The Science of Nail Fungus Home Remedies

the-science-of-nail-fungus-home-remediesThe Science of Nail Fungus Home Remedies

 Introduction: Nail Fungal Infections

Our nails can tell us a lot about our health. As small and as insignificant as it may seem, signs and symptoms of diseases and infections can be displayed by our nails. If your nails appear to be brittle or crumbly, discolored, and dull-looking, you might want to consider these nail abnormalities to be signs of a fungal nail infection.

What Is A Fungal Nail Infection?

Medically-termed as “onychomycosis“, nail fungus is a stubborn and challenging form of nail infection. Fungi, which are present in moist and warm environments, can invade the cracks of your nails or small cuts in the skin around your nail. Currently, fungal nail infections make up about half of all nail abnormalities.  The occurrences of fungal nail infections are rising, and about 15% of the world’s population have been infected by this contagious nail problem.

Common Causes and Symptoms

Since fungi can be found almost everywhere, subjecting your nails and feet in wet and moist environments make you more susceptible to the infection. People over 60, those experiencing health issues (like diabetes, psoriasis, and peripheral arterial disease), and those with weakened immune systems (like HIV/AIDs and cancer) are at a greater risk of contracting nail fungus.

The early stages of nail fungal infections may appear as white streaks or dark discolored nails. Eventually, an infected nail will become dull-looking, and the surface of the nail may become unusually rough.  The fungus will slowly spread all throughout the nail and change its appearance to be yellowish, weak, and brittle. If left untreated, the nails will become deformed and worse, can get destroyed.

Treatment In-Focus: Home Remedies

“One treatment may not cure it all” – this often seems to be the motto of many professionals when it comes to treating fungal nail infections. Because of the challenge that comes with it, many medical treatments and alternative methods have been promoted. Many of us are enticed by easy-accessible and cheap solutions, which lead us to try different home remedies that they say might cure nail fungal infection. Read on to know more about the science behind these home remedies and see if they really are effective.

The Rise in Trend for Alternative Home Remedies

According to the National Center For Health Statistics, nearly 4 out of 10 adults resort to using some form of alternative remedy. The enticing principles of home remedies are their easy accessibility and inexpensiveness. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and coconut oil – these are just some of the infamous ingredients that are claimed to have medicinal miracles for our body.

However, though home remedies are very appealing, not all may be safe or effective, especially when it comes to treating fungal nail problems. More researches to evaluate their effectiveness are highly suggested.

Nail Fungus Home Remedy 1: Vicks VapoRub

How is this home remedy done?

  • Make sure you have washed and completely dried your nails.

  • If your nail fungal infection is in its early stages, apply Vicks VapoRub liberally to the infected nail 2-3 times per day.

Why do they claim this treatment works?

Thymol, an ingredient of Vicks VapoRub, is said to be a powerful component in inhibiting the growth of dermatophytes that cause nail fungus. A group of scientists conducted a study where they tested the anti-fungal effects of a medicated chest rub like Vicks VapoRub. The results showed that fifteen out of the 18 participants (83%) showed a positive effect, with 5 of them totally cured within 48 weeks, concluding the positive clinical effect of thymol to treat onychomycosis.

Nail Fungus Home Remedy 2: Tea Tree Oil

How is this home remedy done?

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in one teaspoon of olive or coconut oil.

  • Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture on the affected nail.

  • Leave it on for 10 minutes.

  • It is recommended to do this 2-3 times daily until satisfied with the results.

Why do they claim this treatment works?

Tea tree oil, a volatile essential oil from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia, is known to carry powerful antiseptic properties that can help in treating fungal nail infections. Regular treatment seems to improve nail appearance and symptoms for only about 56% of patients who applied it for 3 months. Tea tree oil is safe to be applied topically, but most likely unsafe when taken orally.

Nail Fungus Home Remedy 3: Apple Cider Vinegar

How is this home remedy done?

  • Make a 50:50 mixture of vinegar and water.

  • Soak affected area twice a day for twenty minutes.

  • Rinse and dry the treated areas carefully after soaking.

Why do they claim this treatment works?

Vinegar, most especially apple cider vinegar, has created a buzz in the field of alternative medicine. Sore throat, indigestion, acne, and bad breath are just some of common health problems that may be cured with vinegar. The antiseptic and highly acidic properties of apple cider vinegar claim to kill the fungus causing onychomychosis.

Over the years, no sufficient evidence suggests that vinegar helps in reducing nail fungus. Since vinegar is a very acidic substance, improper use may cause skin irritation, particularly when done in an everyday basis.

Conclusion: Are Home Remedies Effective in Treating Nail Fungus?

Onychomycosis, or fungal nail infections, are one of the most challenging nail abnormalities to treat. Because of this, many forms of medical treatment and alternative remedies have grown popular over the years. Home remedies are very appealing to the average folk because of their easy accessibility and inexpensiveness. Vicks VapoRub, tea tree oil, and vinegar are just some of the infamous ingredients known to treat fungal nail infection because of the belief that they contain special anti-fungal or antiseptic properties that will kill the infection. Despite their popularity, only a limited number of researches have been done; therefore there’s insufficient proof that these treatments are as effective. Trying out these home remedies might be useful, but often times, they might also cause more harm than good. Ultimately, a doctor’s advice is still more reliable than taking a chance over these unproven remedies. If you wish to seek the best treatment for your nail fungal infection, consult your local dermatologist or physician.


Posted in Nail Fungus, Nail Health
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Global Nail Fungus Executive Team:
Sandy Getzky - Executive Coordinator Pat-B

Sandy is an experienced manager of medical research operations and authority content creation.

Pat B. - Head of Research Pat-B

Pat holds a PhD in Natural Health and has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years.Certifications: American Herbalist’s Guild, Registered Herbalist, Awarded: 2012. Licenses: Registered Nurse, State of New York, Awarded: 2011. Registered Nurse, State of Florida, Awarded: 1975

Diana Arevalo - Contributor and Research Coordinator Pat-B

Diana is a registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. Graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Gary Smith - Medical Presenter Pat-B

Gary is a professional medical presenter with over 35 years in this industry.

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The Global Nail Fungus Organization was founded with one goal: Fight Nail Fungus. We work towards this goal by providing resources, education, and solutions to the 35 million people currently suffering from finger and toenail fungus in America and the millions more around the world.