Essential oils for athlete’s foot can be beneficial due to the antifungal properties of the formula. If you regularly experience sweaty feet, athlete’s foot could be a problem for you. Natural remedies, such as tea tree oil and oregano oil, provide an easily accessible way to treat a toe fungus.
Medically known as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is a common problem worldwide. It’s believed that up to 70% of people will go on to develop this condition at some point in their lives. The fungi are most active in warm, moist, and dark environments like shoes, sneakers and public leisure centers.
Fungal skin infections can be sore and painful. Typical symptoms include itching and burning with the appearance of red blotches and cracking on the surface of the skin.
You should treat athlete’s foot at an early stage. If allowed to flourish, fungal skin infections like tinea pedis can become severe, disrupting your movement and lifestyle. If you treat athlete’s foot sufficiently early, the condition will clear up in about 1 to 4 weeks.
Table of Contents:
- 1 What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
- 2 Which Essential Oils Help with Athlete’s Foot?
- 3 What Are the Side Effects of Essential Oils?
- 4 Will My Athlete’s Foot Go Away Permanently?
What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is not restricted to athlete’s, despite its name. It is a common skin complaint that occurs on the foot and is most prevalent among people who have sweaty feet.
Tinea pedis is contagious. You can easily pick up ringworm of the foot in public spaces as they are an ideal breeding ground for fungus. Shared changing rooms, swimming pools, gyms, spas, and saunas are all locations where the fungus is lurking.
The signs of athlete’s foot include:
- Scaly red rash
- Stinging and burning
- Skin peeling between the toes
- Blisters or ulcers
- Dryness and scaling
What Are Essential Oils for Athlete’s Foot?
Plants and herbs contain oils that can be extracted using a sophisticated distilling process. The end product of the distillation process is known as essential oils due to the medical and therapeutic properties of the solution.
Characteristics of these oils include antifungal properties and fragrances. The scent and type of agent that is most prominent in the product will depend on the plant the oil has been extracted from. Some fragrances are mild and sweet while others are quite potent.
Essential oils are commonly used for all kinds of healing practices. They are particularly useful for treating infections, skin conditions, and many other medicinal complaints.
Which Essential Oils Help with Athlete’s Foot?
Essential oils contain a broad-spectrum of antifungal and antibacterial agents that inhibit the aerobic growth of yeast, mold, and fungi.
Experts recommend mixing water with 25% to 50% of essential oil. Weak mixes do not work. However, essential oils are concentrated, so don’t use an overly strong concentration.
This contains antifungal properties that are effective at eliminating mold. The nutritional properties are also suitable for the immune system which help the body to fight fungus naturally. It is known that people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to fungal skin infections.
Studies show that oregano has antioxidant properties that inhibit antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Its compounds include antiseptics known as phenols which are also found in thymol and carvacrol – two active ingredients that eliminate fungus on contact.
Oregano oil for athlete’s foot is easy to use. Follow the instructions below:
- Apply it between the toes with the dropper
- Rub the ointment in so that it soaks into the skin
- Cover your foot with a sock or plastic sock to prevent oil going on to the floor
- Repeat this twice daily until the condition has cleared
Lavender is known for its anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and antibacterial properties. It is found in many treatments that help to promote healthy skin due to a range of skin-pathogenic strains.
Together with its medicinal properties, a lavender essential oil also has a soothing fragrance that helps to reduce stress and can aid sleep.
Lavender oil doesn’t have antifungal properties that are as potent as alternative essential oils. It is advisable to blend the oil with another treatment (following patch testing for the skin).
Here is a quick step-by-step guide:
- Put water in a bowl
- Add lavender oil with tea tree oil
- Soak your feet for 30-60 minutes
- Dry your feet thoroughly
- Cover your foot
- Repeat twice a day
Wear moisture-wicking socks for sweaty feet to bed to help the essential oils permeate the skin.
Melaleuca Oil (Tea Tree Oil)
Melaleuca is a natural antiseptic that penetrates the skin, relieves stinging, and can cure irritable conditions such as athlete’s foot.
There are various types of tea tree oil, many of which brands label as “therapeutic grade.” However, these labels are for marketing purposes. The treatments are not as effective as the brand promise.
Melaleuca Oil, on the other hand, is 100% pure. Tea Tree oil products that use 100% extracts are more effective than diluted solutions.
The most effective way to apply Melaleuca Oil to treat athlete’s foot is straight from the bottle. Just apply the oil directly to affected areas with a dropper. However, you can also mix it with other oils.
This is how to use tea tree oil for the treatment of athlete’s foot:
- Use a small container that can be used for mixing oils
- Mix with a carrier oil (coconut, almond or lavender)
- Apply the solution to the affected areas with a Q-Tip or clean makeup brush
- Repeat this 3 or 4 times a day
Also known as Olibanum, the essential oil is sourced from the resin of the genus Boswellia sacra tree which is known to harbor anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous agents.
One of the qualities of frankincense is that it helps the body to absorb nutrients. The oil subsequently helps to boost your immune system and fight fungal infections that grow on the skin.
It’s recommended that you mix Frankincense with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive oil or jojoba.
This is how to treat a toe fungus with frankincense oil:
- Make a foot soak by adding essential oils to warm water
- Use ten parts frankincense oil, four parts of carrier oil
- Soak your feet for 30-60 minutes to allow the ointment to soak into your skin
- Dry feet thoroughly
The eucalyptus plant is another natural remedy that is well-known for its medicinal qualities. Eucalyptus works as a natural analgesic that aids the immune system and harbors antifungal and antimicrobial properties that inhibit microbes.
The oil also helps to hydrate skin and restore cells that fight athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. Its antifungal properties are effective at inhibiting the growth and weakening dermatophytes.
Here is how to treat athlete’s foot using Eucalyptus oil:
- Blend one teaspoon of eucalyptus oil with 2 cups of water
- Add the mixture to a spray bottle
- Spray the solution on your feet and toes
- Dry your feet thoroughly
This contains menthol which is extracted from the herb and used in countless medicinal and cosmetic lotions. Menthol has been scientifically shown to contain anti-fungal properties that are effective against fungal skin infections.
Among the therapeutic components of peppermint oil is omega-3 acids and vitamins that help to nourish skin. The cool, soothing effect helps to relieve pain and irritation caused by burning and itching.
Treat athlete’s foot with peppermint oil by doing the following:
- Make a natural scrub
- Blend 1 tablespoon of peppermint oil with a cup of rolled oats and ¼ cup of sea salt
- Massage the compound into your feet
- Use an exfoliating scrub for the removal of dead skin
- Wash your feet and dry thoroughly
The active agents in lemon essential oil are not only effective for fighting fungal skin infections but also help you relax and unwind. The ingredients absorb into the skin and promote blood circulation which is needed to aid the healing process.
Because the ingredients of lemon help the regenerative process of skin cells, direct application of the essential oil leaves your feet healthy and fresh-smelling.
Use lemon oil to remove athlete’s foot as follows:
- Mix 2-3 drops of lemon oil with 2-3 drops of olive oil
- Apply the mixture to the affected area with the back of a spoon
- Wear anti-fungal socks to help the compound permeate the skin
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties inhibit the growth of microbes.
It is effective against athlete’s foot due to its antiseptic effect. It controls the mycelial growth of yeast and reduces inflammation to reduce the effect of burning. If you have severe athlete’s foot, lemongrass oil will help reduce the irritating effects.
You can use Lemongrass oil for foot fungus by following these steps:
- Drink lemongrass tea between one and four times a day
- Apply the spent teabags to the areas of your feet that are affected by athlete’s foot
- Apply 1-2 drops of lemongrass oil directly to infected areas
- Wear anti-fungal socks to help the solution soak into your skin
If you have particularly sensitive skin, you should dilute the essential oil with a carrier solution.
What Are the Side Effects of Essential Oils?
Natural ingredients aren’t always 100% safe.
They are concentrated solutions, so you only need a small amount to be effective. Before using essential oils, always follow the guidelines carefully.
- If you have allergies or sensitive skin, you must carefully monitor how your body responds.
- Swallowing essential oils can cause severe illness and even death, so don’t leave bottles near food, and keep away from children and pets.
- Some essential oils contain photosensitizing agents that make you burn more quickly in the sun. If you have athlete’s foot, you shouldn’t be walking around barefoot anyway, but don’t lay on a sun lounger or tanning bed after applying essential oils.
- Some essential oils are not suitable for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. While certain essential oils can have a damaging effect on children under the age of one, the rule only applies to highly concentrated oils. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends avoiding specific essential oils when you’re pregnant.
There is a high percentage of pharmaceutical drugs that leave patients with adverse side effects. For example, treatments for athlete’s foot contain ingredients extracted from allylamine and azole groups, such as terbinafine and clotrimazole.
It is widely believed that allylamine-based treatments are the most effective. However, Informed Health shows that conventional medicine heals 56 out of 100 people. However, these drugs can also cause reddening, irritation, headaches, dizziness, digestion problems, and rashes.
Will My Athlete’s Foot Go Away Permanently?
Athlete’s foot can be persistent. Will it go away for good? It will do if you treat it properly and look after the health of feet to prevent it from returning. However, that is not always the case.
Although antifungal treatments will cure athlete’s foot, if the fungi are encouraged to grow, the condition will return.
Fungi is highly contagious and can spread to other parts of the feet. If the infection gets under the toenails, it needs to be given time to grow out and takes longer to heal.
Experts recommend treating athlete’s foot even once the infection appears to have disappeared.
Do Natural Remedies Work?
Using natural remedies to treat athlete’s foot is a topic of contention. A quick search will reveal anecdotal evidence to suggest that home remedies can be used to cure foot fungus.
While many home remedies do have antifungal properties, there is insufficient scientific proof to substantiate every claim. Furthermore, natural remedies are not recognized by the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA).
Athlete’s foot is persistent. If the fungal infection has not entirely gone, it will grow again once you stop the treatment. Some people find that athlete’s foot can lead to toenail fungus. If your immune health is weak, you should consult with a doctor.
Experts say you should continue using antifungal treatment for two weeks after the condition has cleared up. Use an antifungal cream for 50% longer than it took for the problem to clear up.
Doctors outside of the United States often recommend using essential oils as the best natural alternative to over-the-counter creams or oral medications. Clinical research is limited.