At first it may be a small white or yellow spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail, but as days go by you begin to notice discoloration, thickening and deterioration of the edges of the nail.
Why is this happening? Normally, it is a fungal infection, better known as nail fungus. If this problem torments you, we have solutions to give you.
Why do nail fungus appear?
The appearance of nail fungus is a fairly common condition, which usually occurs due to different factors:
- History of related conditions, such as athlete’s foot.
- Walking barefoot in humid environments, such as locker rooms or gyms.
- Having skin diseases, such as psoriasis.
- Suffer excessive sweating.
- Injury to the nail or surrounding skin.
- Have poor circulation.
- Having a weak immune system.
What do mushrooms look like?
A fungal nail infection can affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or multiple nails. The most common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- Deformed nail that can become detached from its nail bed
- Odor coming from the infected nail
- Nail that has become thick and brittle
How to treat nail fungus
There are many products to combat nail fungus, such as nail polishes against infection (ciclopirox), antifungal pills, creams, and even surgical procedures.
But if you are looking for natural options, you can try these home remedies:
Natural oils and extracts
Scientific evidence indicates that the application of many essential oils or extracts, such as tea tree, ageratin, jasmine, lavender, petitgrain, castor, sage, or ylang, helps eliminate nail fungus.
- Athlete’s foot, how to prevent fungus from appearing?
This is because they possess antifungal properties, usually coming from compounds like linalool and linalyl acetate. They should only be applied on the nail with fungus.
But beware! Do not apply them directly, as there is a risk of irritation. To avoid this, it is advisable to dilute the drops in a carrier oil, such as olive, soy or almond oil.
Garlic and onion
Garlic and onion are very popular remedies for fungal infections because the allicin they contain gives them antiseptic, fungicidal and bactericidal properties.
You can use them to remove nail fungus by cutting them into small pieces, then mashing them and mixing them in boiling water. Once the preparation is warm, apply it to the damaged nails.
Sodium bicarbonate, also called sodium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate of soda or bicarbonate of soda, is a white crystalline compound with a slightly bitter and salty taste. It has many uses, from gastronomic, to hygienic or medicinal.
We can take advantage of its potential antifungal effect by mixing it with water (not very diluted, we are looking for a pasty consistency) and applying it to the affected area.
Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Repeat this operation several times a day until the fungus disappears.
Many experts agree that lemon is a powerful antibacterial and healing agent, which is why it is often used to disinfect cuts, wounds and bites. These properties also make it an easy to use option against nail fungus.
You just have to apply it on the affected area with a cotton or swab and let it act. You can also dilute plenty of lemon juice in a container of water, to make foot or hand baths.
Vinegar is a cheap and effective disinfectant, as it can neutralize many dangerous bacteria, such as Escherichia coli. In addition, it was historically used to clean and treat nail fungus.
It is advisable to opt for apple cider vinegar, mix it with water and dip your hands or feet in the preparation daily. This dressing contains acetic acid, a compound with great antiseptic and fungicidal power.
Another option is to mix a tablespoon of water with a teaspoon of vinegar and apply the solution directly to the nail with a cotton ball..
Mouthwash on the feet?
Listerine mouthwash, commonly used to help prevent cavities, gingivitis and bad breath, has numerous active ingredients that allow it to be used as a foot wash as well.
In the case of feet, this type of wash is not used to combat odor, but for the antifungal properties found in menthol and thymol, a substance found in oregano and thyme plants.
Listerine wash is used to treat athlete’s foot and onychomycosis (toenail fungus). People also use Listerine on their feet to help get rid of cracked skin on their heels.
How to do a foot wash with Listerine mouthwash? Find a tub or container that fits the length and depth of your feet. The ratio is two parts of warm water and one of Listerine, enough to cover your feet.
Leave your feet in the solution for 45 to 60 minutes. You must have a lot of patience with this remedy, because you have to repeat the washes until the fungi disappear.
It may take a few months for the fungus to completely disappear. However, you can begin to feel relief right away.
How to make nails grow strong?
To prevent the appearance of fungus and strengthen nail growth, try to incorporate enough keratin, vitamins, mainly A, B, and C, minerals, such as zinc, iron, iodine and calcium, and sulfur amino acids into your diet.
You can get these nutrients by eating a diet rich in plant and animal protein, fruits, seeds, grains, fish, and vegetables.
Remember: even if you get rid of that annoying fungus, it can come back. Therefore, you should prevent it by maintaining good hygiene of your hands and feet:
- Keep your nails short and dry them very well (including the area around them).
- Avoid shoes or socks that are too tight, as they can cause moisture and create an ideal environment for fungal growth.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.