If you notice that your toenails are changing colors or getting a little thicker, then you may have toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is what occurs when a fungus infects either your toenail or the skin underneath it. For a fungal infection to occur, there usually has to be either cracks in your toenail or skin.
Toenail fungus may not be a life-threatening condition, but I think most of us can agree that it is an irritating, annoying, and persistent problem to deal with. I can also tell you that toenail fungus is actually incredibly common.
While it is not an emergency, if it’s not treated properly, the fungus can easily spread to other parts of the body, such as your skin. When that happens, you have a much bigger problem to deal with. So whether or not it’s warm enough for you to wear sandals, you should deal with toenail fungus promptly before it becomes a bigger concern.
Causes of Toenail Fungus
Chances are you wear shoes and socks a lot of the time. While this keeps your feet warm, it also provides the perfect breeding ground for fungus. Fungus grows in warm, damp, and moist environments, which is why toenail infections are so common. Once a fungus is on your toenail, it can easily grow.
The fungus itself spreads easily, so there are many ways that you can get a fungal infection. If you have another type of fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot or jock itch, that can spread to your toenail. The fungus can also spread from another person who has a fungal infection.
Another source that people don’t often consider is pedicures. If the tools are not disinfected or sanitized properly, they can easily spread fungal infections. This means that if you are having your toenails done at a nail salon, you need to ensure they are properly disinfecting nail clippers and the other things they use. Otherwise, you can take home a fungal infection along with your new pedicure.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may notice some changes in the appearance of your toenails. One of the most obvious signs is if the color of your toenail changes, usually to a darker color. This is typically caused by build-up underneath your nail, which makes it appear darker than it actually is.
Some other signs are if your nail becomes thick, brittle, or breaks easily. If pieces of your nail are falling off or if it seems to become separated from the skin underneath, that’s another common sign of a fungal infection.
As well, look for changes in the shape of your nail. Yellow streaks across your nail or white spots are other big indications of fungus.
Typically fungal infections are not painful in the earlier stages, but they can begin to become uncomfortable after a while. If left for too long, your toes could start to hurt, making it painful to put on shoes, walk, or stand.
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Who Can Get Toenail Fungus?
Anyone can develop toenail fungus, but there are certain risk factors that have been linked to the condition.
If you have family members who have had toenail fungus before or an illness that compromises your immune system, such as HIV or diabetes, you are more likely to develop toenail fungus.
As well, anything that makes your feet more damp will increase your chances of getting toenail fungus. These risk factors can include wearing boots, wearing tight shoes, running and jogging, and walking barefoot in wet areas (i.e. changing rooms or public showers).
Treat Toenail Fungus Naturally With Oregano Oil and Olive Oil
Luckily, there are a variety of natural treatment options that can cure most cases of toenail fungus. These natural remedies are effective, affordable, and easy to do at home.
One of the most effective natural remedies is a combination of oregano oil and olive oil. Oregano oil is an incredibly powerful oil that contains fungicidal properties. This means that it can eliminate fungal infections when used properly.
Oregano oil is powerful enough that it should not be applied directly to the skin. It can cause skin irritation, redness, and burning, as well as other bad reactions. You should never apply pure oregano oil to your skin. To use oregano oil safely, it needs to be diluted with a carrier oil. By mixing oregano oil with another type of oil, you can use its fungicidal properties in a way that won’t irritate or hurt your skin.
Some people try to dilute oregano oil, as well as other essential oils, into water, but this does not work. Since oil and water separate from each other, oregano oil will not mix in with water.
Olive oil is a perfect carrier oil to dilute oregano oil. Olive oil is affordable. It is also commonly used in skincare, as it can hydrate and soften skin. This makes it a great, non-irritating option to use on your toenails and skin in combination with oregano oil.
For every teaspoon of olive oil you use, add two to four drops of oregano oil. You only need a very small amount of oregano oil to harness its fungicidal properties.
The treatment is simple. Apply this mixture to the affected areas, as well as any surrounding area that could be a spot for fungal infection (such as your uninfected toenails). Afterwards, leave your foot uncovered and allow the oils to seep into your skin and the nail. The fungus will slowly be killed off.
You can do this treatment when you’re watching TV, reading a book, or relaxing. If you want to move around without tracking oil through your home, use a pair of cheap flip-flops that will allow your feet to breathe. Putting your damp feet back into socks or shoes could delay how long the treatment takes, as these are good conditions for mold to thrive.
By doing this treatment at least once daily, you can cure your toenail fungus in less than a month. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of weeks.
So don’t despair if you see some fungus growing on your toenail. Take a trip down to the health food store, pick up some oregano and olive oil, and wash that fungal infection away!
This article was republished with permission from doctorshealthpress.com.
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