For millions of men and women, what often begins as a small white or yellowish spot just under the tip of the toenail quickly spreads to a full blown case of unsightly and sometimes painful nail fungus infections caused by an overgrowth of yeasts and molds. Fortunately, there are various options to consider for treating this stubborn condition including the many unconventional nail fungus oil treatments gaining in popularity. But, are home remedies such as those really a safe and effective alternative?
Due to the proliferation of side effects from prescription medications, not to mention their ineffectiveness in many cases, quite a few of those millions suffering from toenail fungus are now turning to other means of treatment in hopes of a cure. In addition to preparations using inexpensive products commonly found in the medicine cabinet like Vicks VapoRub or in the kitchen such as ordinary white vinegar, using one or more of several essential oils for nail fungus has also been touted by some as a means of curing toenail fungus.
Essential Oil for Nail Fungus Home Remedies
A variety of essential oils, which are the essences of plants and flowers, including tea tree, lavender, and oregano oils are the most commonly used for treating nail fungus. Tea tree oil, which comes from the leaves of the Australian melaleuca alternifolia plant, is considered to be among the most powerful of all the antifungal essential oils and it also is believed to have antiseptic properties.
Oregano oil is also thought to have antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and lavender oil is used in conjunction with tea tree oil for its healing effects. Coconut oil is another Fungus Clear antifungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory essential oil used for treating nail infections. All of these toenail fungus oil treatments are applied topically to the nail and surrounding skin two or three times per day using a cotton ball or swab, or directly from the dropper, continuing on for as long as three to six months.
A Look at Conventional Toenail Fungus Treatments
Although benign in terms of its effect on one’s health, toenail fungus is undoubtedly one of the most difficult conditions to successfully treat. Currently, there are only a few prescription medications approved by the FDA to choose from for treating nail fungus. Lamisil is an oral medication prescribed for toenail fungus that has been linked to serious side effects such as liver damage as well as gastrointestinal problems and even skin rashes. Other antifungal drugs can also cause a number of side effects including high blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, fever and dizziness, just to name a few.
Most topical prescription medications naturally have fewer side effects, but the downside is that they also have a lower success rate in treating toenail fungus and must be used early on to even be effective at all.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence, or the approval from the FDA, come the claims that nail fungus oil treatments actually do work. Are those claims just hype or do these home remedies really outperform what modern medicine recommends?
The Pros and Cons of Using Nail Fungus Oil Treatments
Using natural methods such as nail fungus oil treatments for curing fungal infections is certainly an attractive option in light of the myriad side effects from prescription drugs. According to those who swear by their effectiveness, in addition to causing no serious side effects save for the occasional rash, essential oils are relatively inexpensive, at least individually, and also easy to find.
However, despite the claims by the nameless and faceless on the Internet that an essential oil for nail fungus such as tea tree oil has cured their infection, there are countless others who have developed skin reactions including rashes and blisters after using the very same oils. And others still who report absolutely no reaction at all, including no improvement or reduction of fungus on the toenails even with faithful, daily applications.
Using essential oils for nail fungus can also be expensive in the long run simply due to the many months such treatment must be administered. The sheer amount of time it takes before it is known if the treatment is effective or not is yet another drawback to consider to using a toenail fungus oil remedy.
And, even more importantly, the question of whether or not essential oils are even safe for topical use weighs heavy on the minds of many. Tea tree oil in particular is in danger of being banned completely in Europe after clinical trials resulted in serious skin rashes and allergies. Scientists in the United States believe the oil may have a hormonal like effects in boys leading to a condition known as gynecomastia, or the growth of breasts.