Toenail fungus is one of the most common nail problems accounting for about 50 percent of all nail problems. It causes nail discoloration, thickening, as well as crumbling leaving the nail very ugly. It also causes redness and inflammation of the surrounding skin which could be very painful especially when pressure is applied. Toenail fungus spreads easily and very fast and could be very challenging to treat – requiring a few months for a complete cure yet with a very high rate of recurrence. Some of the treatments that have proven very effective and very safe are topical solutions such as toenail fungus cream. Tablets are considered to be more effective but they have side effects that could be as serious as causing damages to internal organs.
Toenail fungus cream
Toenail fungus creams are one of the topical or external treatments for toenail fungus. Others include antifungal nail polishes and antifungal ointments. Toenail fungus cream usually comes in a set and includes a nail scraper.
To apply toenail fungus cream, first prepare the nail. Trim the nail to cut the most affected part away as much as possible. However, you must be careful not to do this excessively. After trimming, file the nail down as much as you can. This is to remove more infected parts of the nail and more importantly reduce the surface area of the nail which might have thickened because of the fungus infection. This is important because this treatment is a topical solution hence the level of absorption matters a lot. Thereafter, wash the affected area properly with warm water and soap to get rid of all debris. Then soak the foot in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften the nail and the adjacent skin. You can add Epsom salt to the warm water for more effectiveness.
The treatment sets include two creams: one of the creams contains urea which is to soften the nail for removal and the other contains bifonazole loaded with antifungal properties.
After soaking the foot for 10 minutes, apply the cream containing urea to the nail and cover it with an adhesive bandage for a whole day. Then remove the bandage and soak the foot in warm water again. Use the included nail scraper to scrape off the softened layer of the nail. Repeat this process for at least two weeks after which the infected part of the nail should have been completely scraped off. When this is done, treat the exposed skin with the cream containing bifonazole for at least a month.
How effective is toenail fungus cream?
Research found that the use of the cream containing urea alone perfectly treats toenail fungus in more than 40 percent of the participants. When both, urea and bifonazole, creams were combined, a higher and better treatment of toenail fungus was observed. This treatment option is highly effective for mild fungus infection and should still be used periodically even after complete treatment.
What to look for when picking toenail fungus cream
When buying toenail fungus cream, look out for the active ingredients such as urea and bifonazole.
Home remedies for toenail fungus
Besides the use of toenail fungus cream for treating toenail fungus, several home remedies for toenail fungus have been proven to be very effective in the treatment of this infection. They include:
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential rich in antifungal properties. It contains key elements such as terpinen which is a powerful antifungal agent. It destroys fungus from the toenail and restores a new and healthy toenail. Dilute this oil with a carrier oil, e.g. coconut oil, to avoid skin reactions such as irritation. Other essential oils that are rich in antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties include clove oil, oregano oil, and thymo oil. Prepare the nail and apply the diluted essential oil about three times daily for fast and effective results.
Olive leaf extract
The active ingredient in olive leaf extract is oleuropein. This ingredient contains antifungal properties and also helps to boost the body’s immune system. Apply this extract directly to the affected area or take the capsule.
This is a carrier oil considered as beneficial for so many health issues. It can be applied externally or consumed internally to treat toenail fungus.
This is primarily designed for cough and cold suppression. However, its key ingredients – eucalyptus oil and camphor – are considered to contribute to the treatment of toenail fungus. Apply this ointment topically to the affected area at least once per day.
Apple Cider Vinegar foot soak
ACV is loaded with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. A foot soak in ACV solution is considered as a viable treatment for toenail fungus. Soak the affected foot in a solution of ACV and warm water for about 20 minutes each day.
Toenail fungus requires prompt treatment and you have to be patient because the healing process will last a few months. Maintaining proper nail hygiene is key to the treatment and prevention of toenail fungus.