Toenail fungus is an incredibly annoying condition which can cause the toenails of your feet to turn yellow in color, thanks to a fungal infection that rapidly spreads throughout the nails, and even affects the skin underneath. However, the simple color change is not all that you have worry about. Your toenails will become thick, flaky, and might even crumble at the tips. Large and distinct crack lines will begin to appear across the length of the toenail, and the infection may even spread to other parts of your feet if it is overlooked. The main type of fungus responsible for this condition is “Candida”, and as we are about to show you, there are more than enough homemade counters to deal with this pesky little parasitic microbe.
People with athlete’s foot, psoriasis, etc. are more likely to be affected by this condition. However, the main reason for developing this condition is poorly maintained feet. And by poorly maintained, we mean continuous exposure to moisture, high pH levels in the nails or feet, or untended cracks/chips in the toenails. You see, fungi love three things :
- Slightly acidic conditions
- Tiny cracks
When they find wet toenails with little cracks in them, the fungus spores instantly make these spots there brand new residence of choice. What’s worse is they will grow even faster if your feet tend to be more acidic than that of others due to specific work conditions or exposure to certain types of soil. Also if you don’t use pH-neutral soaps or lotions for your feet, then you probably run the risk of contracting this condition much more easily.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus :
So how do you know if your toenails are affected by a fungal invasion? Well, that should be pretty easy. You’ll notice a gradual change in the color of your toenails from a light yellow, to a dark orange-yellow over the period of a few months. Your toenails will begin to thicken and crumble towards the front, and little ridges or micro cracks will begin to appear on the top of your nails. Also, you might find some white spots in the midst of an otherwise yellowish toenail. In some extreme cases, the toenail will actually loosen and begin to detach from the underlying patch of skin.
In almost all cases, this infection is caused when people with sweaty feet wear poor quality synthetic socks, or when they expose their feet to moisture all the time (possibly due the nature of their workplace). Sweaty and stinky feet will eventually lead to a fungal infection (where do you think that smell comes from? Yep, it is fungus and bacteria).
Some Tips to Counter Fungal Infection :
While you can’t GUARANTEE the fact that you’ll never catch a toenail fungal infection, there are plenty of steps that you can take to ensure that you stay safe. We are going to state some of them over here so that you will be able to follow these during your daily life (trust us, they are really simple)
- Never wear cheap synthetic socks for extended periods (more than 2-3 hours), especially if you live in hot and humid places. Use a proper cotton sock that feels breathable and smooth.
- Always wash your feet on a daily basis with a good quality pH-neutral soap, or even a slightly basic solution.
- Don’t walk around barefoot in public pools, showers, or locker rooms. If you want, you can use special shower shoes for the aforementioned scenarios.
- Replace old and worn out footwear on a regular basis, and always check your socks at the beginning of the day to make sure they are clean and non-smelly.
- Try antifungal nail paint if you already suffer from athlete’s feet.
- Don’t stress out when you discover that you’ve got a toenail fungal infection. These are completely harmless and will only cause some mild inconvenience in even the most extreme cases of infection. However, make sure that you get the toenails checked out by a physician or dermatologist to make sure that it is a case of toenail fungal infection, and not something like psoriasis.
If you follow all of the above mentioned steps, it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever come in contact with this situation. However, if you’ve already been hit by it and are wondering how you can get rid of those annoying fungal deposits inside your nails, then read on below for some really cool tips and remedies. The list contains 10 natural and 100% homemade treatments for toenail fungal infections, so you don’t have to worry about any chemical treatments or (God forbid) nail surgeries. There is a limit to how effective these can be, and if you have contracted a case of extremely severe toenail fungal infection then you probably need to consult with your physician or dermatologist immediately. You can know how severe the condition of your infection is by taking a look at the color of your toenail and its thickness, as well as the intensity of the cracks and chips on its surface.
Remedies for Toenail Fungal Infections (100% natural, most are homemade) :
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Soak:
Baking soda isn’t exactly a fungicidal substance, i.e. it does not kill the fungi. However, it is “fungi-static”, which means that it will stop the fungal infection from spreading to other parts of the nail. This is because of its slightly alkaline nature. Take 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda, and keep a cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar nearby. Now, take a large trough or bucket to soak your feet in, and add some lukewarm water. Keep paper towels nearby. Mix the cup of vinegar with half a bucket of water, and soak your feet for 30 minutes, following which you’ll pat them dry and soak your feet in half a bucket of water to which you have added 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda. The vinegar will kill fungi, while baking soda will prevent them from spreading. Keep your feet dry after each soaking session, and remember to drain away the vinegar water before you prepare the baking soda solution. DO NOT add the baking soda to vinegar water, as it will react and the alkaline effect will be nullified.
2. Plain old Coconut Oil:
Take some natural coconut oil (pure and unadulterated), and rub it onto your affected toenails gently. Use a glove and keep some soap nearby to wash your hands when you’re done. Just rub a thin layer onto the nail, no need to smother it with oil, since you just need to make sure that the nail absorbs whatever oil you applied on it. The rest will dry off naturally. Applying too much oil will result in a slimy, slippery mess that won’t even dry off. Repeat this process for 2-3 times daily. The fatty acids found in coconut oil work as natural fungicides. These acid molecule chains insert themselves into the lipid layer of fungal cell membranes, disrupting normal functioning of the fungal cells, which results in cellular disintegration.
3. Some Orange Oil/Tea Tree Oil:
This is a tried and tested method that you’ll find on many natural remedy sites as well as therapy books. You see, tea tree oil happens to be a natural disinfectant since it has both antifungal as well as antibacterial properties. Orange oil is slightly acidic in nature, and is also capable of harming fungal cells. Remember to dilute the mixture of essential oils before you apply them onto the nail. Mix together a teaspoon of tea tree oil, and half a teaspoon each of orange oil and grape seed/olive oil. Soak a cotton ball in this concoction and apply it gently onto the affected nail. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to water and soak your feet in it. Use whichever method feels more convenient to you, but know that they are both equally effective.
4. The Olive Leaf Extract Treatment:
Olive leaf extracts are considered to be among some of the most effective natural antibacterial and antifungal substances that you can possibly consume. In this case you will not be consuming the oil, but you’ll apply the extract onto your yellowish fungus-invaded toenails. Olive leaf extract is a powerful detoxifier, so your body might experience some discomfort when you begin to use this particular treatment. However, it won’t last for long and you might want to reduce the concentration of the extract while your body gradually releases all of the accumulated toxins. Once all of the toxins have been released from the skin on your toes, the antifungal characteristics of olive leaf extracts begin to kick in, and you should be able to notice a significant change in the condition of your toenails within a couple of weeks. The yellowish color will begin to wear off, and the nails will not seem as chipped or crumbly as they used to.
5. Try Cornmeal Water:
Ever used organic cornmeal? Well, this time it will do more than serve as a completely uninteresting and discomfortingly bland-tasting food item. Cornmeal when dissolved in water can transform into a potent antifungal substance. Because the naturally present fungus species on cornmeal granules are harmless to humans but deadly to Candida (a common type of fungal parasite found in infected toenails), the cornmeal solution will murder millions of fungal cells every time you soak your feet in it. To prevent further growth of fungi after you destroy them in the millions, you can use a baking soda solution right after the cornmeal foot bath.
6. Baking Soda with Sodium Borate:
What do you need to do in order to completely cure your toenails of a deadly fungal infection? Well, first you need to kill the fungi. The, you need to make sure they never grow back EVER again, or else your feet will be full of the little cellular pests right after you carry a mass extermination targeted at them, thanks to the extreme speeds at which their cells multiply. So what we suggest you, is to mix a powerful fungicidal compound with a substance that stops them from spreading. The fungicidal component of our home-made mixture will be sodium borate- a compound that excels at wiping out pesky little fungal cells. Then you have baking soda- its alkaline properties prevent fungi from spreading. Mix equal parts of baking soda and sodium borate in water to create a paste, and gently rub the nails with it. Make sure the paste is neither too thick, nor too thin. Do this twice daily, for two weeks and observe the magic!
7. Oregano Oil :
Oregano leaves have strong antifungal characteristics. So what you need to do in this method is mix a couple drops of oregano oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil. The carrier oil can be any oil as long as it does not react with, or alter the properties of the oregano extracts. We suggest using olive oil or tea tree oil along with the oregano extracts for maximum benefits. Apply this mixture of essential oils upon the affected area with the help of a cotton swab and clean your hands with soap when you’re done. Let the nails absorb as much oil as they can, the rest will dry off naturally. Do not apply too much oil, as the nails can only absorb a specific amount and the rest will simply take too long to naturally evaporate, resulting in a sticky mess (Something you definitely don’t need on top of that sore toe).
In the end we would like to emphasize on the importance of proper hygiene for your feet as well as hands. Use cotton socks, do not keep your feet wet for long periods of time, and always wash the nails and toe spacing thoroughly with some soap or pH-neutral (could even be slightly basic) solutions. And- always consult with your dermatologist or physician if you notice that he problem isn’t going away after trying any of the above mentioned remedies. Whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to scrape, cut, or slice the affected toenails by yourself as that could lead to further complications. If the condition becomes too severe and the nail begins to detach itself from the toe, then the doctor might recommend surgical removal of the affected portion or laser therapy. The above mentioned natural treatments are strictly for early-medium stages of fungal development in your toenails.