Natural Nail Fungus Treatments

Nail fungus can be an unsightly, embarrassing problem that often takes months to cure. Although there are several prescription antifungal products available, home and herbal remedies may be effective in treating nail fungus as well.

About Nail Fungus

Nail fungus, known medically as onychomycosis, may infect the nails of the toes or fingers. It often begins as a white or yellow spot that spreads over time, causing irregular nail growth, thickness and nail loss. Onychomycosis is most often caused by fungal organisms known as dermatophytes, but may be caused by the yeast organism candida or by tinea (which is also responsible for athlete’s foot). Nail fungus is most common in older adults, those with immune conditions such as psoriasis and in those whose nails are frequently immersed in water. Whether prescription pills more natural methods are used to treat nail fungus, it is important to note that though the infection may be eliminated, the deformity cause by the fungus will need to grow off the nails. As nails grow slowly, it may be several months before the nail appears to be normal.

Natural Home Remedies

The first step in treating nail fungus is to reduce exposure to moisture. Fungus thrives in a warm, moist environment so the nails should be kept dry as much as possible. If the fungus is on the feet, cotton socks and shoes that allow for adequate ventilation should be worn. If the fungus is on the fingernails, rubber gloves may be advised to keep the nails dry when working in water. During treatment, artificial nails are absolutely prohibited and nail polish is best avoided as it may trap moisture in the nail bed and further contribute to fungus growth.

Twice daily nail soaks using half-strength rubbing alcohol or antibacterial mouth wash may help kill the fungus infection due to antiseptic properties. A solution of natural cider vinegar diluted with water may also be used as cider vinegar is thought to have antiseptic and astringent properties due to its acidity. Bleach is not generally recommended as it is known to cause tissue damaging and drying properties and some people are highly sensitive to it.

Herbal Remedies

Tea tree oil, lavender oil and oregano oil are all known to have antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Application of a few drops of one or more of these oils several times daily to the infected area may help kill the fungus and prevent further infection. All of these oils may be diluted with a small amount of olive oil for an effective cuticle rub as well. Concentrated lavender oil and oregano oil will likely need to be purchased from the supplement section of a health food store, but tea tree oil is commonly found at many large drugstores and grocery stores along with health food stores.

Alpha hydroxy acid, found in many fruits and vegetables, is thought to help treat skin and nail conditions including fungal infections. Alpha hydroxy acid is available in many facial creams used for the treatment of aging skin and acne. A cream containing alpha hydroxy acid should be rubbed into and around the nail two or three times daily for treatment of nail fungus. The fruit acid will help destroy the fungal infection and soften nail tissue allowing for better absorption of other antiseptic products. Many products containing alpha hydroxy acid can be found at grocery stores and drugstores. Natural and organic alpha hydroxy acid creams may be found at health food stores in the supplement section.

Nail fungus can be an unsightly