Be it on toenails or fingernails, nail fungus is truly a difficult situation to deal with. Also known as Onychomycosis, nail fungus is a very common problem among many people and is often caused by the trapping of moisture in warm conditions where the fungus thrives in. Some people are more prone to attracting fungus as habitual actions like swimming followed by sweating may often lead to the growth of fungus.
A nail fungal infection will most probably begin as a white or yellow colored spot beneath the tip of your finger or toenail. An infection is said to occur, when fungi infects one or more of your nails. This may lead to the decolorization and thickening of nails which can be a painful problem. In extreme cases, this may even affect a person’s ability to use his feet or hands.
Leaving them untreated may lead to the cracking, splitting and even complete loss of toenail. But it is curable and can be treated easily at home without spending a lot of money. Many natural home remedies are capable of curing this and tea tree oil is one among them. In this article, we will be discussing in detail about how tea tree oil can be used effectively for treating nail fungus.
Why Tea Tree Oil ?
Tea tree oil is yellowish in color and is extracted from Melaleuca Alternifolia tree. They are a native of Australia but are also found in other regions. For centuries, they have been used extensively for healing injuries in skin and their rich medicinal values makes them good enough in fighting against infections. Tea tree oil is well known for its antiseptic properties. They also have antibiotic properties that aids in fighting against ailments like skin infections, burns and much more. They are found to be effective as clotrimazole, a type of fungal medication used for the treatment of nail fungus. Applying tea tree oil on a regular basis is said to cure fungal infections on nails. They can also improve the appearance and health of nails at a rapid pace.
Tea tree oil has a variety of applications that’s both practical and convenient which may even make you an addict. The best part about this oil is that they are inexpensive and easily available compared to other essential oils.
Now that we are aware of the properties of tea tree oil that makes them effective in fighting against fungal infections, let’s see how to apply them on toenails or fingernails.
Prepare your Nails before applying Tea Tree Oil
Before applying tea tree oil one must have to make certain preparations on nails so as to get the best out of tea tree oil.
Step 1 : Remove all dead nails by means of a nail clipper. This is very important hence make sure you get rid of all the dead nails even if it may consume more time. But on the process try to avoid cutting off your skin.
Step 2 : File down all the infected nails with coarse nail filer. File away as many dead nails as possible. It is better to file each nails with medium grade or fine grade filers.
Step 3 : Clean your fingernails or toenails with a soap or lotion along with water to get rid of dust and dirt.
Follow the above mentioned steps without fail every time before you apply tea tree oil on nails. Once this is done, you can apply the oil onto your nails and this is how it is done!
How to apply Tea Tree Oil on Nails?
Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant with both fungicidal and antibacterial properties which makes it a popular remedial measure in the treatment of nail fungal infections. They can also be added to other mixtures as well. But before using them, make sure the oil is completely diluted. Once you come across the symptoms of nail fungus, make a solution of tea tree oil.
- Pour in a few drops of oil directly onto the site or soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply to affected nails pressing them gently but firmly so that the liquid comes out.
- Gently scrub the affected nails with the help of a toothbrush, so as to make sure the oil reaches deep into the nails.
- Let it dry out naturally, meanwhile you can also soak your feet in a solution containing 4-5 drops of tea tree oil and water.
- Continue this process for about 15-20 minutes. Both these treatments is best when done on morning or evening.
It is important to repeat the application of tea tree oil to nail at least twice a day. Repeat the filing procedure once or twice a week for best results.
Sometimes even following the above mentioned steps on routine basis will not guarantee the complete removal of infections. Let us see some of the instances where nail fungus infections might reappear again.
Effects of Tea Tree oil on Nail fungus
Sometimes fungal infections will continue to disturb the nails even after using tea tree oil. But most of the time, this will be due to cross contamination. Personal hygiene is something that needs to be taken very good care off like socks, toenail clippers and shoes should be cleared of fungus. So many people treat their fungal infections on nails, but fails to consider that fungus replicates by way of tiny spores and they can live for a long time. So make shoe sanitizing a routine part of your life to minimize the possibility of dealing with fungal infections again.
How to prevent Toenail fungus?
Preventing toenail fungus may not be at the top of your to-do list, but perhaps it should be. A healthy feet depends on good hygiene, so it is important to keep the toes clean and dry. Follow these six tips to prevent nail fungal infections.
- Short and Clean Nails – You can make use of a manicure kit to brush up your nails. As keeping nails short and clean will prevent the bacteria from getting clogged under the nails.
- Use preventive gloves – Wearing gloves while washing dishes or cleaning clothes will not only prevent you from getting in contact with the bacteria but also keeps your hand dry.
- Wear ventilating socks – If you plan to sweat while wearing socks, it is better to avoid both cotton and woolen socks. This is where synthetic socks has an advantage, as they won’t allow moisture to buildup and get clogged inside the socks.
- Wear shoes in public places – Make sure you always wear shoes or sandals at places shared by others like gym, stations, malls etc.
- Personal Hygiene – Last but not the least, always try to practice good hygiene. Allow maximum amount of air to reach your nails. This can be achieved to a great extend by avoiding tight shoes or closed shoes that may create a sweat environment for your nails. It is always better to opt for open-toed shoes.
Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil
Due to its numerous medicinal values, tea tree oil has found themselves an active ingredient of many cosmetic products ranging from soaps, lotions to skin or foot care products. This has increased its popularity to an all new level. But still it is important to be aware of the possible risks that comes along with the over usage of tea tree oil.
One of the most common side effect that is associated with tea tree oil is skin irritation. This may lead to redness, itchiness or inflammation in some extreme cases. So it is always better to test the oil before applying. This is because some people will be allergic to the components present in tea tree oil, hence their body will react. For pregnant ladies, it is always recommended to consult a doctor before consuming any kind of oils. Since it is a strong oil, it is critical to dilute them before using.
3 Popular Tea Tree Oil Products, According to Reviews and Rating :
- Artnaturals 100% Natural Antifungal Soap with Tea Tree Oil, 12 Oz
- Pure Body Naturals Foot Soak with Tea Tree Oil, 20 Oz
- Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt, 16 Oz
As a matter of advice, we would like to make this clear that no matter how powerful an oil might seem to be, before applying them always make sure you perform an allergy test with that oil. Nail fungal infection is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with care and patience. Of course there are many effective ways to deal with them and using tea tree oil is only one among them. There are plenty more out there ready to explore.
Meanwhile we would love to hear your experiences, if you had ever used tea tree oil for fungal infections. Or if you have any other possible remedial treatment method for fungal infections, please feel free to share with us.