Nothing spells discomfort and a hard time better than a contagious nail infection. Toenail fungus can be very hard to get rid of, especially with traditional treatment. Luckily, studies support the antifungal effects of essential oils for toenail fungus infections.
They’re not just antifungal, but more on that soon. In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- Why Aromatherapy oils work when antibiotics don’t. Plus, the importance of treating a toenail fungus as fast as possible.
- Some of the best essential oils for nail infections with fungi, yeasts, etc. With pros and cons for better-informed choices and a safe use.
- How to use these potent substances, plus a few safety tips.
- Therapeutic blends and mixes with aroma oils for a faster recovery.
- Our usual section of facts about toenail fungus. With signs & symptoms and preventive tips/measures.
Best Essential Oils for Toenail Fungus, Safe Use, and Recipes
Even though most of us don’t think of investigating our nails up close, they can tell us a lot about our health. Feet and hands are among the most exposed parts of the body. This is one of the reasons for which they can get so easily infected.
Nails are made of the same proteins as the hair. The way your hair is affected by UV rays, harsh detergents, chlorine, etc., so do the nails. We have millions of bacteria and germs that live and thrive on our skin. Most of them have a protecting role.
They cause infections only when there’s a physiological imbalance in the body. Skin infections can develop in lots of places. But my post today will address only toenail mycosis.
Nails are commonly affected by fungi and yeasts and sometimes molds too. Most toenail infections, however, are caused by a fungus called Trichophyton (80%).
Nail infections are also called Onychomycosis. They are very contagious and hard to treat.
An infected toenail will go through several stages and colors. It begins to yellow at first, after which it whitens, thickens and peels off.
The infection is already very deep in the nail plate when it starts to look yellow or white. Sometimes they turn green or brown too. I will tell you more about the signs of a toenail fungus infection, in the last part of the article.
If you notice any sign that your nails might be infected, it’s important to start treatment right away. It’s important because other family members could become infected too. Plus, the more you wait, the harder it’ll be to cure the infection.
Unfortunately, toenail fungus infections heal very slowly. Your treatment will last months, depending on how fast you’ve acted. It usually takes about 2 nail renewal cycles to get rid of the source of infection.
After one cycle things already look better, but fungal infections can come back just as easily. Which is why the treatment must continue.
Toenails are known to grow a lot slower than fingernails. They can completely regrow in about a year or more. As a bit of trivia, fingernails take 3 – 6 months to completely regrow.
Conventional treatment does not work well at all. There are just a few cases when natural remedies work better than medical treatments. Natural toenail fungus treatment is one of them.
What is the most effective treatment for toenail fungus then? The answer is essential oils. Aromatherapy oils make the most effective treatment for toenail and foot fungus.
How Can Essential Oils Help Treat Toenail Fungal Infections
Nails receive a lot fewer nutrients and oxygen than all the other organs and tissues. The area is not well vascularized, so oral treatments don’t really get to the fungal infection.
Fungi and viruses are known to develop resistance to antibiotics. Thus, any such topical or oral solution doesn’t have a high rate of success.
Essential oils, however, are a different story. Pathogens can’t really develop resistance to them. Cases, where they did though, are extremely rare.
Using essential oils for nail fungus treatment is a safe and effective alternative. Each aromatic oil is made up of tens and hundreds of active molecules. Each aromatic oil has a different working mechanism and pathway.
It’s hard for pathogens to develop resistance to something that acts differently all the time.
These essences are extracted from plants. They represent the most concentrated essence of that plant, its immune system if you would.
While alive, its volatile oils protect the plant from sun damage and predators. They can also help them spread by attracting pollinators.
Some essential oils are very powerful antifungal and antiviral substances. This means they can penetrate the protective cell of the fungus/virus and destroy it. There is a much more complex process of course, but that is the main idea.
An essential oil for toenail fungus treatment can not only destroy the pathogens. It can also help the skin and nail grow back (regenerate).
Their molecules are very small and light. This means they can penetrate deep into the nail plate and the skin underneath. This ability makes them great at finding the fungi and killing them.
Aromatherapy oils protect from further infections because they’re also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Most aromatic oils have strong antioxidant properties.
They can also help the skin and nail grow stronger and prevent a new fungal infection. The latter can only happen if the treatment is held long enough to give the nails time to regrow twice.
Toenail fungus infections are very common. Because of it, I’ve also chosen common essential oils for toenail fungus. You want to know what the best essential oils for toenail fungus are.
You’ll soon be reading about the pros and cons of Lemon, Tea Tree and Peppermint. Of course, you’ll get lots of other suggestions too. It’s always wise to change your antifungal oil regularly.
1) Lemon Essential Oil
Botanical name: Citrus limon.
- If you want to use Lemon essential oil for toenail fungus, you’re in luck. Lemon oil is very high in limonene, as are all the other citruses. Some contain this substance in a higher amount though. Limonene was found to have fungicidal effects on Trichophyton rubrum, the exact cause of most foot fungus infections.
- Besides being a strong antifungal, Lemon oil can also disinfect.
- It can improve blood circulation, which can speed up healing.
- Inhaling Lemon essential oil can calm the nervous system. You can feel more relaxed and less anxious.
- If you’re using a cold pressed Lemon oil, make sure you don’t soak in any sun. However, since you’re applying it on toenails, it’s easier to protect them from sun rays. The oil is phototoxic and can cause serious skin reactions.
- Lemon oil should not be used in case of kidney stones.
- If you suffer from epilepsy or you’re prone to seizures, the oil is not safe.
- Avoid ingesting it because it can be toxic to the kidneys.
Why I like it:
Lemon essential oil for toenail fungus makes a very pleasant treatment. It has many benefits, not only for the infection but for your mood too. You can use Lemon oil to also stimulate digestion and get rid of cellulite.
2) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia.
- Tea Tree should be among your main go-to essential oils for toenail fungus. Tea Tree essential oil is among the most studies natural antifungals. It’s very effective against many positive and negative gram bacteria. This includes Candida and Trichophyton.
- It is also effective against many antibiotic-resistant pathogens. This makes it great for foot fungi treatment. Tea Tree can be used for fungal infections of the nails and mouth too.
- It’s also a great immunostimulant. This means it can increase the production of white blood cells. They make most of the immune system, which helps fight the infection better.
- It is also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and can improve blood circulation. It increases the temperature of the skin (hyperthermal or hyperthermic).
- Tea Tree has cortisone-like effects, which helps relieve pain too.
- How to use Tea Tree oil for toenail fungus is easy. You can mix a few drops with a bit of carrier and apply on the affected nails. Or you can make a Tea Tree spray, foot bath, etc.
- Using Tea Tree for toenail fungus can trigger seizures. Thus, people with epilepsy or prone to seizures should not use it.
- Make sure you talk to a doctor first, if you’re on hormonal treatment. The oil has cortisone-like effects.
Why I like it:
Tea Tree is among the gentle essences and it is usually well tolerated by most skin types. It’s great for skin care in general and especially useful against infections of all sorts. It’s a very good first-aid tool.
3) Peppermint Essential Oil
Botanical name: Mentha piperita.
- If you like it and want to use Peppermint oil for toenail fungus, you can go ahead. A few studies found it to have good fungicidal effects against many fungi, including Trichophyton.
- This essential oil for foot fungus treatment has strong antibacterial effects too. It protects against parasites and soothes spasms in case of serious nail injury.
- Peppermint can soothe inflammation and relieve pain through its cooling sensation.
- Peppermint oil can trigger seizures and/or asthma attacks.
- Do not ingest this oil without medical advice. It can affect breathing and can also act as narcotic. Also, Peppermint oil can be toxic to the liver and kidneys.
- Avoid its use if you suffer from heart problems.
Why I like it:
You can use Peppermint essential oil for toenail fungus, herpes (cold sores), and muscle pain, etc. Peppermint is also a digestive essence, which boosts bile production. It can also repel insects.
Other great essential oils for toenail fungus treatment:
- Bay Laurel
- Clove Bud
Are you a Young Living fan and wondering what essential oils are good for toenail fungus? Well, you can use their Thieves oil blend.
It contains a mixture of Clove, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Lemon essential oils. They all have antifungal effects. Thus, Thieves oil blend can be used for toenail fungus effectively.
If you’re a doTERRA fan, the one blend I can recommend is Deep Blue. Though it’s not exactly meant to treat feet fungi, the blend contains powerful ingredients.
They are Wintergreen, Peppermint, Camphor, Helichrysum, etc. The doTERRA Deep Blue essential oil blend can be used effectively for toenail fungus.
How to Use Essential Oils for Toenail Fungus
A good nail hygiene can prevent future fungal infections. Good nail care can also help you get rid of an existent one. In order to do that, you’ll need a lot of patience and potent essential oils.
The treatment will take a long time; it can last anywhere between 6 – 24 months. It usually depends on how fast the toenails regrow. I mentioned that it takes about two full regrowth cycles to make sure the fungus is destroyed and won’t come back.
The average growth rate of a full cycle for toenails is between 12 – 18 months. Luckily, this growth rate can be influenced by many factors. Your toenails may grow faster in a warm environment and if you have a more active lifestyle.
Your body should not lack vitamins and minerals, necessary for hair growth. There is also a hereditary factor involved here, which you can’t change. But all the other aspects can be controlled and thus, you can speed up nail growth.
When you use essential oils for healthy toenails, you need to dilute them. They’re too concentrated for pure topical applications.
Most of these powerful antifungals can also irritate and burn the skin. It is especially painful if there are deep nail lesions.
Mix 6 drops of antifungal oils for toe fungus with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Some of the best carrier oils for toe and feet fungus are Nigella, Tamanu, and Olive and of course, Coconut oil.
Coconut oil is great for all sorts of toe fungal infections, including Athlete’s foot. It is a strong antibacterial because of the high amount of Lauric acid.
In rare occasions, you can apply a drop of Tea Tree or Lavender to the nail, undiluted. But used like that, after a few times, they can sensitize the skin and cause further problems.
Apply your essential oil mix for nail fungus 2 – 3 times a day, on a clean skin. You can wash your feet in the warm salt water. Add 2 – 3 drops of essential oils over the salt first so they can disperse evenly. Salt is a very good disinfectant!
Another pleasant and effective way of killing pathogens on the skin or in the air is through diffusion. Diffuse 5 – 10 drops of essential oils for nail and feet fungus.
You can repeat the diffusion 2 – 3 times a day, every 2 hours. The oils will purify the air and kill most pathogens, even on skin. Thus, they can prevent potential new viral infections. Check out how to diffuse properly:
Essential oils must not be used until you’ve first tested them for allergies. Most aromatic oils contain irritant and allergy-inducing substances. Every new batch of oils will be slightly different in composition than the previous one.
Their composition is influenced by climate, altitude, soil, harvest method and storage. Mix a drop or two of essential oil for nail fungus with a bit of carrier.
Massage the blend into the inside of your forearm. If nothing happens within a couple of hours, you’re safe to use the oil.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you must talk to your doctor first. The tiny oil molecules can pass through the placenta or be expelled through milk.
Consult a pediatrician before using Aromatherapy on children. Medical consultation is also necessary for elderly people.
Essential Oil Blend Recipes for Toenail Fungus
Essential oil blends are more potent than single oils. Some of them make very nice synergies and enhance each other’s antifungal effects. Check out the following recipes for nail fungus treatment.
Aromatherapy Toenail Spray Recipe
- Peppermint hydrosol (floral water): 1 Oz (30ml)
- Lemon essential oil: 10 drops
- Basil essential oil: 10 drops
Store this recipe in a spray bottle and shake it well before each use. Essential oils don’t mix with water but they can break down in very small molecules and disperse evenly.
Spray your toes and feet with it 3 times a day. You can also spray the interior of your shoes and socks with this spray.
Foot Bath Aroma Recipe
- Tea Tree essential oil: 8 drops
- Cinnamon essential oil: 8 drops
- Warm water: 1 liter (34 fluid ounces)
- Salt: 2 tbsp.
Mix salt with essential oils for toenail fungus. Add the mixture to the warm water and soak in your feet. Wipe with a disposable paper towel and throw it away. Wait for the skin to dry and then continue with a blend or spray (or both).
Speaking of a foot bath, can vinegar cure toenail fungus too? It most definitely won’t hurt. Vinegar is known to have powerful disinfecting properties.
Its acidic nature makes a very hostile environment for microorganisms like fungi, yeast, and molds.
Antifungal Essential Oil Mix for Nail Fungus
- Tea Tree essential oil: 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
- Coconut oil: 1 oz (30ml)
This blend can be made more powerful. Simply add more EO drops. Give it a good shake and apply (with gloves) on the affected toenails. You can also use these same essential oils in your Aromatherapy diffuser.
Make sure you leave any carrier oil out. They can clog the device.
Toenail Fungus Infections (Facts, Types, Signs and Preventive Measures)
Now you know why it’s so important to treat your feet and toenails fungus fast. It can easily spread to other body parts and other people.
The earliest sign of a fungal toe infection is discoloration. Any of the following signs and symptoms is enough to get you started on treatment:
- Itching around the toenails.
- Irritation of the skin around the toenails.
- Deformed toenails.
- Split nails.
- Foul odor coming from your toes and feet.
- Yellow, white, green or brown toenails.
- Very thick nails.
Recognizing these early signs of toenail and feet fungus can speed up recovery. It may even prevent it from spreading. Keep in mind that these pathogens thrive in humid and warm environments.
Like I was saying in the beginning, nail mycosis is caused by different types of pathogens. They can be mold, yeast and/or fungus. The latter is the most common cause though, followed by Candida infections.
The fungi that cause feet fungus are called dermatophytes and non-dermatophytes. They can also cause Athlete’s foot, which is a different type of fungal infection.
Other infections caused by Trichophyton are jock itch and ringworm. The scalp can also be affected.
What are the causes of a toenail mycosis? Walking barefoot in a wet environment like a pool, gym, etc. Or wearing someone else’s (infected) shoes, socks, and slippers.
Just by wiping your hands and feet with the same towel as others can lead to an infection. Essential oils for feet and toenail fungus can prevent an infection. They can also help you get rid of it, but it’s always better to prevent than to treat.
Tips for Proper Toenail Care
This is our final stop in this post. Take a look at the following tips and see if you can use them to prevent or treat a toenail infection:
- Obviously, avoid sharing the same shoes, socks, slippers, and clippers with other people.
- Also, avoid walking barefoot in humid public places.
- Make sure you and others use sterile tools for mani/pedi.
- Try to wear leather shoes and cotton or other natural fabrics.
- Maintain your immune system in optimal condition. Eat balanced, drink your water and exercise.
- Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics. They can kill good bacteria too and create an imbalance in the body.
- Use your own towel.
- Wear rubber gloves while applying your treatment on infected toenails and feet. Throw them away after use.
- If you suffer from excessive sweating, use a foot deodorant with essential oils for toenail fungus.
- Wash clothes, especially socks and towels at 60 C / 140 F.
Can you treat toenail fungus with essential oils? Not only that you can, but you should not even think twice. Conventional treatment takes a lot more time and it’s not even guaranteed to destroy all the fungi. That is also why the infection keeps on coming back.
You have lots of great options among the best essential oils for toenail fungus treatment. The ones I talked about in detail are also very common in many households. In any case, you will find them for sale easily.
Have you tried Aromatherapy to treat feet fungus? What type of treatment and skin care routine worked for you?