As an Amazon Associate, Modded gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Toenail fungus, medically called onychomycosis, is a type of infection where your toenails become discolored, thickened and cracked. For a mild case, the toenail will look like it has white and yellow spots under the nail beds. If not treated, the fungus can spread to other toes. Several treatments are available to destroy fungi infections, many of which are natural. Read this to know what kills toenail fungus instantly.
Causes of Toenail Fungus
Toenail infections are caused by tiny organisms called fungi. You can get affected in several ways:
- You walked barefoot in a warm, moist area like a pool deck.
- You had skin-to-skin contact with someone infected with fungus.
- You used the nail clipper of someone who has an infection.
- Your nails are often moist.
You get the infection through a small cut in the toe, a crack in the nail or the space between the nail and toe.
People with certain health conditions are at a higher risk of toenail fungus. It affects between 2% to 14% of Americans. It has a worldwide prevalence rate of 5.5%. You’ll likely get toenail fungus if you have the following conditions:
- Athlete’s foot
- A nail injury
- Poor blood circulation associated with peripheral vascular disease
- Hyperhidrosis, a condition where you excessively sweat
- A weakened immune system
Photo by Rune Enstad on Unsplash
Learning the cause and what kills toenail fungus instantly is the first step of treatment. In many cases, self-care and home ingredients can eliminate the infection. However, the treatment course can take weeks or months. Even if you can treat toenail fungus instantly, reinfection can likely occur.
Your dermatologist or foot doctor may not recommend any treatment for mild cases. Here are some natural remedies.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
It’s a staple solution for disinfecting or cleansing. It also effectively kills yeasts, fungi, viruses, bacteria and mold spores. You can apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab or a clean cloth and dab it on the infected toes. Wear gloves when using it to avoid skin irritation.
2. Black Tea
Black tea has tannic acid — a beneficial compound in many plants, such as legumes, leafy vegetables, coffee and black tea. It’s a medicinal substance used to treat heat and diaper rash. It also has antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, making it an ideal solution for toenail fungus infection. Boil a few tea bags and soak your affected foot on it.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a versatile agent you can use in many ways, from cooking to cleaning your car and treating toenail fungus. Applying a baking soda paste may help prevent the growth and spread of infection.
Since fungus thrives in a slightly wet area, baking soda removes excess moisture from the foot. Mix water and baking soda to create a thick paste and cover the infected area with it for a few minutes. Rinse it afterward.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Science has proven that apple cider vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It’s the most accessible kitchen ingredient you can reach out for to treat toenail fungus. It has acetic acid that helps restore the color of the nails and stop the growth and spread of infection.
To start the treatment, combine equal parts of warm water and apple cider vinegar to make a foot soak. For 15 minutes and twice daily, submerge the affected area in the solution.
5. Epsom Salt
Another excellent natural remedy is Epsom salt. Like with other foot bath concoctions, you can mix it with warm or hot water. Soak your feet in it for a few minutes. You can also add a few drops of essential oils with healing properties.
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils are another home staple to treat various skin ailments. Since these are sourced from herbs and plants, many of these oils have antifungal and antibacterial benefits. Some options that can treat fungus infection are:
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Lemon oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Clove oil
- Thieves oil
- Lime oil
Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, like coconut, before applying it to the skin. Alternatively, you can make a foot bath and add a few drops of oils.
7. Ozonated Oils
Ozonated oil is any oil with bubbles of ozone gas in it. You can try olive or sunflower oil. One research found that ozonated oils can destroy fungi, bacteria and yeast. Apply the oil topically and massage it gently until it penetrates the nails and skin.
Another kitchen essential to treat toenail fungus is garlic. It’s known for its potent antimicrobial property and is used in treating infections. Chop cloves of garlic and apply them on the nails. Be careful of skin irritation when using garlic.
Photo by Srinivas Reddy on Unsplash
What kills toenail fungus instantly? Besides natural solutions, doctors may also recommend medical methods to eliminate toenail fungus.
1. Oral Antifungal Prescriptions
Terbinafine, griseofulvin, and itraconazole are all oral FDA-approved medications to treat toenail fungus. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may need to take these prescriptions for several months or longer. Your doctor may perform a lab test to check for side effects or interactions with the medications you’re currently taking.
2. Topical Medications
For topical solutions, FDA approves ciclopirox 8% nail lacquer, tavaborole 5% solution and efinaconazole 10% solution as treatments. These medications are applied to the infected toenail. Your doctor may also recommend topical and oral medications simultaneously to kill toenail fungus.
3. Laser Treatments
Your care provider may also recommend lasers. The laser will shoot light beams to penetrate the toenails and destroy the growing fungus. It only treats toenail fungus but doesn’t cure it. Unlike medications, this option has minimal side effects. However, the likelihood of the fungus returning is also high, so self-care maintenance is vital.
Prevent Toenail Fungus
Photo by Billie on Unsplash
What kills toenail fungus instantly? Treatment solutions will require days or weeks of application. Prevention is a better route to take. You can reduce the probability of getting infected by following these tips:
- Wear flip-flops in communal areas, such as public showers.
- Wear the right size of shoes.
- Clean and disinfect the nail clipper before using it.
- Dry your feet after a shower.
- If a family has a nail fungus, avoid using their footwear and other personal things.
- If you have diabetes, follow your doctor’s foot care recommendations.
Don’t Overlook Toenail Fungus and Treat It Immediately
Foot health is often an overlooked part of health. Your nails can say a lot about your overall well-being. Toenail fungus rarely develops into a complex illness. However, it’s associated with other conditions like diabetes and a weak immune system.
If you have infected toenails, get it treated immediately. You can use natural home remedies found in your kitchen. Things such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and black tea can all prevent the infection from worsening. Consider visiting your doctor when the infected area swells and turns red.