Also called as Onychomycosis, Nail Fungus or Fingernail/Toenail Fungus as it is popularly called is a fungal infection that affects the nails.
Common symptoms of the condition include nails that are dull, lackluster, thickened, distorted, brittle, ragged and discolored etc.
The condition can be treated with several OTC and prescription medications that, however, cause side effects like itching, burning, skin rashes and even liver damage etc.
A suitable alternative would be to opt for certain home remedies that offer the same benefits as standard medications, but with little or no side effects. Here are some of the most common home remedies for finger nail fungus.
Home Remedies for Fingernail Fungus
Vinegar is a well known cure for many types of bacterial and fungal infections. Most cases of finger nail fungus are caused by a fungus called Dermatophyte. The acidic environment provided by vinegar would create unfavorable conditions for the fungus to survive and inhibit its growth to a great extent.
Raw vinegar would affect the skin and so needs to be diluted before use. A solution of vinegar and water mixed in the ratio 1:2 should do the trick. Soak the infected area in the solution for about 30 minutes on a regular basis (at least twice a day) for maximum benefits. Continue the practice until the fungus is destroyed completely, which is usually indicated by the infected area clearing up. Dabbing a cotton ball in the solution and applying the same over the infected area can also provide desirable results. Treatment needs to be stopped, however, if the area becomes itchy or shows signs of developing a rash after coming in contact with vinegar.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
When mixed in equal parts with vinegar and applied over the infected area, hydrogen peroxide can effectively get rid of the dermatophyte fungus and cure fingernail fungus. Be really careful when applying the mixture as it could harm healthy skin. The best option would be to use an eye or nose dropper and apply a few drops of the solution beneath the nail.Repeat the same procedure twice a day until the infection clears up. Although mild stinging is considered normal when applying the solution, stop the treatment if you start to experience severe itching or burning in the area.
Listerine is commonly used as a mouth wash to get rid of bacteria in the mouth. It can also be used as an effective home remedy to treat conditions like fingernail fungus which are also caused by bacteria.The active ingredients present in Listerine include ethanol, benzoic acid, eucalyptol and thymol etc. which can both treat the infection effectively and help the skin heal faster afterwards. All you need to do is dip the infected areas in a bowl of Listerine for about 10-15 minutes at least once every day for quick and desirable results.
4. Green Tea Extract
Green tea contains potent antifungal properties that help deal with a variety of fungal infections in the human body, including Onychomycosis. When applied directly over the infected area, the extract can eradicate the fungus causing the infection quickly and clear the area effectively.
5. Salt Scrub
Salt scrubs can be used to effectively treat fingernail fungus. Although raw salt scrubs would cause a burning sensation when applied to the infected area, scented salt scrubs (which are usually mixed with essential oils) manage to clear the infection without harming the underlying skin.Applying some scented salt scrub over the infected area at least once every day can prove to be very helpful in treating finger and toenail fungal infections.
6. Vicks VapoRub
Not many may know about this really amazing home remedy for all kinds of fingernail/toenail funguses. Containing petroleum jelly, methanol and essential oils as its active ingredients, Vicks VapoRub can easily penetrate the root of the infection and start eradicating the fungus from there.
Wash and dry your fingers properly. Apply some Vicks VapoRub over the infected finger nails. Dab a good amount of the mixture on the infected areas and cover them with cotton gloves afterwards. Wear the gloves overnight and wash your hands in cold water the next morning. This would prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of the body. Don’t opt for nylon gloves or covers as these would cause excessive sweating and aggravate the growth of the dermatophyte fungus.
7. Essential Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil contains potent antifungal properties that help deal with several kinds of fungal infections related to the skin. The remedy is known to effectively tackle Onychomycosis and almost the causes related to the same.
Diluted tea tree oil will not be very effective in treating fingernail fungus. The best bet would be to use 100% non diluted tea tree oil to cure the infection and quicken the healing process. All you need to do is apply some tea tree oil to a ball of cotton and place the cotton ball directly on the infected areas. Using an eye dropper to apply a few drops of the oil directly beneath the nails should also do the trick. Repeat the practice for about 2 times every day to get rid of the infection quickly and effectively.
Bleach happens to work well for mild-severe cases of fingernail fungus wherein the infection remains on the nail bed without penetrating the skin underneath it. A solution of bleach and water mixed in the ratio 1:1 can be applied directly on the infected areas using a cotton ball. An eye dropper can be used to apply some drops of the solution beneath the nail beds to get rid of the infection in these ‘hard to reach’ areas. Applying the diluted bleach solution on the infected fingernails at least twice every day would yield positive results within a few weeks.
Even though these home remedies would provide effective relief from finger nail fungus and its symptoms, it is considered essential to note that these remedies work better when coupled with certain precautionary measures. These include washing hands and fingernails frequently using disinfectants or antibacterial soaps, drying the fingers and fingernails properly after washing them, keeping the nails trimmed and avoiding all kinds of nail polishes and nail decorations until the infection is taken care of.