Lavender oil is extracted from certain species of lavender plants. New research suggests that it may have powerful antifungal properties. It reduces symptoms of toenail fungus by preventing fungi, such as candida and dermatophytes, from growing.
When applied topically, it can alter the membranes of fungal cells, causing them to die quickly. Be sure to wash your feet and clip your nails before applying lavender oil. Using it twice a day can help to control your fungal infection and relieve the symptoms.
Scientific studies show that lavender oil has potent biological effects that could help to clear up toenail fungus naturally. It has antifungal, antispasmodic, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Lavender Oil and Toenail Fungus
- 2 How to Treat Toenail Fungus with Lavender Oil
- 3 Prevent Toenail Fungus Returning Tips and Advice
Lavender Oil and Toenail Fungus
According to the Journal of Medical Microbiology, lavender oil could be used to remedy a rising incidence of antifungal-resistant infections. In the study, scientists distilled lavender oil from the Lavandula viridis L’Hér shrub, grown in southern Portugal.
After testing against various pathogenic fungi, they discovered that lavender oil might be useful in fighting dermatophytes and species of Candida that are responsible for skin and nail infections.
Dermatophytes use keratin within hair, skin and nail tissue to obtain their nutrients. They cause common skin and nail infections, such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, nail fungus, and scalp infections.
As for Candida, most healthy individuals coexist with it, but it may cause problems, such as thrush, in some people. Candida infections are common among people with compromised immune systems and may cause serious issues if the fungal cells enter the bloodstream.
Lavender oil is a deep-penetrating antifungal treatment that works by damaging the cell membranes of fungal cells. Another study published in the journal, Medical Mycology, shows that lavender oil stopped hyphal elongation of Candida albicans in when used in lower concentrations and killed 100% of Candida albicans cells within 15 minutes in slightly higher concentrations.
A study in Scientifica compared the effects of lavender oil with clotrimazole on isolated Candida albicans. Researchers found that although the difference in the lavender group was lower, after 48 hours, there was no difference between the effects of clotrimazole and lavender oil.
Lavender also protects infected nails by forming a protective coating around them, preventing sweat and moisture from entering your nails.
Lavender and Tree Oil Toenail Fungus Remedy
Tea tree oil is another natural treatment for toenail fungus due to its powerful antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Combine tea tree oil with lavender oil to create an effective antifungal treatment at home.
There are two ways to use the combined ingredients:
- Add one drop of lavender oil and one drop of tea tree oil. Massage gently into your nail and allow the oil to dry completely.
- Mix equal parts of tea tree oil and lavender oil before storing the mixture in a bottle. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture, place it on the infected nail and secure it with a band-aid. Leave the cotton ball on for 4-5 hours before replacing with a new one.
How to Treat Toenail Fungus with Lavender Oil
Treating toenail fungal infections with lavender oil is relatively simple, and can be effective if you take the right precautions. Some lavender oils are mineral oils flavored with lavender. Organic food stores are your best option for finding real lavender oil.
Follow these steps to make the most out of your lavender oil toenail fungus treatment:
- Clip your toenails. Long, thick toenails promote the growth of fungi and also allow dirt and debris to accumulate underneath them. Keep your toenails trim with your own pair of thick toenail clippers. Don’t borrow or share clippers as you could spread the infection.
- Wash your feet and let them dry. This will allow the lavender oil to effectively seep into your nail and not slip off due to the excess moisture. Never leave your feet wet as fungi thrive in moist environments. Allow your feet to air dry whenever you get the chance.
- Apply lavender oil to each affected nail. Rub the oil into your nail and wait for five minutes before putting on your footwear. Apply lavender oil, following all the given steps twice a day, daily. Ideally, you should do it once in the morning before you leave for work, and once in the evening when you return home (or before bedtime.)
Prevent Toenail Fungus Returning Tips and Advice
Taking additional preventative steps to maximize your chances of success with the treatment can make a huge difference.
1) Cut Your Toenails Weekly
Cut your toenails every week and make sure you sanitize and wash all your nail tools after using them on your infected nails. Toenail fungus is contagious and can spread to unaffected toenails.
Washing your nail tools and changing your towels frequently can help the infection from spreading to other toenails on your feet. You should also avoid sharing towels and tools with other family members to prevent the infection from spreading to them.
Other skin conditions that may occur due to the infection include ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot. Therefore, it is imperative that you disinfect all equipment and keep a separate towel for your feet. You can also skip the towel and let your feet air dry. Continue these steps even after your infection has completely cleared to prevent it from coming back.
While clipping your nails, be sure to trim them straight across as this will keep your nails strong and prevent reinfection. Moisturize your nails after washing, drying and using lavender oil to keep your cuticles healthy. One excellent moisturizer is coconut oil as it contains caprylic and capric acid, which have potent antimicrobial properties that may help fight the infection.
During treatment, avoid wearing nail polish. If you wear nail polish, apply thin coats after washing, drying and treating infected nails so that the infected nails are in direct contact with the treatment. Better still, start using a polish for toenail fungus, such as Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish.
2) Keep Your Feet Dry
Keep your feet dry to prevent the infection from worsening. Wear sandals and flip flops or walk barefoot whenever possible and let your feet air dry multiple times throughout the day.
Use breathable shoes and cotton, moisture-wicking socks and change them frequently, at least twice daily. It also helps to treat your socks, shoes and other footwear with an antifungal spray or powder before each use.
3) Sharing Personal Items
Never share nail clippers, shoes, socks, and towels with anyone else as this may put others at risk of getting the infection. Furthermore, you may be at risk of catching the infection again yourself.
4) Walking Barefoot in Public Areas
Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in gym showers, locker rooms, and pool areas to prevent yourself from getting athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.
As a precautionary step, use an antifungal agent to protect your feet against reinfection. Nail fungus spreads in warm, damp areas, such as wet or sweaty feet. An antifungal will kill any fungus that may cause a foot infection.
5) More Exercise and a Balanced Diet
Exercising boosts circulation, promoting the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the infected area. This will help your immune system fight the infection better.
A diet that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is also vital for proper immune system health. Therefore, be sure to include fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and fish and avoid processed food, to keep your immune system in good shape.
With the increasing incidence of fungal infections, there has also been a rise in antifungal resistance. Research shows that lavender oil may serve as an inexpensive, yet effective natural treatment for mild toenail fungal infections.