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Don’t Go Green: Natural Solutions To Toenail Fungus

Dr. Umar Mushtaq

3 min read

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Toenail fungus, is generally not taken seriously by people and they usually just consider as an asthetic problem and not a health issue. The reality is however a little different. Toenail fungus is a medical problem. The medical term for toenail fungus is Onychomycosis, and it is caused by the fungus Candida, which results in hardened, discolored and unsightly toenails. But you may not have to go to the pharmacy to deal with it, we have found that there are a number of natural solutions to toenail fungus.

While largely classified as a cosmetic problem, it can turn into a health hazard very soon. People with diabetes face potential unhealing sores if they neglect toenail fungus for very long. It can even lead to a case of the dreaded diabetic foot which can ultimately lead to limb loss.

Since most medications cause side effects-like hives, liver damage and heart problems, to name a few, it is sometimes smart to deal with minor problems through natural remedies. In this article, we are listing down some natural solutions to toenail fungus as recommended by the dermatologists.

Here are the five commonly used natural solutions to toenail fungus.

1- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

With impressive antifungal properties, ACV can be taken topically or orally. For 20 minutes a day, twice a week, mix 1 part ACV and Epsom salts in 6 parts hot water, wait until its warm, and soak. In case of irritation, add more water and reduce soaking time to 15 minutes, 3 days a week. You can also drink 2 tablespoons ACV in 8 ounces of warm water daily, with a teaspoon of honey for sweetening.

2- Essential Oils

Apply undiluted tea tree oil on infected nails and surrounding areas, let it soak for 10 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Alternatively, add a few drops of oregano oil to 1 tsp of olive or almond oil and apply, letting it rest for 30 minutes before rinsing and drying off. Clean over and around the infected areas with rubbing alcohol before treatment for optimum utilization of the fungicidal and antiseptic properties of these oils.

Oil Leaf Extract

There are believed to be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to olive oil extract. This supplement may also stimulate the immune system, which can help fight off nail fungus. You might have a headache or GI problems as a side effect if you’re not careful about which company you’re buying from.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an excellent home treament option for toenail fungus due to its antiseptic and fungicidal properties. Begin by soaking nail clippers in rubbing alcohol to sterilize them before cutting off as much of the dead nail as you can. After you have removed as much of the dead nail as possible, apply the tea tree oil. Allow it to sit for about ten minutes, being careful to avoid the surrounding skin. You can dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier such as olive or almond oil to make it less potent. Repeat this process twice to thrice a day.  It might take upto 6 months for this to fully work.

Orange Oil

Use a dropper to squeeze the oil onto the toenails and between the toes. Leave it on for about an hour (less if you have sensitive skin). Be sure to test an area of skin before applying to the infected location to determine whether the oil needs to be diluted with coconut or olive oil.

3- Corn Meal (Makai ka aata)

The naturally occurring fungus in corn is an efficient Candida killer, so soak your feet in a 1 cup cornmeal and 2 quarts water mixture for 1 hour, submerging them again for half an hour. Do this thrice a week, or as often as you please, until your toenails are cleared of fungus.

4- Baking Soda and Sodium Borate (Borax)

A paste of equal parts borax and baking soda in an adequate amount of water, when rubbed twice a day on wet feet, acts as a fungicide and prevents the acidic environment (ideal for fungi) from developing and spreading, providing an efficient cure for infected toenails. Continue the treatment for 2 weeks after disinfection to avoid reinfection.

5- Bleach

Due to its caustic nature (irritating to the eyes and skin), only 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water is recommended. Soak for 30 minutes daily for 8 weeks; or add 1-2 drops of bleach to petroleum jelly, apply on feet and rinse thoroughly after 15 minutes for a faster alternative. Filing and trimming the nails as close as possible to the nail beds, and, inadvertently the fungus, is required in both cases.

6- Garlic

Garlic is the last item on our list of natural solutions to toenail fungus but it is in no way any less in its effectiveness.Mix equal amounts of garlic oil and white vinegar. Apply on infected nail(s), bandage firmly and remove after a few hours. Repeat daily until the infection clears to take maximum advantage of the antifungal and pH lowering properties of garlic and white vinegar, respectively. Garlic oil can be made by straining two crushed garlic cloves fried in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Check for allergies on small patches of the skin before beginning treatment, and consult a specialist immediately in case of pain in infected nail(s). You can also book and appointment with a top Dermatologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your skin-related issues.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Umar Mushtaq - Author Dr. Umar Mushtaq is a dermatologist based in Lahore. He has expertise in the treatment of acne scars, birthmarks, wrinkles, pigmentations, age spots, and freckles. You may book an appointment with him via oladoc.com.
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