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Nail fungus can occur when parasitic fungi gain entry through an abrasion around or in the nail. They can also enter through otherwise weakened nails. Once they gain entry it is easy for the fungi to spread as the nail is effectively providing a coat of protection. Infection starts as a small yellow or white spot which will eventually discolor the whole nail as the infection develops. The fungi feed on the keratin, the tough fibrous protein which makes up the nail, eventually leading to cracks, chips, and peels as the nail weakens.
Fungus can attack both the nails of the fingers and the toes. As fungus enjoys a warm moist environment – an environment which our feet are constantly subjected to – nail fungus infections are more likely to occur on the toes of our feet.
There are medical treatments readily available but you can always try the cheaper home alternatives created from common ingredients most people already have in their pantries.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Fungi cannot thrive in the acidity of apple cider vinegar which kills bacteria while also stopping the spread of the infection.
Use undiluted apple cider vinegar to soak the affected nails twice a day for at least 30 minutes. You can alternatively try a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and water. Carefully dry your feet (or hands) after your soak and apply a small amount of olive oil to moisturize the skin.
2. Listerine Mouthwash
The highly advertised anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients have helped make Listerine popular as a mouthwash but these same properties also make it an excellent home remedy for nail fungus.
Use a small utensil filled with mouthwash to soak your nails in for about 10-15 minutes. Wash off with plain lukewarm water when you’re done.
3. Vicks VapoRub
While there may be no clinical trials which prove the effectiveness of Vicks VapoRub as a nail fungus treatment, user testimonials abound as to its validity.
Rub a decent amount of VapoRub into the affected nails twice daily. Best results may be achieved when one of the treatments is completed just before bed. The VapoRub will then stay put for the entire duration. Wash off the VapoRub with warm water when you get up the next morning.
4. Tea Tree Oil
The antiseptic and anti-fungal properties of tea tree oil have been well-known by many cultures for centuries. Simply soak a cotton ball with tea tree oil and rub it onto the offending nail or apply a few drops directly to the fungal site.
5. Water And Vinegar
Combine an equal amount of vinegar and warm water and soak the infected nail in this solution for 15 or 30 minutes. Once you’re done, wash the nail with plain water and be sure to dry it thoroughly. For best results, do this at least twice a day.
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