on Toenail Fungus
Before applying essential oils to your toes, make sure to keep your feet clean. Wash them in water to remove any dirt and impurities from the bottom of your feet.
Use soap if they’re filthy, then dry them off thoroughly with a towel.
Trim them before applying the oil to remove as much dead nail matter as possible.
Test a small amount of oil on the inside of your elbow to make sure they are safe to apply to your skin.
If it passes the safety test, then apply a couple of drops onto the affected area and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Scrub the nail gently with a soft, clean toothbrush.
Repeat the above steps every day until new, healthy nails have replaced old, infected ones. Essential oil treatment is not something you can do once or twice and expect to get any effect from it.
You will have to do it regularly, preferably every day, for it to work.
How to Keep Toenail Fungus From Coming Back
An old saying goes: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that more than applies to toenail fungus. Once you have successfully cleared the infection, there are many things you can do to keep it from coming back:
- Wash and dry your feet every day.
- Wear clean, sweat-absorbent socks made from breathable fabrics and wash your socks on a regular basis.
- Clean, trim, and file your nails regularly. If you can’t see your fingertips when you lay your hands on a flat surface, then it’s time to trim them.
- Wear flip-flops in places where your feet will come into contact with moisture, such as a locker room, a gym, or the area surrounding a swimming pool.
- Spray your shoes with antifungal spray. If this still does not work, then throw them out and buy new ones.
Circumstances Where You Should Not Use Essential Oils
Some people should not use essential oils because they might cause problems.
For instance, women who are pregnant or nursing should not expose their babies to them.
Some of them can also be toxic to children and pets if they try to consume them.
If you have sensitive skin or any severe health problems that require medical attention or prescription medications, then ask your doctor or primary care practitioner about whether or not essential oils interact with them or cause side effects.
Essential oils can be handy for fighting toenail fungus when you use them correctly on a regular basis.
Different types have different intensities, so make sure you find the right one for your feet.
Depending on the severity of your toenail fungus, you may even need to use a combination of various oils.
Once you start using them, you can look forward to having healthy, unbroken, normal-colored toenails again.
Put the power of healing in your hands — and your feet — with essential oils.
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