Onychomycosis, or better known as toenail fungus, is a fungal infection that affects the toenails. This type of fungus prefers warm, moist environments, like gym showers and public pools. Unfortunately, human toes also present an ideal environment for the fungus, which is why the toenails are often the first body parts to become infected.
The symptoms of a toenail fungus infection are easy to identify. In many cases, the infection starts with a white or yellow spot under the tip of the toenail. The infected nail often becomes thicker than normal, and it can become yellow in color. The nail can also become brittle, loose, or have a warped appearance, so even ladies can't always hide it under nail polish.
Toenail fungus is resilient, but it's very treatable when addressed early on. Toenail fungus is often dealt with by being prescribed medication. However, those medications often come with many unpleasant side effects. Luckily, toenail fungus responds just as well to home remedies, which provide a natural, safe, and easy way to help treat fungal infections. One of the best home remedies to help with a toenail fungus infection is tea tree oil, an essential oil known especially for its purifying properties.
What is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the tea tree plant, and it's involved in various types of home remedies. It’s known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, used to treat everything from acne to dandruff. The oil has a camphor-like odor. Visually, it ranges from pale yellow to clear in color. It can be purchased in many drugstores without a prescription, so it's great to have around the house as a treatment for nail fungus.
As an antifungal treatment, tea tree oil is comparable to clotrimazole, one of the medications used to treat toenail fungus. Thanks to its properties, it can kill and prevent the growth of infection-causing microorganisms in the toenail. It also has minimal side-effects since it is a natural product, although it may cause irritation if you forget to dilute the oil before application.
With it being a natural and safe product, this oil is accessible, affordable, and it actually works to provide you with a cure for fungal nail infections, without the side effects of harsh chemicals.
Best Tea Tree Oil For Nail Fungus
How Does Tea Tree Oil Break Down Fungus?
Toenail fungus isn't exactly attractive. Many people hide their feet in socks and sneakers instead of addressing the larger issue of the actual toenail fungus. However, with summer right around the corner, perhaps it's time to try something new. Tea tree oil provides a simple and effective solution that truly works to make your feel feel and look much healthier, all without the harmful chemical additives and steroids that are often found in prescribed medications.
Tea tree oil attacks the build up of fungus by breaking down the structure of dermatophyte, more commonly known as the fungi that causes the appearance of yellow toenails. This fungi can be accidentally picked up from walking around public pools, while changing in locker rooms, and from other similar types of activity. Dermatophyte thrives in wet, warm environments, so feet unfortunately make the perfect host. It's not uncommon, but it's also not desirable.
Luckily, this oil is extremely potent in its antibacterial capabilities, so dermatophyte is no match for this powerful natural treatment. Once it's applied, it seeps down into the bed of the nail and starts to infiltrate the accumulated bacteria. It takes time, but you will notice a steady improvement as long as you are consistent with your applications.
Once you start to see some improvement, it's important that you shave away the access part of the nail so that more oil can seep into the lower layers of the nail for continued improvement. Remember: You must dilute the oil before using it or you can have some undesirable reactions.
How to Prepare Your Nails
Nail treatments for fungus work to target the fungus on and around the toenail. Preparing your nails for an application is the best way to ensure fast results and a speedy recovery. The goal is to allow the oil to coat and penetrate the entire nail, so the fungal nail must be clean and free of any dead nail tissue or nail polish. Carefully follow these steps to prepare for your nail fungus treatment :
Step 1: Trim Nails with Nail Clipper
Because infected nails tend to be very thick, you will likely need an extra large clipper for this task. Carefully trim off excess growth and any dead portions of the nail, and try to get the nail to be even and straight across. This allows the oil to penetrate the nail faster, and it also promotes healthy growth so you can get rid of the toenail fungus. Be careful not to cut too much, as the oil can burn if you cut the nail down too short.
Step 2: File with a Coarse Nail File
After clipping the nail, use a nail file to buff away any remaining dead areas on the nail. This is to ensure that the oil has an opportunity to cover as much of the infected nail as possible and get down into the deepest layer to help fight the fungal infection.
Step 3: Gently Cleanse with Soap and Water
Cleansing removes any remaining debris that may be left over. It also kills bacteria that may interfere with the antibacterial properties of the oil breaking down the nail fungus. Clean in the area between the toes, and rinse off all traces of soap. Make sure your feet are completely dry after cleansing to stop even further fungal growth.
How to Apply
Tea tree oil can be harsh or irritating in its undiluted form, so it's important to remember this before applying the oil straight to your shil. Before using it to treat a skin condition, the oil should first be diluted with another carrier oil, such as jojoba, almond, coconut, or olive oil. Once the oil has been diluted, it can be applied to the infected nail with a dropper or a cotton ball, or you can paint it on like nail polish as a fungal nail treatment.
To treat a toenail fungus infection, coat the affected area liberally with oil. Then, gently scrub the area with a toothbrush to push the oil deep into the nail. Instead of using a towel, allow your feet to dry naturally. For best results, perform this treatment twice a day. You may also choose to soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of oil as part of your at-home treatment.
Here Are Some Recommended Tea Tree Oils:
#1 Rated Fungus Destroyer
Artizen Tea Tree Essential Oil (100% PURE & NATURAL - UNDILUTED) Therapeutic Grade
100% Pure Tea Tree Oil Natural Essential Oil with Antifungal Antibacterial Benefits
PURA D’OR Tea Tree Melaleuca Essential Oil (4oz / 118mL)
Beyond Fuji Organic Tea Tree Oil
Preventing Toenail Fungus
Fungal nail infections can take several months to a year to clear, but it's important that you treat toenail fungus before it gets worse. It may take some time before any changes are seen, but it definitely works, and it's your healthiest option to treat toenail fungus. Being consistent and applying your oil every day will help you see faster results.
Once an infection has cleared, taking preventative measures is the best way to defend yourself from repeat infections. Practicing good hygiene is the first step to healthy feet and lessening the chances of a fungal infection.
Here are some other tips to help keep your toenails safe from fungus and its undesirable side effects:
- Always keep feet clean and dry
- Trim nails once a week
- Wear breathable socks
- Don’t go barefoot in public places
- Wear correct-sized shoes
- Change socks daily
- Use foot powder
Precautions While Using Tea Tree Oil
Although it's natural and safe, there are a few things to keep in mind while using this oil on your body to treat infections. This oil is toxic if ingested, and it should be reserved for topical use only. If not, it may cause undesirable side effects. It can also cause skin irritation in some people, so performing a skin patch test before using it is highly recommended. If an infection gets worse or doesn’t seem to improve after several months, you should consult a doctor for medical advice. Finally, always make sure that your oil comes from a reputable and safe source so you can trust that it'll work to safely clear up infections.
Tea tree oil isn’t just good to treat toenail fungus. Historically, it's been used in many home remedies to treat a variety of other conditions, which include the following:
- Bad breath
- Minor cuts, wounds, and burns
- Contact dermatitis
- Head lice
- Dry skin
- Athlete’s foot
Toenail fungus is one of the most stubborn conditions that can strike our feet, and it can be very difficult to hide during the summer months. It can be quite embarrassing to show yellowed toenails, and if the fungus spreads, it can be very uncomfortable to deal with. Fortunately, most of us can access a powerful toenail fungus treatment right in our medicine cabinets, and it's a safe and natural way of treating unwanted fungal growths. Applying it twice a day to the nail fungus can relieve the symptoms of toenail fungus and prevent new fungal infections from taking hold. The benefits are enormous, which is why it’s one of the most popular essential oils on the market today.
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