Tea tree oil is also called melaleuca oil that has many therapeutic benefits.
It’s antifungal effects and antibacterial effects are useful in treating fungal infections. Therefore tea tree oil for nail fungus is one of the best solutions for treating nail fungus.
Nail fungus is one of the hard dermatological conditions to treat. Onychomycosis/ tinea unguium are the medical terms used for nail fungus.
Causes for nail fungus
Fungus grows in warm, wet environments. Both your fingernails and toe nails can get affected by these funguses and cause smelly, discoloured and easily breakable nails.
Nail fungus can be transmitted from person to person if you don’t use properly sterilized nail clippers and manicure, pedicure tools.
Men are more prone to get nail fungus than women.
Risk factors to develop nail fungus
- Diabetes mellitus
- Age above 65
- Poor blood circulation
- Artificial nail use
- Frequent swims in public pools
- Nail injury
- Skin injury around the nail
- Weak immune system
- Immunity reducing drugs in organ transplant
- Cancer treatment
- Tennis shoes and boots- poor ventilation to toes
- Having moist fingers and toes- washing fir a long time
How to identify nail fungus?
The infection can be on a part of a nail, entire nail or several nails at a time.
You will have following symptoms if you have a nail infection
- Brittle and thick nails with yellowish or whitish discolouration
- Smelly nails
- Distortion of nail that is lifted up from the nail bed
How does a dermatologist treat nail fungus?
First your doctor will identify the signs in your nails and confirm it by doing microscopic examination.
After diagnosing he will prescribe you with oral antifungal medicines such as Itraconazole(Sporanox), Terbinafine(Lamisil), Fluconazole and Griseofulvin.
Though topical treatments are available they are not much used by the doctors.
Tea tree oil for nail fungus as a topical treatment
Scientific research based evidence in using tea tree oil for nail fungus is low. But there are few researchers that have proved when tea tree oil is applied on nails along with oral antifungals the result is better than using oral antifungals alone.
The other problem with nail fungus is it’s recurrence. Complete cure for nail fungus is still under research.
How to use tea tree oil for nail fungus
To use tea tree oil for nail fungus you must know the right recipe.
You have to add 6 drops of tea tree oil into 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. You can apply it around and on top of the nail with the use of a cotton bud. You have to keep it for 1h and wash off with soap and water.
If you have toe nail fungus, you can soak your foot in diluted tea tree oil. For this you need 10 drops of tea tree oil and 100ml of coconut oil or 150ml of warm water. You can soak your feet 20minutes 4-5 times a week.
Keep your affected nails cut short and make sure to keep your nail clippers clean. Try to avoid wearing nail polish until the infection is resolved.
Sometimes wearing nail polish/ keeping nails dirty can predispose to bacterial infection on top of the fungal infection.
Safety issues with using tea tree oil for nail fungus
When using tea tree oil for nail fungus there are some saftey issues you should be aware of.
Tea tree oil is safe to apply on skin if properly diluted.
Keep the tea tree oil containers away from children and pets as it is toxic if ingested. Severe allergic reactions/ coma can happen if you get exposed to high doses.
If you are prone to get skin irritation and allergies always do a patch test before applying into your skin.
Apply a small amount of tea tree oil 1 drop with carrier oil 6 drops on your forearm or behind your ear.
If you don’t get any skin irritation within 24h you are good to proceed with tea tree oil for nail fungus.
You can not use this essential oil for nail fungus if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Nail fungus is very hard to cure. So you should be patient and courageous enough to continue the treatment and keep your nails away from moist.
It’s not impossible to cure completely if you can stop the spread of the infection to newly forming nails.