Nail fungus, or onychomycosis in medical terms, is a stubborn fungal infection that can stay on for years if left untreated. Symptoms are not hard to detect so treatment can be started right in its early stages. The infection starts as a noticeably discolored streak on the nail surface or underside. This will eventually lead to a brown or gray-colored nail that is thickened, brittle and deformed. As the infection progresses, it can become an unpleasant sight to look at and painful enough to make walking rather difficult.
Certain factors can make you more susceptible to nail fungus. Among these are:
- your genetic makeup
- the impaired immune system caused by your current medical condition, like diabetes for instance
- infection by a household member through sharing footwear and other personal items
- walking barefoot in moist dirty ground
- catching the fungus in public areas like pools
A lot of individuals mistakenly assume that fungal infections like onychomycosis will simply go away on their own. They will only get around to treating the infection when they begin to feel pain or if it causes embarrassment. Taking strong and expensive over-the-counter medications can cause some adverse health issues, especially if your immune system has been weakened or compromised. It’s good to know, however, that you can use natural and organic tea tree oil to effectively treat stubborn toenail fungus. If you decide on the natural treatment method, using Australian tea tree oil is the smart and effective path to take. If you doubt that natural oil won’t be as good as commercially-sold fungal medications, then you need to think twice. You can be in for a big surprise.
Reasons for Using Tea Tree Oil for Toenail Fungus
Tea tree oil is derived from the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia). While the tree grows abundantly in Australia, it can also be found in other countries as well. For centuries, tea tree oil has been used in herbal medicine to treat various health problems. It is also an effective medication against a host of dermatological disorders. With its plethora of medicinal uses, you may wonder what the secret behind tea tree oil is.
- Tea tree oil contains antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that can be used in fighting even resistant types of skin and nail infections.
- It is easy to use especially when you have to apply it daily.
- Tea tree oil is a powerful fungicide and, thus, is an effective treatment against toenail fungus. It is found to be comparable to clotrimazole, a popular commercial fungicidal drug for the treatment of fungal nail infections.
- Tea tree oil is a less expensive alternative to high-cost commercial drug brands. This makes it a wise and practical choice as it can save you several hundred dollars on antifungal treatments that may not prove to be as effective.
- The oil is not limited to toenail fungus alone. You can also use it to treat other skin disorders such as acne, cold sores, eczema, and psoriasis
How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus with Tea Tree Oil
Choosing to use tea tree oil over more expensive commercially-sold medications is a cost-effective and much safer way to treat toenail fungus. You get fast and better results without the known side effects that come with popular drugs. Allowing onychomycosis to go untreated, or failing to use tea tree oil in the right way, can lead to disappointment by not achieving the treatment you expected. It can even go as far as worsening the pain and losing the toenail completely. To get your desired results, it is important to follow certain guidelines in preparing the nails and applying the oil for maximum effectivity.
Preparing Your Toenails Before Tea Tree Oil Application
Follow these preparation tips to allow the oils to penetrate the nail completely so you will get faster and better results. You will need to clip your toenails before oil application. Expect portions of the nail to be ‘dead’ if the fungal infection is serious. Trimming away the dead nails will encourage the later regrowth of healthy nails. What’s more, the oil will be able to penetrate beneath the nail and get to the fungus faster. Onychomycosis has a way to make toenails grow very thick. You will have to use a special pair of toenail clippers thick enough to cut the nails to size. When the nails have been properly clipped, you will need to use a coarse nail file to file them down. This action will ensure that even the smallest flecks of dead nails are removed. It will also get more of the affected skin exposed to the oil. Since fungus spreads fast, enabling the oil to quickly soak through the affected area can help prevent infection of the other toes. Clean the clipped toenails with soap to kill germs, bacteria, and other organisms that may hamper the effectivity of the tea tree oil. See to it that the nails are completely dry and clean after washing in order to inhibit the breeding of fungus. Ensure that your feet are always dry to discourage further fungal growth.
How to Apply Tea Tree Oil to Your Toenails
Before applying pure and undiluted tea tree oil on any part of your body, it is recommended to first perform a test to see how your skin will react. While tea tree oil is safe to use, some of its active ingredients can be too strong in its undiluted form. If the skin test produces no reaction, your skin should be compatible with the oil. If some irritation occurs after the test, then the oil needs to be thinned out a bit. Tea tree oil retains its powerful healing properties even when diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba or olive oil. These carrier oils can also help to moisturize your affected nails and skin. After diluting the tea tree oil with a carrier oil, you are then ready to apply the solution to your infected nails. Using a small dropper, place a few drops of tea tree oil on the affected toenail. You can also use a cotton ball to gently swab the solution all over the infected area. Squeeze the cotton lightly to allow some oil to come out and cover the nail. To ensure that the oil soaks deeply into the affected area, scrub the nails and skin with a nail brush which you will use only for this purpose. Don’t forget to wash the brush after every use. After applying the oil on your toenails, you can also soak your feet in water that contains 4 to 5 drops of tea tree oil. Completely dry off your feet afterward. Do not use a towel to wipe your feet, but rather allow the air to dry them off naturally. While nail clipping and filing should be done once a week, tea tree oil application should be done twice a day.
Nail fungus is a stubborn condition that may take a few months to a year to treat, depending on the severity of the infection. This means you will need to be patient. Stick to your daily oil application without fail until normal nail growth is achieved. If the nail’s condition worsens, cause infection to the bordering skin, or if you feel pain in the affected area, consult your physician. It will also help you if you read about the side effects of tea tree oil and how to use oregano oil to treat toenail fungus.