Eww, nail fungus! Who wants to have brittle, discolored nails that keep you from reaching out to shake someone’s hand or from wearing open toed shoes? To make matters worse, if you go to your doctor, he will likely hand you a powerful anti-fungal medication that you need to take for months. Not only does that medication have side effects, it is often unreliable, expensive, and not covered by insurance.
The good news is that you can heal your nail fungus cheaply and naturally without much effort. Baking soda is one of the most common substances in your house, but it is scientifically proven to stop the spread of nail fungus. This will help keep it to one finger or toe, and it will stay localized to just one place on the nail. Tea tree oil is another topical medication that has anti-fungal properties to kill off the bugs in your nail. Used together, these all natural remedies provide a safe, effective way to manage a nail fungus problem.
What is Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus is often an embarrassing, difficult condition. Whether you have it on your fingernails or toenails, you can often encounter difficulties in treating the fungus. Some of the symptoms of nail fungus include nail discoloration and a loosening of the nail. In fact, your nail can even fall off because of the fungus underneath it. Your nails can become brittle and change in shape entirely due to the condition. The most common signs are a thickening of the nail itself and yellowing of the nail bed. Sometimes the yellow color can manifest as streaks. You can have crumbling to the outside of the nail or dirt that accumulates under the nail bed.
Those who tend to get nail fungus are people who have Athlete’s foot, jock itch, or ringworm. You also increase your risk by getting manicures, pedicures, having an injury to the nail, or having constant moisture around the nail bed. Closed shoes are another known culprit for nail fungus.
How Alkalizing Substances Fight Nail Fungus
Baking soda is not an anti-fungal, per se. In fact, studies into baking soda’s mechanism of action show that it does not kill off any fungus that is present. Instead, the presence of baking soda keeps fungus from growing and spreading out of control. It is fungal-static, which means that it inhibits the growth and spread of the fungus to other nails.
Part of the reason that baking soda helps control fungus is that it changes the pH value of the skin and nails. When the pH is changed from a very acidic, sweaty environment to a dry, alkaline environment, fungus cannot grow. Fungus needs the acidity and the wet environment to continue to proliferate, and if you apply baking soda, you remove these properties and help cure your nail fungus.
Baking Soda as a Solution
Since baking soda works against the fungus that is living in your nails, you can use it in a number of ways. One way to use it is to take a cup of baking soda and add it to a foot bath. You can soak your feet – or hands – in the baking soda water for 30 minutes, twice per day to help discourage the growth of fungus under your nails. This often helps the mixture get underneath the nail bed, and it is effective for nail fungus that is not treatable in other ways.
The second way to use baking soda is to make a paste of baking soda and lukewarm water, and then you apply this paste to your nail. Try to work the paste into the cuticle and under the nail bed. Allow the mixture to stay on your nail for at least 20 to 30 minutes. You can do this twice per day to help control the fungus.
The last way to use baking powder is to help control the moisture on your feet. After the two methods used above, you should make sure that your feet are very dry. You may even consider using a hair dryer to discourage the further growth of fungus. Putting baking soda in your socks before wearing shoes can help you control the amount of sweat and moisture that builds up on your feet.
After using baking soda for a week or so, you may notice your nail turning white. This is a common side effect of baking soda use, and it can help if your nail fungus has discolored your nail bed. Sometime, the nail will actually fall off after treatment, and you will see that a new nail is growing underneath. This is the main goal of baking soda therapy, but don’t force your nail to fall off. Consider seeing a doctor regarding your nail fungus if you are a diabetic.
Tea Tree Oil Solutions
If baking soda doesn’t kill fungus but helps to stop its spread, you need something that has proven action against it. One of the most powerful natural remedies for fungal infections is tea tree oil. Derived from the plant Melaleuca alternifolia and steam distilled, tea tree oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that have been recognized for centuries. Even better, this treatment is all natural and is applied topically. This is in stark contrast to the medications that doctors prescribe for you that are ingested and often have side effects that can sometimes be worse than the condition.
You can use a course of baking soda on your nails to stop the fungus, and then use 100 percent tea tree oil to kill off the fungus that already exists. You should take two to three drops and place them on the nail bed, allowing them to absorb into the skin and cuticle. You can even take a drop of the oil and direct it underneath the nail bed. With the combination of these two natural treatments, you should see changes in your nail fungus condition within a week. You can easily avoid costly prescription medications and have the nails you always dreamed of.
Medline Plus; Fungal Nail Infections; Linda J. Vorvick, MD; October 2010
Master Gardener; Baking soda: will fungi fail and roses rejoice?; Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D.; 2009
Mayo Clinic; Tea Tree Oil; 2012