Remedies And Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Antifungal remedies help to stop the growth of the fungus. Over-the-counter options do not claim to cure toenail fungus, but they can help to improve the look of the affected nail. These products do not work as well as prescription medications. To cure toenail fungus, a remedy has to penetrate the nail and nail bed. Most over-the-counter remedies for nail fungus are topical and do not penetrate deeply enough.
Trim, Buff, and Thin the Affected Nail
Keeping your nails trim, buffed, and clean helps to prevent the spread of the fungus to other nails. Additionally, buffing the nail can allow topical antifungals to penetrate more deeply. Make sure to wash your hands promptly after touching the affected nail, especially before touching other nails.
Vicks VapoRub is a product marketed for people with coughs. However, it may also be effective against toenail fungus. One small study showed that after applying it topically each day for 48 weeks, 27.8% of participants fully cured their nail fungus â and 55.6% of participants saw partial improvement. However, more study is needed.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the Australian tea tree. It is an essential oil traditionally used as an antibacterial and antifungal treatment. Early research shows that it may help with nail fungus when used topically. However, more research is needed. If you do use tea tree oil for toenail fungus, only use it topically.
Tincture Of Iodine Kills Skin Nail Fungi
Tue., Aug. 3, 2010
Q. For more than 20 years, I was plagued with dry, flaky skin on the side of my nose and behind my earlobes. I went to several doctors, including dermatologists. We tried various salves, to no avail. After a while, this added up to big bucks.
I wondered if this ailment was caused by a fungus. As a chemist, I know that iodine is very, very effective on fungus and many bacteria. I applied tincture of iodine with my fingers and got cured within a week.
Its been two months, and the spots have not returned. The cost of treatment was less than $2. I previously had success treating toenail fungus with iodine. Since I am a man, dark toenails did not bother me.
I have suggested iodine treatment to many friends, and the responses have been enthusiastic. Many have solved their nail problems after other pricey treatments were unsuccessful.
A. Iodine was discovered about 200 years ago. As a tincture, it has broad antiseptic activity. You are correct that it kills fungus.
Tincture of iodine is dark brown, and it can stain, so not everyone will want to use it on the face. Other readers have also reported success applying tincture of iodine to fungus-infected nails.
Q. My internist says I need extra vitamin D and suggested I spend more time in the sun. My dermatologist insists that I need to use a high-SPF sunscreen every day and stay out of the sun. I am feeling extremely confused and hope you have some information that can help me sort out this dilemma.
What Are The Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
A fungus that has found a home under your nails can go unnoticed for quite awhile as it is usually painless. In most cases, the nail may look thicker and discolored with a green-yellow tint, but the symptoms will stop there. Sometimes the infection may become worse. The skin may start to come away from the nail bed and leave behind white or yellow patches, sometimes the whole nail will become soft and crumbly and may even come away entirely. If left untreated, the infection may completely overtake the nail and the nail bed. If your toenail is the one affected, walking may become troublesome. Pain may come and go throughout the infection.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
Baking Soda For Toenail Fungus
People have used Sodium bicarbonate for centuries.
It is a substance that can help us with various conditions, not only with fungus. However, it is especially useful when it comes to skin and nail conditions due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties.
NaHCO is great as it exfoliates surface skin, which in turn destroys layers of fungus located on them. But, that is only a small reason why people use baking soda for toenail fungus. Its alkaline properties are much more important. Sodium bicarbonate creates an acidic environment making it quite hard for fungus to survive.
Baking soda also helps balance the pH level of the surrounding skin. That way, spores are no longer able to reproduce and inhabit the surrounding areas. This localizes the issue, making it easier to eradicate later on.
Another great benefit lies in soda’s ability to absorb moisture. Again, your feet need to be dry at all times. Toenail fungus will affect the whole toenail but is especially persistent beneath them. This area is really hard to dry, unlike surface nail, making it easier for fungus to inhabit. Baking soda effectively puts a stop to it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to whether or not your feet are dry. You will also have to do your part in eradicating this nasty condition.
Obviously, there are a lot of pros that should at least persuade you to try it.
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How Does White Iodine Affect Yeast
White iodines use as an antifungal is not well-studied, even though many people swear by it for treating toenail fungus. However, according to one study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, iodine may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the same species of yeast that are also responsible for certain fungal infections. Inflammation diminished quickly during the treatment, and no side effects or complications were found in the 7-day treatment.
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How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Take To Cure Toenail Fungus
The antifungal properties also make vinegar soaks a good idea for people who have toenail fungus. Soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes daily in a vinegar bath until the infection subsides. You can increase the length of time in the soak gradually. It may take two to three weeks or longer to see improvement in symptoms.
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What The Experts Say
The most common presentation of toenail fungus is a white/yellow discoloration of the nail that is thick and filled with yellow/white keratin debris. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies.”Orit Markowitz, MD, founder and CEO of OptiSkin treatment center in New York City.
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How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
Potential Safe Uses For Bleach
The myth that bleach could treat toenail fungus may be less related to topical applications and more about using bleach to clean other items that could potentially infect the toenails, such as nail clippers or files.
Shoes and socks exposed to toenail fungus can be washed with bleach. Follow the bleach products directions for your washer and laundry load size. You can also use bleach-based solutions to clean areas where fungus may grow in your home, such as your shower tiles, bath mats, or floor.
Now that you know bleach isnt an effective toenail fungus treatment, lets look at some options that are.
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How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Fungus
A toenail fungal infection has a slow, eroding effect on your toenail but usually takes a while to develop and spread so you might not notice it at first.
Here are some of the toenail symptoms you may encounter:
- Change in color often the toenail turns yellow, brown, white, or eve green
- Nails become thicksometimes so thick you cant get a toenail clipper to work
- Toenail shape becomes curved, twisted, or ingrown on the sides
- Initially, a white dot may show itself which then slowly grows larger
- Toenails become brittle and break easily, sometimes they seem to crumble or get chalky
- Toenails become flaky and break off
- Sometimes the toenail has a Ã¢cottage-cheeseÃ¢ type substance especially under the hard-outer shell
- Toenails may loosen and separate off the nail bed occasionally they may even fall of entirely
- You get pain around the toenail as the hard, curved nail digs down into the sides
- There is a bad-cheese smell coming from your toenails
- Eventually, the fungus spreads to your other toes and even out onto the skin on your feet
If left untreated, you can develop a secondary bacterial infection and even get ulcerations, which are extremely dangerous if you are diabetic or have poor circulation. For some people, toenail fungus has even ultimately led to the surgical amputation of toes or even leg amputations.
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How Effective Are Topical Treatments
So far, only a few studies have looked into topical nail fungus treatments with nail polishes or creams. Because these studies had weaknesses, the results should be interpreted with caution. Amorolfine has not yet been well studied. Ciclopirox polish and treatment sets with urea and bifonazole cream were tested in a few studies.
Research on the effectiveness of nail polish containing ciclopirox showed that, after one year:
- About 10 out of 100 people who did not use ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 32 out of 100 people who used ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, treatment with ciclopirox got rid of the fungal infection in about 22 out of 100 people. But even if the fungus had gone away, the cosmetic result wasnt always satisfying. The nails only looked healthy after treatment in 7 out of 100 people.
Treatment with sets containing urea and bifonazole cream was tested in one study. It was compared with a treatment in which only urea cream was applied and the nail was removed, but without applying bifonazole cream afterwards. Three months after treatment was completed, it was found that:
- No fungus was visible or detectable in about 41 out of 100 people who only used urea cream.
- No fungus was visible or detectable in about 51 out of 100 people who used both urea and bifonazole cream.
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When Should I See My Doctor About A Rash
Most rashes are not serious. But its always a good idea to see your healthcare provider if you have skin changes. Your provider can recommend a course of treatment to help you feel better and diagnose any underlying conditions.
- Is all over your body.
- Starts suddenly and spreads quickly.
- Is painful, blistered or infected.
- Happens along with a fever.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Fungal skin rashes can be uncomfortable and itchy, but they are treatable. See your healthcare provider if you notice any rashes or changes in your skin. Typically, a course of antifungal creams will clear up the rash and relieve the itchiness. Your healthcare provider can also discuss preventive steps to keep the rash from coming back.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/25/2020.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
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Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Concord Foot Doctor Explains How To Eliminate Toenail Fungus Naturally
Toenail fungus is a common yet frustrating problem. You can catch it from using a shared shower, walking barefoot at a public pool, or even getting a pedicure. It can grow quickly under your toenail and cause the nail to thicken and crumble.
If the toenail fungus is severe, you should visit your local foot doctor for treatment. However, you can also try a natural toenail fungus treatment to solve the issue without chemicals or medicines. Here are six of the best natural remedies:
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar other wise known as Acetic Acid can help eliminate fungus when diluted in lukewarm water. The acidity of vinegar creates an environment that most fungus find in hospital and may help eliminate a fungal toenail infection.
2. Listerine and White Vinegar
The thymol and menthol in Listerine evaporate quickly and cause dehydration of superficial fungus infecting a toe nail plate. Soak for 15-20 minutes 3-4 days per week.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a popular home remedy for many skin infections, including fungal infections. Dab a few drops of the oil onto your toenails twice a day, or mix a few drops of oil with some water and soak your entire foot.
4. Urea Paste
You can buy over-the-counter urea paste to dissolve the infected portion of the toenail. Then, use an over-the-counter antifungal cream to prevent infection in the area. Before you do this, though, you should consult your local foot doctor.
5. Pau Darco Tea
6. Vicks VapoRub
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Soak In Listerine And White Vinegar
The combination of Listerines antifungal ingredients and vinegars acidity makes an inhospitable environment for fungi. This treatment is effective for green nails which may have whats called atypical organisms, says Dr. Goldenberg. If you have true toenail fungus, its less likely to work, though.
How to use it: Combine the two in equal portions and soak your toes in the solution, ideally for 45 to 60 minutes daily.
What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
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