Foot fungus – not the prettiest of issues, but nonetheless a very real and common concern (especially for the summer!) that affects millions of people worldwide. As our feet and toes emerge from their fall and winter hibernation, it’s time to step into something sandy, something strappy, and something opened toed – but are your feet really ready for this?
Before we discuss treatments for nail fungus, it’s important to understand what nail fungus is and how it is identified.
Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is usually caused by moisture being trapped in warm conditions, where fungi thrives. Unfortunately, some people develop fungus through swimming and other activities involving consistent dampness, sweating or prolonged moisture in the foot area – the ideal environment for growth of fungus. A fungal infection occurs when the fungi infect one or more of your nails – leading to the discoloration and thickening of nails. Leaving this condition untreated can result in the cracking, splitting, and even the complete loss of one’s nail.
Why Tea Tree Oil?
There are many natural remedies for treating nail fungus and on the top of that list is tea tree oil! Tea tree oil is rich in natural elements that are used to treat various skin problems due to the oil’s antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Tea tree is especially effective in treating nail fungus and other skin ailments because the oil acts as an antibiotic. In other words, being able to inhibit the growth of and destroy microorganisms.
Tea trees oil has shown to be as effective in treating fungus as commercial medicine clotrimazole - at nearly half the cost for a larger quantity.
How To Apply Tea Tree Oil
Before applying t tree oil, one must take a few steps of preparation to ensure that the nails are able to reap maximum tree oil benefits.
Step 1: Remove all dead nails with a nail clipper. Avoid cutting off skin.
Step 2: File down infected nails with a coarse nail file, removing any remaining dead nails.
Step 3: Gently scrub and wash infected nails with soap and warm water to remove dust and dirt.
Before applying tea tree to nails, dilute the oil with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, argan, or coconut oil. Pour a few drops of the tea tree solution directly onto affected area or soak a cotton ball in the oil mixture and press firmly on nails.
Using a tea tree foot scrub or soaking feet in a solution with warm water and 5 drops of tea oil once every two weeks will ensure your feet stay fresh and clean all summer long!
How to Prevent Toenail Fungus
Healthy feet are almost directly correlated to good hygiene. Simply treating infected nails is not enough to ensure that the fungus will never return. Fungus replicates by way of tiny spores and can live for a long time. To stop reoccurring fungus in its tracks, it is important to sanitize socks, toenail clippers, shoes, and anything else used for the feet.
Preventing toenail fungus is rarely a top priority on our to-do lists, but taking a few extra steps of precaution throughout the year will lessen the chances of having to deal with toenail fungus in the summer. See below for a few quick tips on how to keep your feet fresh year-round:
- Keep toenails short and clean to prevent bacteria from getting trapped underneath.
- Use preventative gloves when washing dishes or cleaning clothes
- Wear ventilating socks to evade moisture buildup on feet
- Wear shoes in shared spaces such as gyms, locker rooms, and spas
- Allow maximum amount of air to reach your nails by avoiding tight shoes that create a sweaty environment for the nails
- ALWAYS (always!) practice good hygiene
Other Uses of Tea Tree
More often than not, natural medicinal oils have multiple remedial properties and benefits. We’ve included a list of a few of many ways to make the most out of your bottle of tea tree essential oil.
In addition to getting our feet ready for summer, tea tree oil is also an effective:
- Acne Treatment
- Aromatherapy oil
- Wart remover
- Flea repellent
- All purpose cleaner
- Skin infection treatment
- Cold sore treatment
- Lice treatment
- Skin tag remover
Happy Healing! (and Happy Feet)