We all love to flaunt perfectly shaped manicured nails and the last thing you would want is a nail infection. A fungal nail infection, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, happens when a fungus that’s normally in your finger- or toenails overgrows.
Nail fungus is a common condition that starts with white, yellowish or brownish discoloration of the tip of your fingernail or toenail. It may even turn green or black. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to thicken and crack at the edge. If you have a fungal infection on your foot, the fungus can spread to one or more of your nails. This is quite common. Scroll down for the causes, symptoms of fungus on nails and effective remedies and treatment of how to get rid of nail fungus.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
- Thickened Nails
- Discoloration of Nails (May be White, Yellowish or Brownish)
- Brittle Nails which can crack and crumble easily
- Flaky Nails
- Nails distorted in shape
- Foul Smell from the nail debris (at times)
What Causes of Nail Fungus
Wet and Moist Areas
Fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Having wet nails for a long time can also lead to nail fungus.
Common Spreading Place
Sharing space with someone who is having nail fungus and walked barefoot there, all you have to do is walk barefoot in the same area. You can contract a variety of diseases from communal showers, such as those swimming pools or the gyms, are common sources for fungi infections.
Athlete’s Foot Fungus
People with athlete’s foot are more prone to have fungal nails, since the causative fungus may infect the toenails.
Sweaty Tight Shoes
Wearing sweaty and tight shoes may invite nail infection. Fingernails that are wet for hours at a time due to a job or hobby are also susceptible to fungal infections.
Application of Nail Polish or Acrylic Nails
Many people also get fungus due to acrylic nails or nail polish. They might hide the symptoms for a while, but eventually they will only make it worse. Always try to wear an anti-fungal polish.
How to Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
The cure for infected nails depends on the type and severity of the fungal infection of the the nails (fingernails or toenails) There are some home remedies and tips which are natural and can be made easily and some medicine treatment (over the counter) to cure the fungus. Let’s browse through the list.
Natural Home Remedies for Nail Fungus *Fast*
Here are some of the best tried-and-tested home cures and ways for treating nail fungus that have been used by people from a long time which give quick results.
Apply Tree Tea Oil
Tea tree oil, also called melaleuca, is an essential oil with great anti-fungal and antiseptic properties that are effective in treating nail fungus. Studies prove that it can aid in curing the infection.
See how to apply Tree Tea Oil for nail fungus removal.
White vinegar is a highly recommended way to treat nail fungus since it helps in restoring the pH balance of the skin and helps in fighting the infection. Studies show Soaking the feet in vinegar for about 15-20 minutes in one part vinegar and three parts water may help reduce the growth of fungus on the nail.
Baking soda can be used to treat nail fungus effectively and eliminate foot odor at the same time. It has great antiseptic, anti fungal, and alkaline properties which are used to treat a variety of infections.
Use Oregano Oil
Listerine to Treat Fungal Infection
Listerine contains ingredients such as menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Supporters of the treatment recommend soaking the affected foot in a basin of Listerine for 30 minutes daily. This is highly recommended by users so its a must-try.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is considered to be one of the best cures for nail fungus. It is also known as ‘nature’s antibiotic’, due to its antimicrobial, anti-fungal and immune-boosting properties. Olive leaf extract has a substance called “oleuropein” that allow it to kill any fungus, bacteria, virus, etc. You can apply olive leaf salve directly to nail fungus or ingest in capsule form. Treating nail fungus with natural ways is always better than medication.
Best Essential Oils for Treating Nail Fungal Infection Quickly
Oils like Lemongrass oil, Neem oil, Coconut oil, Ozonized oils like olive oil and sunflower oil are great for treating nail infections. These oil have wonderful healing powers. They are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial in nature curing the fungal infection quickly.
Vicks VapoRub for Nail Fungus
Vicks VapoRub is regarded as one of the best home remedies for treating nail fungal infection and toenail fungus and also clearing up athlete’s foot. It has active ingredients, camphor and eucalyptus oil, may help treat toenail fungus effectively. Studies show Vicks VapoRub had a “positive clinical effect” in the treatment of nail fungus.
Watch Your Diet
Diet is important for a good immune system, so proper nutrition can help to fight nail fungus and infections.
- Enough protein to support nail regrowth
- Enough iron to prevent brittle nails
- Probiotic-rich yogurt
- A diet rich in essential fatty acids
- Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as low-fat dairy products
- Drinking a lot of water to flush out toxins
Quick Tips to Prevent Nail Fungus (Finger Nails & Toe Nails)
DIY home remedies for fungal nail infection are effective, and sometimes time taking. You need to take certain precautions to avoid complications. The following habits can help prevent nail fungus or reinfections and athlete’s foot, which can lead to nail fungus.
- Keep your hands and feet as clean and dry as possible.
- Wear waterproof footwear in pool areas and locker rooms which are wet and damp
- Wear sweat-absorbing socks and change them regularly.
- Groom your nails regularly. Trim nails straight across, smooth the edges with a file and file down thickened areas. Disinfect your nail clippers after each use.
- Discard old sandals and shoes and treat them regularly with disinfectants or anti fungal powders.
- Avoid tight hosiery, which promotes moisture retention, and wear synthetic fabric socks that wick moisture away from feet better than cotton or wool.
- Improve your immune system.
Nail Fungus Treatment Over the Counter (OTC)
Nail Infections are more common than you may think and is considered as a cosmetic problem. DIY Home remedies and natural treatment may be more effective for mild-to-moderate nail fungus infections. If you have a strong infection under the nail bed, however, a home remedy ‘might’ not be powerful enough to kill it and you may need OTC solutions and medicines to cure them.
Your doctor may prescribe antifungal drugs that you take orally or apply to the nail. In some situations, it helps to combine oral and topical antifungal therapies. Consult your doctor if you feel the natural cures are not working and the condition is deteriorating.
Laser Treatment is Expensive *No Proven Record*
Laser treatment to cure nail fungus is a new way to treat a nail infection by focusing laser energy directly on the infected area. The laser light passes through the toenail and is supposed to kill the fungus without causing damage to the nail or surrounding skin.
The Bottom Line
Home remedies ke longer to wipe out toenail fungus than prescription topical medications or oral systemic antifungals. You may not see results for several months. Reinfection is common. Once the infection is gone, keep your toenails dry, clean, and well-trimmed.
Severe cases of toenail fungus may cause pain and irreversible toenail damage. If you try home remedies to treat the infection and they don’t work or cause side effects, consult your doctor.