If you notice a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail, that could be the beginnings of a fungal infection. A fungal infection happens due to the overgrowth of fungi on or under the nail. As the infection goes deeper, the fungus may cause your nail to thicken, discolor, and crumble at the edges. But don’t worry. Embarrassing as it may be, toenail fungus is a lot more common than you think, and there are tons of easy, inexpensive home remedies that you can follow to cure it.

First things first: what are the causes of toenail fungus?

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fungal infections affect toenails more than fingernails, especially since toes are confined in your shoes, and fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, causing them to thrive and overpopulate. Additionally, if you come in contact with someone who already has a fungal infection, it could potentially spread to you. This is why, if you’re fond of getting manicures and pedicures at salons, you make sure that the staff disinfects their tools properly and thoroughly.

Who is at risk of toenail fungal infections?

While everyone can be at risk of toenail fungus, there are some factors that increase the likelihood of developing an infection. For example, this condition is more common in older adults, typically those above 65 years old, than in children because older adults have poorer circulation, and their nails grow slower and thicker with age. Fungal infections are also more evident in men than in women. Those who suffer from diabetes, a weak immune system or diseases that causes poor circulation are also more likely to develop a fungal infection.

Now, on to the treatments.

What are some of the best home remedies for toenail fungus?

Vinegar

Vinegar is a common household item. You use it for cooking, and sometimes even as a home-cleaning solution. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests vinegar can be an effective cure for toenail fungus, making it a safe and easy home remedy to try. To use, you can apply vinegar directly to the infected area by placing your foot in a bowl mixed with one part vinegar and two parts warm water, and soaking for up to 20 minutes.

Baking Soda

Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is another common household product with antifungal properties as it can soak up moisture. One study shows that baking soda effectively inhibited the growth of 80 percent of fungal isolates, making it an effective solution to many fungal species commonly found in toenail fungus.

Start by making a paste out of baking soda and water, and directly apply the paste to the affected nail. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Alternatively, you can also add some baking soda to water for a daily foot soak. You can also put baking soda inside your socks and shoes to soak up the moisture.

Tea Tree Oil

Also called melaleuca, tea tree oil is a useful essential oil for many reasons, including its significant antifungal and antiseptic properties, making it one of the best home remedies for toenail fungus. It’s very simple to use. Rub tea tree oil directly to the affected area twice daily until the symptoms of the infection subside.

Ozonized Sunflower Oil

Ozonized sunflower oil is “injected” with ozone gas. According to a study made in 2011, this type of ozone exposure in low concentrations can disable organisms such as fungi, yeast, and bacteria that can cause toenail fungus. Another study found that using ozonized sunflower oil is more effective than using the prescription topical antifungal medication, ketoconazole or Xolegel. Rub a small amount of this oil onto the affected toes twice daily until symptoms subside.

Olive Leaf Extract

According to a 2012 review, taking one to three olive leaf capsules with meals twice daily is more effective than using an olive leaf salve. You can purchase olive leaf capsules online. If you choose to follow this treatment, make sure to drink plenty of water. Otherwise, you can apply a small amount of the liquid form onto your infected toenails multiple times per day.

Author's Bio: 

This website was created to help the over 35 million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus. For most, nail fungus is an uncomfortable subject to talk about. If you have the condition you know how painfully embarrassing it can be – distorting your nails from clear and smooth to dark, yellow, black, and misshapen. This website is committed to creating and aggregating useful, honest information on how to address this condition. We are here to help.