Medically known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can be caused by different types of fungi such as dermatophytes, candida or mold. It’s contagious in nature and can become chronic if the infection spreads to other nails. The nails, which would become thick initially, will become fragile and break-off easily as the fungus progresses.
Toenail fungi can spread through contaminated pedicure equipment, which is not sterilized properly. People with a compromised immune system and diabetes are at a higher risk of developing it. However, you don’t need to use an antibiotic powder or medication to stop its growth, when you can find a natural remedy in tea tree oil.
How Tea Tree Oil Works
Tea tree oil‘s antifungal and antibacterial properties not only fight the fungi, but also stop the infection from spreading. [1,2] A natural disinfectant, it has a sharp camphoraceous odor and has a menthol-like cooling effect, which can be useful in treating other skin infections such as rashes and hives, too. [3,4]
How To Use It
- Mix two drops of tea tree oil in 1tbsp coconut or olive oil. Apply this mixture on your infected nail using a cotton ball and leave for 10 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can make a foot soak by dissolving four to five drops of tea tree oil in half a bucket water. Soak your feet in this for 20 minutes.
1. Larson D, Jacob SE. Tea tree oil. Dermatitis. 2012 Jan-Feb;23(1):48-9. doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e31823e202d. PubMed PMID: 22653070.
2. Syed TA, Qureshi ZA, Ali SM, Ahmad S, Ahmad SA. Treatment of toenail onychomycosis with 2% butenafine and 5% Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil in cream. Trop Med Int Health. 1999 Apr;4(4):284-7. PubMed PMID: 10357864.
3. Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan;19(1):50-62. Review. PubMed PMID: 16418522; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1360273.
4. Buck DS, Nidorf DM, Addino JG. Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. J Fam Pract. 1994 Jun;38(6):601-5. PubMed PMID: 8195735.