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Have toenail fungus? Try tea tree oil to get rid of it

Toenail fungus can be uncomfortable, but using a home remedy for it may help. Try using tea tree oil for toenail fungus.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil may help you get rid of toenail fungus. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 26 May 2024, 16:30 pm IST
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Medically Reviewed by

The soaring temperature of summer is at its peak, which leads to sweating and the accumulation of fungus. And fungus likes moisture, which causes fungal infections. Toenail fungus is a common problem that may occur due to this. These infections may not be painful, but they make your toenails look bad and make you uncomfortable as well. Wearing tight shoes, or any clothing that gives you damp feet, your situation may worsen. But don’t worry, there is a home remedy for fungus that may help. You should try tea tree oil for toenail fungus if you are prone to getting the infection.

What is toenail fungus?

“Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or athlete’s foot, is a common fungal infection of the nail leading to pain and discomfort,” says dermatologist Dr Ritika Shanmugam. This infection is caused by a variety of fungi, including dermatophytes, yeasts, and moulds. It is unpleasant because it usually begins at the nail’s edge or base and progressively spreads, causing thickness, discolouration, brittleness, and, in some cases, a bad odour, as found in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Also Read: Toenail fungus treatment: Should I use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

Nail with fungal infection
You can get rid of toenail fungus with some home remedies. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the causes of toenail fungus?

Here are some of the common causes of toenail fungus as per a study published in the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

  • Many people contract fungus through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an athlete’s foot or ringworms.
  • Walking barefoot in a warm, wet place, such as a pool deck or locker room, is another major cause of fungal nail infection. These fungi flourish in warm, damp environments.
  • You can potentially contract a fungal nail infection by sharing a contaminated nail clipper or towel.

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Tea tree for toenail fungus: Does it work?

Tea tree oil has numerous medicinal benefits and can be used to treat a variety of skin problems. It is commonly used to treat fungal infections due to its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. It can also be used to treat toenail fungus, as per a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research. Another study published in the Mycopathologia Journal found that tea tree oil effectively reduced the growth of Trichophyton rubrum, a common nail fungus, in a laboratory setting. It is unclear whether tea tree oil would work the same way on infected human nails.

How to use tea tree oil on toenail fungus?

1. Tea tree oil and olive oil

Tea tree oil and virgin olive oil may be a good combination to deal with toenail fungus. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Using a cotton bud or swab, dab a few drops of diluted tea tree oil onto your infected toenail. It will keep the fungus from moving from your toes to your hands.
  • Let the oil soak into the nail bed and the skin around it. Wearing socks or shoes immediately after applying the oil may cause the tea tree oil to rub off.

2. Tea tree oil and vitamin E oil

Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and fungicidal properties that make this mixture a feasible toenail fungus therapy. In addition, applying vitamin E oil guarantees that your cuticles get the moisture they require. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil

Method:

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil and vitamin E oil in a bowl.
  • Next, use a cotton bud or cotton swab to dab a few drops of diluted tea tree oil
  • onto the diseased nails. This will keep the fungus from spreading.
  • Let the oil soak into the nail bed, cuticles, and skin around the nail.

How to prevent toenail fungus?

  • Keep the toenails clean and trimmed at all times
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas.
  • Wear socks and shoes with breathable material and change them frequently
  • Avoid wearing closed shoes for a longer duration
  • Always make sure sterile equipment is used at a nail salon
  • Seek a dermatologist to help if you notice discolouration or any other changes in the nails.
toenails
Keep your feet clean to avoid toenail fungal infection. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are there any side effects of using tea tree oil?

“Some people may experience skin irritation, redness, itching, or inflammation. It is advisable to conduct a skin patch test before using tea tree oil. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor before incorporating tea tree oil for toenail fungus,” says the expert.

Things to keep in mind!

To use this essential oil safely, combine a few drops with a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil before applying it to your skin or nails. It is highly concentrated, so avoid using it directly on your skin or nails without dilution. Using a carrier oil can lessen the chance of adverse side effects while also allowing the essential oils to penetrate the skin more effectively.

Tea tree oil includes antibacterial and antifungal properties that help treat toenail fungus. Trimming the diseased nail and washing it with soap water will allow the oil to enter deeper into the skin and effectively cure it. However, do not forget to check with your doctor to avoid complications.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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