If you’re searching the web for home remedies for toenail fungus, steer clear of information telling you to use bleach. Using bleach on any part of your body can be harmful. Bleach is not safe for your skin, nor is it the most effective treatment for toenail fungus. The best way to find an effective toenail fungus treatment is by contacting your podiatrist.
So, if not bleach, how do you get rid of toenail fungus? Read our comprehensive guide to learn more about causes, treatment options, and prevention tips.
First, what causes toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is caused by a fungal infection that gets beneath the surface of your nail. It’s typically caused by exposure to an infected environment, but it can also be a result of athlete’s foot, excessive perspiration, or improper cleaning of the foot. It can last for many months if left untreated, and it’s often accompanied by a bacterial and/or yeast infection around the nail bed. Toenail fungus can spread to other toenails as well as fingernails or the skin.
The dangers of using bleach on your body
Bleach is a common household cleaning product. It’s often used to remove color from fabrics, remove mold or mildew, or to sanitize dirty surfaces. When used on your body or skin, however, it can cause serious problems. According to the Asian Journal of Research in Dermatological Science, using bleach on toenail fungus can actually cause infection and irritation to the skin and nail. Irritation, such as a rash or burning sensation, is especially common if you have sensitive skin. Other common complications include:
- Burns: If bleach is applied to the skin, it can cause a chemical burn. The burn can appear as red welts, and the skin may be irritated and painful.
- Allergic reactions: Similar to irritation, an allergic reaction can be triggered by applying bleach to the skin.
Home remedies that may treat toenail fungus
Although it’s best to see a podiatrist for toenail fungus treatment, you may want to try a home remedy first. Many of the following home remedies have antifungal properties and can be applied directly to the infected area:
- Vicks VapoRub: This can be applied once a day.
- Snakeroot extract: Apply every third day for the first month, twice a week for the second month, and once a week for the third month.
- Tea tree oil: Apply twice a day with a cotton swab. Note that this may cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
- Olive leaf extract capsules: Take one to three capsules twice daily with food.
- Ozonated oils: Apply twice a day to the infected area.
- Vinegar: Soak the affected area for up to 20 minutes a day using one part vinegar to two parts warm water.
Lastly, another home remedy is to change your diet. Some foods—such as those rich in calcium, vitamin D, fatty acids, probiotics, lean protein, and iron—may help prevent you from contracting toenail fungus. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering a change in diet or any of the home remedies to determine if they are right for you.
What is the most effective treatment for nail fungus?
A podiatrist is your best ally when it comes to determining the best and most effective treatment for toenail fungus. By seeking a podiatrist’s professional help, you’re much more likely to get rid of toenail fungus and avoid possible irritation and infection to the area. Before providing a recommended treatment plan, your doctor will first evaluate the infected area. Treatment options include:
- Topical or oral antifungal medications and removal of debris from the infected nail. Common oral medications for toenail fungus treatment are Lamisil and Sporanox. A common topical medication is Penlac.
- Temporary removal of the infected nail.
- Permanent removal of the infected nail. In more severe cases—and if the infection is resisting topical and/or oral medications—your podiatrist may recommend laser toenail fungus removal. Laser toenail fungus removal is a safe and painless procedure that takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Preventative treatment options for toenail fungus
Although there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid developing toenail fungus, your body might not make it so easy. Often, toenail fungus can develop as a result of the fungi that are naturally in your body. If you have a weakened immune system or poor circulation, you may also be more prone to fungal infections. However, when taking the proper preventative steps, you may be able to avoid contracting toenail fungus. Here are some ways to avoid toenail fungus:
- Maintain proper foot hygiene by washing your feet with water and mild soap, then completely drying your feet afterwards.
- Avoid showering barefoot in communal showers, such as those in gyms, dorms, or pools.
- Avoid frequently swimming in public pools.
- Change your socks regularly.
- Regularly clean personal showers and shower mats.
- Wear shoes or sandals in public showers.
- Wear properly fitted shoes that allow air to circulate.
‘If these methods of preventing toenail fungus are unsuccessful, don’t rely on home remedies for toenail fungus. Your primary care physician or podiatrist can recommend safe and effective toenail fungus treatments.
Schedule an appointment for toenail fungus treatment
If you’re looking for the most effective treatment for toenail fungus, schedule an appointment today with Arizona Foot Doctors in Scottsdale. After a gentle evaluation, we’ll treat your infection with laser fungus removal or topical/oral medications. Surgery is a secondary option if the conservative treatment doesn’t eliminate the problem. At Arizona Foot Doctors, we have over 35 years of experience in podiatry, and we encourage you to schedule an appointment online today or give us a call.