Home Remedy Myths for Treating Nail Fungus Dispelled
If you have or have ever had toenail fungus, you know it’s something you want taken care of right away. Toenail fungus is a common ailment that affects many people. In fact, 1 in 4 adults will contract one of the several types of toenail fungus by the time they reach age 40 (Link #32).
Symptoms include unsightly yellowing, thickening, or crumbling of the toenail and in some cases may be very painful. The causes of these infections of these infections usually stem from excessive heat and moisture around the area for prolonged periods of time. This can be due to perspired socks, poor hygiene, bad circulation, or an abnormal pH balance of the skin around the toes and foot. While prevention is always the best cure, what do you do once you have it?
Many people tote the wonders of home remedies to cure toenail fungal infections. It’s appealing to think that you could get rid of the problem yourself with common household items and avoid spending more money on over the counter medications. “All natural” is the buzzword phrase of this day and age.
However, the question is: Do home remedies really work? While some home or natural remedies have been proven to show some improvement in the state of the fungal infection, there really is no substitute for FDA approved anti fungal ingredients in medications in order to completely wipe the situation out.
Lets start with the most common home remedy for curing a toenail fungus: Apple cider vinegar.
Different websites and wives’ tales say that anything from drinking it to soaking your feet in it will have you cured in a hurry. While there are many benefits from consuming apple cider vinegar, ingesting it is definitely not you best option for treating an infection. The myth here is that the vinegar will boost your immune system, allowing your body to wipe out the infection on its own. Fungal infections are typically much more hardy than we give them credit for.
As great as your immune system may be, a simple apple cider vinegar boost is not enough to wipe out a toenail fungus well enough for it to stay gone for good. Other remedies recommend soaking the infected foot in warm apple cider vinegar mixed with epsom salts a couple of times a day.
This is one remedy that may give the appearance of reducing the effects of the infection, but it will not wipe it out entirely. Sooner or later, you’ll be right back where you started. Fungi love damp, warm places most of all. If all you’re doing is soaking your feet in warm water, no matter what it’s mixed with, you’re actually giving the fungus exactly what it loves most. This is especially true if your feet are not dried properly before going back into a sock and shoe.
Olive Leaf Extract
Another common remedy for toenail fungus is ingesting an olive leaf extract supplement.
Taking an olive leaf extract supplement does offer many health benefits, such as increased energy and helping with cardiovascular health, the myth here is that ingesting it will cure toenail fungus. Olive leaf extract has been proven as an antioxidant, comparatively stronger than green tea, and does boost the immune system (Link #33).
As far as getting rid of fungus, the misconception here is that olive leaf extract helps the body get rid of candida, or yeast infections. While some forms of toenail fungus may be a result of a yeast infection (little evidence), most are a different beast entirely (Link #34). Fungi and yeast are not the same thing. Olive leaf extract will not cure your toenail fungus.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many of the common natural “cures” for toenail fungus include rubbing various oils (orange, tea tree, acv, garlic, chestnut, castor, lemon, etc…) on the toenails and surrounding areas, or soaking them in different natural solutions, such as cornmeal or the aforementioned apple cider vinegar. While many of these treatments may temporarily help the symptoms, they will not permanently remove the fungus, and at some point it will likely regrow if left without proper treatment.
Fungal nail infections can be a caused by a variety of different types of fungus, and treating the symptoms will not eradicate the fungus itself (Link #35). To completely eradicate the infection and start the healing process, actual medication must be used.
Vicks Vapor Rub
There are many myths out there about the using over the counter medications not intended to treat fungal infections for that purpose. One example of this is Vick’s Vapor Rub. Many online sources feature “success” stories of people who have used it on their feet to remove a fungal infection.
Here’s the truth: using Vick’s Vapor Rub HAS been successful – but only on curing a few types of toenail fungus. According to a March 2006 Consumer Report, “Michigan State University clinicians found that applying the product daily to the infected nail cleared the condition in 32 of 85 patients, though it took anywhere from 5 to 16 months…” . First of all, 32 out of 85 is less than half the participants. Second, can you imagine trying to wait over a year to cure a fungal infection? That seems a bit drastic, although, in many cases that may be the reality of the situation.
While the home remedy myths discussed so far won’t cure most toenail fungus, they aren’t necessarily harmful. However, some suggestions for getting rid of unwanted toenail fungus are downright dangerous!
One such home remedy includes using bleach to remove toenail fungus. Remedies range from soaking the affected feet in a bleach and water solution to concocting a sort of paste using bleach and petroleum jelly. At best this will dry out your skin. At worst, using bleach on your skin can result in irritation and even chemical burns. From there the home remedies become even more bizarre. People have tried gasoline, chlorine, and other chemicals in the name of home remedy.
The solution to toenail fungus is simple. For the best chance at beating a fungal infection once and for all, a simple over the counter product will help do the trick. The FDA has approved several active ingredients for the use of getting rid of toenail fungus (Link #32). Look for the active ingredient Tolnaftate or seek a product such as NailRENEW. The best way to stop fungal infections is at the source. of the infection underneath the nail. You can’t just treat the symptoms; you have to eradicate the infection entirely. The best way to do that is not in some convoluted home remedy, but with proper antifungal ingredients composed in an FDA registered facility after extensive testing. The hard part is deciphering which products cut corners and which abide by the regulations.
Interested in a product that with FDA compliant antifungal ingredients to help with your discolored nails? Feel free to browse our Product Comparison Chart to compare prices, ingredients, and user reviews.