Toenail fungus is a particularly insidious malady that can really get under your skin, especially the skin around your toenails. It starts as a toenail turning a grimy yellow, and if left unattended, the toenail itself begins to flake and crack. Because the feet and toes are such an inviting spot for a fungus to get cozy — being all warm and wet— it won’t take long before the fungi begin to infect the skin causing athlete’s foot. The fungi don’t stop there either. The infection can catch on to other areas of the skin and even the fingernails. It is important to catch these conditions early before they have a chance to spread to other body parts.
Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can control the fungal problem while killing the yeasts and bacterias in the area. Simply create a mixture of half apple cider vinegar and half water, soak your toes or feet in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Tea Tree Oil is a highly potent essential oil that has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and has been used extensively for treating fungal conditions of the skin. For best results add a few drop of tea tree to a carrier oil, a teaspoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil will work well. Apply this mixture to the toes with a cotton ball and allow it to stand for at least 10 minutes. For best results, repeat this treatment twice a day.
This is a staple household item that has more functions than a Swiss Army Knife. It is not only an effective antifungal treatment but also deodorizes the smelliest of feet. Mix a half cup of baking soda with a fourth a cup of regular strength hydrogen peroxide. Mix this into a basin containing warm water and a half cup of white vinegar. Soak your feet for about ten minutes each day.
Some other less conventional home remedies that have gotten extensive publicity across the internet include soaking feet and nails in a mixture of warm water and listerine or coating the toenails with Vick’s Vapo-rub. As it stands, there have been no comments from the medical community on these treatments.
Many OTC treatments are also available from your local pharmacy. If you have attempted to treat your fungal condition using OTC or home remedies and have seen no improvement, even after 2 or 3 weeks of regular treatment, it is imperative that you have the condition diagnosed by a medical professional.
A doctor may take a sample of the affected nail to be analyzed in a lab where the presence of fungus can be confirmed. If a fungus is present, your doctor may apply one of the following treatments for controlling the fungus.
A doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication containing itraconazole or terbinafine, which have shown to minimize the fungal presence. These encourage the growth of new nails free of fungal infection. Medication will be continued for 6 to 12 weeks. The final results can be expected in about four months when the new nail grows in.
One of the most popular medicinal treatments is an antifungal nail polish called ciclopirox. As you probably imagine, the polish is applied daily to the affected nails and even the skin surrounding. After a week, the accumulated layers are removed, and the treatment begins again. Treatment can run for a year’s time.
Nail creams are another option. These are rubbed into the skin and nails after soaking them in warm water. This treatment is more effective if they have been thinned out first. A doctor can do this with a medical process called “debridement”, or with an OTC lotion that contains UREA.
If the conditions of the nail have gotten truly grim, or if they are causing pain, a doctor may decide that removing the nail is the best course of action. Sometime the nail will grow back after such a surgical, but it often takes a long time — even a year. More studies are being made on innovative procedures, including light and laser surgery combined with ciclopirox treatments.