We come in contact with microscopic organisms every day, which seek out undetectable openings in the skin so that they can set up shop in a warm and moist environment. Whether you’ve visited the local swimming pool or took a shower at the gym, nail fungus can strike – zeroing in on the small separation between your nail and nail bed. If the conditions are right, you’re stuck with an infection that often produces unpleasant results.
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What is Nail Fungus?
Typically, a group of fungi called dermatophytes are responsible for causing an infection of the nail, also known as onychomycosis. However, yeast and molds can also cause an infection to develop. In the beginning of a nail fungus infection, a white or yellow spot may appear under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungus spreads deeper into the nail, you may experience discoloration and other physical changes. If one or more of your nails show the following symptoms, a fungal infection is to blame:
- Thickened fingernails
- Fingernails that are brittle, crumbly or ragged
- Distorted fingernail shape
- Fingernails appear dull and are no longer shiny
- Darkened fingernails, due to the buildup of debris under the nail
- Flaky toenails
- Easily chipped toenails
- Toenails exhibit yellow, black, or brown spots
- Toenail pain when wearing shoes
- A foul odor under the toenails
- Stinging sensations under the toenails
Nail Fungus Home Remedies
Nail fungus infections will continue to worsen if you constantly expose your nails to warmth and moisture – like slipping into the same pair of sweaty shoes for a workout. While lifestyle changes are not enough to drive away a nail infection, the following home remedies for nail fungus could send your fingers and toes on the right path towards recovery:
a) Vinegar (especially Apple Cider):
Increase the acidic environment of your nail fungus by soaking your nails in vinegar every day for three times daily. While it may take awhile, soaking in the vinegar for six months will encourage healthy growth that eventually replaces the infected nail.
b) Dry and Breathable Shoes:
Since nail fungus thrives in damp conditions, it is suggested to wear shoes made from natural materials, such as leather and canvas. Keep in mind that man-made materials, like vinyl and patent leather, do not allow your feet to breathe. Additionally, rotate your choice of footwear by not wearing the same shoes two days in a row. This will also ensure a dry recovery for your nails.
Offering the relief of a powerful antiseptic, soaking the fingers or toes in Listerine has produced results in some people within less than one month.
You can use garlic as a nail fungus remedy both internally and externally. Start by consuming five to six teaspoons of garlic extract per day. Take a couple of raw garlic cloves and liquefy in a blender. Using a cotton ball, apply the liquid garlic to an infected nail for three times per day.
Take three zinc tablets per day until the infection passes. Keep in mind that it is important not to exceed 100 milligrams on a daily basis.
f) Hydrogen Peroxide (3%):
Clean the environment surrounding your nail fungus by using hydrogen peroxide.
g) Rubbing Alcohol:
Soak infected toenails in rubbing alcohol two times per day for around 20 minutes (in the morning and right before bed). Using extra-absorbent paper towels, make sure to thoroughly dry your nails.
h) Appropriate Nail Care:
Keep your fingernails short and free from polish. Routinely trim your toenails, while following a straight-line pattern. Use a nail file to smooth the edges.
Treat a case of bad nail fungus by increasing the amount of good bacteria you have in your body. Fight fungus by adding probiotics, such as yogurt, to your diet.