Nail fungus also known as Onychomycosis is a common infection caused by fungi. Dermatophytes, molds, and yeasts are the three types of fungi that can cause nail fungus. The telltale sign of a nail fungus is the discoloration of your nails.
It usually begins as a yellow or white spot at the tip of your nails and it gives a characteristic brown, yellow, or white color to your nails.
This infection is a sign of yeast presence or the presence of a candida virus in your body. Poor gut health and low levels of probiotics in your system can lead to this.
Fungi can get in and cause nail infections through cracks in your nails or skin. It is a painful condition and it makes your nails thick and changes its color. Athlete’s foot occurs when a fungus infects the areas between the skin of your feet and your toes.
This infection affects the toenails more because your toes are often damp and warm, this makes your toe areas comfortable for fungi and they grow and multiply in that kind of environment.
Different kinds of fungi and yeast can cause this infection in different parts of your nails. If it is not properly treated, it can spread to other nails, your fingernails, and even your skin.
Men are more prone to nail fungus than women, this may be due to their regular use of socks. Smokers, diabetes patients, and people with weak immune system and athlete’s foot are at risk of this nail infection.
Injuries to your nails and spending lots of time in water increases the risk of this infection.
Types of Nail Fungus
- Candida Onychomycosis, which is characterized by the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed
- Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis, characterized by a white nail plate especially close to the cuticles. This one is common in people with suppressed immune systems.
- White Superficial Onychomycosis, characterized by a white and crumbly nail
- Distal Subungual Onychomycosis, the last and the most common type. It makes up 85% of all nail fungus cases and it is characterized by a brittle and crumbly nail, the infected nail is thick and discolored with scaling underneath the nail.
Causes of Nail Fungus
- Fungi or yeast infection
- A weak immune system
- Low levels of probiotics
- Nail injury and damaged nail beds
- Athlete’s foot can lead to nail fungal infection
- Touching or coming in contact with infected objects, swimming in a contaminated pool and using infected nail tools.
- Wearing dirty socks
- Wearing tight shoes
- Poor circulation of blood in the body, especially the legs
- Hereditary and genetic predisposition
Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus
General symptoms of nail fungus are:
- A thick and discolored nail
- A badly shaped nail
- Nails break easily
- Nails loosen and separate from the bed when fungus grows under your nails
- The infected nails might have a slightly foul smell
- The infected nail becomes crumbly, brittle, and ragged
- A black or dark color on your nails caused by a buildup of debris under your nail
- Feeling pains around the nails
Powerful Home Remedies for Nail Fungus
Cut out refined sugar and other artificial sweeteners from your diet
White sugar and other unnatural or processed sweeteners feed yeast cells and other types of microbes. They require sugar to thrive, grow and multiply, and when you take in a lot of sugar, your system becomes a comfortable abode for them and they create all kinds of troubles for you including nail fungus.
This is the first step you should take in the treatment of nail infections, it is very effective and it even prevents re-infection if you stick to a sugar-free diet. Your sugar should come from natural foods like organic fruits and plants.
Alcohols should also be avoided because they are high in sugar and it also creates more yeast in your body, thereby worsening the situation.
When you eliminate their foods, you starve them to death. Conventional grain and grain products and sugars are the foods of these harmful microbes and pathogens. Using medications and tube creams will only cover the symptoms but it won’t destroy the environment where these microbes flourish. Eliminating sugar and sugary foods from your diet will also boost your immune system to fight off infections because sugar weakens the immune system and your system’s pH will be balanced.
It is impossible to treat nail fungus and prevent recurrence without eliminating sugar and conventional grain and grain products.
Increase your levels of probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help fight other harmful microbes in the body, they boost the immune system and they are found in abundance in the gut which makes up 80% of your immune system.
Increasing your intake of probiotics will raise the population of healthy bacteria in your system, this, in turn, will fight harmful microbes including the fungus causing your nail infection and expel them from the body.
Foods with high levels of probiotics are fermented foods, fermented grains, fermented foods and cultured yogurts. Take this regularly and you will help your immune system overcome this infection.
Increase your intake of fiber
Fiber eliminates waste products of metabolism, toxins, excess fats, and cholesterol from your body. It also serves as food for these healthy bacteria which help fight off harmful microbes. It aids their growth and activities.
This powerful oil contains caprylic acid and lauric acid. These acids are antimicrobial and antiseptic agents, they kill candida and other harmful microbes in your body. Take two tablespoons of pure coconut oil on an empty stomach every morning and take it regularly during the day also. Also, apply coconut oil on the infected nail, do this regularly, don’t let the nail dry, it should always be wet with coconut oil. This will eliminate the symptoms, kill the microbes and repair your nails.
Grape Seed Oil
This is an effective treatment for nail fungus, it kills all kinds of microbes including fungi. You can get this essential oil from any health store.
Use a cotton ball and apply this mixture to the affected skin part and leave it on for at least thirty minutes. Do this three times daily until your nail heals.
If you have a sensitive skin, you can mix this with orange oil or coconut or olive oil. This will prevent burning and also boost the effect of grape seed oil.
The leaves of olives or olive leaf extract contain a powerful chemical called oleuropein. This compound is a powerful antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial agent. Crush fresh leaves of olives and extract the juice.
Rub this juice on the infected nails, you can also purchase olive leaf capsules and take it. Olive leaf salves are also available, you can buy them and apply it on the infected nail.
White Vinegar and Salt
This is a simple but powerful home remedy that offers a fast cure for nail fungus. Mix salt with white vinegar and soak the infected nail in this or use a cotton ball to apply this solution on your nails.
Leave it on for at least ten minutes, and then you wash it off. Do this three times every day and you will see your nails recover.
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil is loaded with antiseptic and antifungal properties. It eliminates nail fungus effectively and prevents re-infection and it reduces the risks of you spreading this infection to others.
Soak the infected nail or nails in tea tree oil twice daily, you can use a cotton ball soaked in tea tree oil to apply this oil on your nails, do this two times every day and you will see great improvements.
Garlic is a common remedy for a lot of infections because its active compound Allicin can kill a wide range of microorganisms. Crush fresh garlic cloves and apply the fresh paste on the infected nails.
Do this three times daily and wash it off after 30 minutes. Treat it inwardly by swallowing chopped cloves of fresh garlic. Chop four cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and expose them to air for two minutes, and then you swallow it with a glass of water.
This will kill the fungus present in your system that is causing this infection and while the topical application of garlic paste will treat the outward symptoms and heal the nail.
Vitamin E oil
This is a highly effective remedy for fungal infections, it kills fungi and boosts the immune system, and it also helps the body repair damaged skin parts.
Rub this oil on the affected nail using a cotton wool. Massage the nail and its surroundings gently. Do not wash it off. Do this three times every day for faster results.
It is believed that corn has antifungal activities, cornmeal is an old remedy for nail fungus. Corn has been used for centuries to treat black-spot fungal diseases of roses, this was when it was known that corn has an antifungal effect.
Pour cornmeal in a bowl and add water to it. Make sure the water is hot enough to dissolve it into a paste. Let it get warm and then you soak your feet inside this warm paste for at least an hour. Do this twice or thrice every week.
Onions have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and this makes them effective in treating fungi infections and other types of infections. Slice an onion and crush a few slices to extract the juice.
Apply this onion juice in a generous amount on the infected nails using a cotton ball. Wash it away after it has sat for at least 30 minutes. Do this twice daily.
This has antiseptic and antifungal property and it also eliminates the foul odor caused by this infection. It kills the fungus responsible for this infection, it is a common home remedy for toenail fungus, foot odor, and athlete’s foot.
You can make a paste of baking soda and water or vinegar and apply this to the infected nail. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes and then you wash it away. Do this three times every day.
Another way to use it and also boost its effectiveness, pour hot water into a bowl and add a half cup of baking soda into it. Add a quarter cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a half cup of Epsom salt to the solution, stir the solution thoroughly and add a quarter cup of white vinegar if you choose to.
Soak the affected nails inside this solution for 30 minutes, rinse the nails with clean water and dry thoroughly. Do this two times daily until you get your desired result.
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric has a strong antifungal activity, it kills fungi and yeast cell and this makes it a very powerful remedy for nail fungus.
Get fresh root of turmeric and pound it till it forms a smooth paste. Apply this paste on the nails that are infected by fungus and leave it on till it dries off completely.
Then rinse it off and properly dry your nails and its surroundings to prevent the area from being damp or wet, because moisture can worsen the condition and aggravate the symptoms.
If you don’t have access to fresh turmeric root, you can make use of turmeric powder. Make a paste by mixing this powder with water, vinegar or coconut oil and follow the same procedure as above.
Oregano Essential Oil
Thymol, an active phytochemical present in this essential oil is a strong antifungal and antimicrobial agent. Use it in the same way as tea tree oil by using a cotton ball soaked in it and use it to rub this oil on all your nails.
You can combine it with tea tree oil in equal amount to boost its effectiveness. If you have a sensitive skin, you can combine oregano oil or this mixture with either coconut oil or olive oil.
Sea salt kills fungus and it is an effective remedy for a lot of fungal infections. You can use it to treat your nails and prevent recurrence. Add sea salt to a bowl of water and soak the infected nails in this solution for as long as you can.
Do this at least once every day until you get the desired result. If you stay close to a sea, you can walk by the sea bank every day, make sure your nails soak in the salty water and walk in it for a few minutes.
Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial substance. The citric acid which is present abundantly in lemon juice kills a wide range of harmful microbes including fungi that cause nail fungus and infections.
Juice fresh lemons and apply this juice directly on the infected nails, those with sensitive skin or those who are sensitive to lemon juice can mix it with water or avoid this remedy totally.
Wash it off after thirty minutes. This will kill the fungus behind this infection, it will also kill the odor and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people.
Another way to use lemon juice is by mixing it with either olive oil or coconut oil, apply this mixture in large amount on the affected nails and gently massage the area. Leave it on for at least two hours before you wash it away. Do this once daily till you get a positive result.
This humble grass is packed with a lot of antiseptic and antimicrobial compounds. It stops the growth and development of this infection and prevents it from spreading.
It treats symptoms of nail fungus like brittleness, fragility, and crumbling of the nails. It also fights foul odor and hastens recovery. Boil fresh lemon grass in water and let it get warm. Soak your feet in this for at least thirty minutes.
You can also make use of lemongrass essential oil, dilute it with olive oil, coconut oil, or Grapeseed oil and then apply it to the affected nails and its surroundings. To hasten healing, don’t wash it away, do this at least twice every day.
Vinegar and Listerine
These liquids are loaded with antifungal and antimicrobial properties, they are also acidic and they make the environment inhospitable for fungi and yeast cells.
You can make use of either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Combine vinegar and Listerine in equal amount and soak either your fingernails or toenails in the solution (that is, the affected nail should be soaked in the solution).
Leave it in for one hour and then your rinse your nails and dry them properly. Do this three times every day till your nail heals. Listerine is a common mouthwash that contains menthol and thymol, these are natural antiseptics and antimicrobial agents that kill a lot of microbes.
Red peppers have antifungal activities. They give a fast result and aid the growth of new nails. Mix red pepper powder with coconut or olive oil and apply this on the infected nail. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Do this many times daily.
This essential oil has many therapeutic agents and antiseptic compounds, it treats fungi infections because of its ability to kill fungi and yeast cells.
It is used in the prevention and treatment of any type of infections because it can kill a wide range of microorganisms. To boost the effectiveness of lavender oil, you can mix it with tea tree oil and dilute this mixture with coconut oil if you have a sensitive skin.
Mix five drops of tea tree oil, five drops of lavender essential oil, and five drops of coconut oil (optional). Apply this oil blend directly on the infected nail and its surrounding areas. Leave it on the nails for at least 15 minutes and then you wash it off and dry your nails and its surroundings thoroughly. Do this three times daily till your nail heals.
Neem leaves are dense with antimicrobial and antiseptic compounds; they also nourish and moisturize your nails and they treat it fragile look and dull color.
Apply this oil directly on the affected nails and massage gently. Do this daily till you see results. You can boil neem leaves, if you don’t have access to this oil, and soak the affected nails in the warm solution. Leave it in this liquid for 30 minutes, and then you rinse your nails and dry them properly.
This is a powerful herb with a strong antifungal effect. It is an effective remedy for nail fungus, it even treats it better than most antifungal creams and medications.
You can get this from health stores, apply it directly to the affected nails every three days interval or twice every week. You can reduce it to once a week when the nail starts healing.
Chamomile is rich in many therapeutic properties, including the ability to kill fungi and treat fungal infections. Drink chamomile tea, you can soak the infected nails in chamomile tea also or you apply a used chamomile tea bag as a poultice to the infected nail.
Do this three times daily and you will see a great improvement. Chamomile even relaxes your mind and soothe your body. it relieves stress and helps you have a good sleep at night.
This is a common household remedy for a lot of infections because it is an antiseptic and it can kill a lot of microbes that cause all sorts of infections.
It kills fungi that cause nail fungus and infections, it heals the nails and boosts the growth of new nails. It disinfects and removes the discoloration because it is a bleaching agent. It oxidizes and eliminates odor associated with fungus infections.
You can soak your feet in a solution of water containing 3% hydrogen peroxide, use 3% hydrogen peroxide to avoid damaging your skin. Soak the infected nails in this solution for thirty minutes. Rinse your nails and dry them properly.
You can add white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda to the solution to boost its effectiveness. Do this every day until the condition is reversed. Hydrogen peroxide contains a lot of oxygen and fungi don’t like oxygen because it destroys them.
How to Prevent Nail Fungus
- Always keep your nails, especially your toenails clean and dry
- Don’t touch dirty things or walk barefoot or dirty grounds
- Wear proper footwear in wet areas and damp places
- Discard old footwear after treating toenail fungus
- Trim your nails regularly and keep it short to avoid accidents and cracks that can lead to fungus infection
- Change your socks regularly during the day, and always use socks that can absorb sweat
- Make sure your shoes have features or are made with materials that can make your legs breath
- Once in a while, visit a nail salon that carries out sterilized pedicure and manicure.
- Boost your immune system and increase your intake of probiotics
- Avoid sharing socks and shoes