What Is Toenail Fungus?
Also known as tinea unguium or onychomycosis, toenail fungus is a common condition affecting toenails. This fungal nail infection results from a variety of microorganisms like yeasts, molds, or fungus; when these come into contact with skin via cracked nails or skin around toenails. These openings are entry points for these organisms and fungus-like this is very dangerous.
Toenail fungus typically develops if sweat remains on feet and the damp or moist environment provides the ideal growth condition for fungal growth. If you frequently expose your feet to moist environments like swimming pools, this infection can develop. The problem is more prevalent in summers when the climate is damp and hot. An evaluation of your feet can indicate if you need an evaluation by a professional. A culture test of your toenails will be evaluated in a laboratory. Once the proper diagnosis is made for onychomycosis, you should take steps to treat the condition immediately. With the following home remedy using apple cider vinegar, toenail fungus can be treated effectively.
Step By Step Guide
One way you can treat toenail fungus is to use a vinegar foot soak. Using apple cider vinegar for toe fungus is a recognized way of dealing with the problem.
Step 1: get yourself a bottle of vinegar, of whichever type, though apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are most commonly used.
Step 2: fill a bowl with a solution of one part vinegar with 2 parts warm water. To get an accurate quantity, you can add a cup at a time. For those who find the smell of vinegar aversive, use essential oils like lavender to overcome the odor.
Step 3: soak your feet in the solution for 15 to 30 minutes regularly, preferably every day. Soaking for longer than 30 minutes is not advised.
Step 4: It is very important that you dry your feet completely after every soak because it was moisture that led to the problem of toenail fungus in the first place. It becomes all the more important to dry thoroughly if you plan on wearing socks or shoes after that.
Step 5: repeat all the steps every day until your infection is completely cured.
If your skin is highly sensitive, vinegar may cause skin irritation; if such is the case then it is advised that you reduce the amount of time you soak your feet. Alternatively, you can reduce how frequently you use the vinegar soak to a few times a week instead of doing it daily.
If you are not seeing any improvement even after frequent use, increase the proportion of vinegar in the solution and make it more concentrated. You can use equal parts water and vinegar to do so. Alternately, you can increase the frequency by soaking feet in apple cider vinegar for fungus twice a day.
What Type Of Vinegar Is Most Effective For Toenail Fungus?
Using apple cider vinegar for toe fungus is the popularly used remedy for toenail fungus because this vinegar is strongly acidic. White vinegar can also be used instead because it is equally strong. Any other vinegar will also do but it should have a pH of 2-3. Weak pH is not as effective in killing or inhibiting the growth of fungus.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kills Fungus?
Apple cider vinegar destroys the protective coating of the fungus after which the body can kill the fungus itself. This, however, operates inside the body where the body’s immune system can kill the fungus. Outside the body, this inhibits fungal growth and may ultimately kill the fungal growth.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Toenail Fungus?
Skin microbes, collectively referred to as skin microbes, are a part of one’s healthy lifestyle but if they get unbalanced, infections arise. Toenail fungus can develop in the toenails if the feet are not kept moist. Vinegar, being acidic, has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Vinegar, as a diluted acid, slows down fungal growth or kills fungus altogether.
The fungus cannot survive in acidic pH and using frequent vinegar soaks changes the pH of the skin, making it acidic. This discourages fungal growth, as revealed in a study conducted in 2018, by inhibiting the growth of C Albicans and other enzymes that the fungus needs for survival.
Although there are no direct studies revealing that vinegar is effective in treating all types of fungal growths, scientific research revolving around the fungal life cycle does indicate that vinegar should discourage their growth. Since using vinegar soaks cannot harm your skin, there is no reason for you not to try it at home. However, using apple cider vinegar for toe fungus may not always be effective. If the home remedy does not produce any real results or if the condition worsens, you should seek medical attention.
If the case of fungal infection is severe, your doctor would prescribe oral antifungal medication to treat the problem through internal medication. Alternatively, he or she may recommend later treatment that uses a concentrated heat source to target and kills the fungus. The toenail can then grow back effectively infection-free.
Preventing Toenail Fungus
While cures exist, prevention is always better. Maintaining proper foot hygiene is necessary to prevent any form of skin infection. The best way to prevent toenail fungus is to wash your feet thoroughly after workouts, trimming your nails regularly, and ensuring cuticle care. Remember not to wear damp shoes or socks, and to hydrate your feet with natural creams. Even for those who do not suffer from any fungal infection, vinegar foot soak can be a useful strategy because of its antifungal action.
While there may be other cures for toenail fungus, apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular remedies. Fungal infections are pretty common and typically not a serious concern, but can be quite frustrating if they become a common occurrence. The only way to avoid such infections is to ensure good hygiene and prevent the build-up of moisture and dampness. Such conditions are the breeding grounds for fungal microbes.