Does White Iodine for Toenail Fungus Work?
White iodine is a popular home remedy for nail fungus due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties. It is used for strengthening weak and brittle nails. Topical application is believed to fortify the keratin that makes up the nails, making the toenails stronger.
Whether iodine works for fungal nail infections is debatable. It faces the same difficulties as other topical treatments in curing nail fungus, such as getting past the nail plate to eradicate the fungal infection residing underneath.
However, proponents of the home remedy anecdotally suggest that iodine molecules are small enough to pass through the nail plate and reach the fungus, thus explaining why it works for some people and not others.
Table of Contents:
White Iodine as an Antiseptic
Iodine has potent antimicrobial properties that destroy harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. When taken internally, food-grade iodine interacts positively with the stomach, brain, and kidney. When applied externally, it can act as an effective disinfectant and antiseptic. There is no virus, fungi or microorganism that can thrive in an iodine-dense environment.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, iodine can be applied topically to skin inflammation and other skin disorders, to eliminate toxic microorganisms, heal wounds and treat diabetic ulcers.
It’s such a potent antifungal and antibacterial, that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends its use for sterilization of medical facilities. It’s also used in water purification and by NASA to disinfect their water from toxic mold.
According to the CDC, iodine can quickly penetrate through the cell walls of microorganisms and disrupt nucleic acid and protein structure and synthesis, thus causing germs to die. Iodine destroys single-celled organisms, such as yeast, by combining with amino acids, histidine, and tyrosine, when exposed to extra-cellular environments. Any single-celled organism which shows tyrosine in its cell membrane is likely to be killed instantly by a single reaction, where iodine chemically denatures the proteins.
Although it’s not certain whether iodine can penetrate through the nail and travel far enough to fight fungal infections, it’s antibacterial properties, may deter the onset of secondary infections. Fungal infections are highly contagious. When fungal infections spread to the skin, the skin may begin to crack, allowing easy access for bacteria to enter the skin.
The regular use of iodine can disinfect the region, reducing your risk of harmful bacterial infections.
Healthy nails are clear and smooth, they have no marks, and they grow straight out. Although a fungal infection in your toenails, may cause your nails to thicken, the condition makes your nails weaker and more brittle.
White iodine is typically used for strengthening weak toenails. Nails are made of a protein called keratin, which starts growing under your cuticle. As your nail grows, the old cells move out, forming the visible section of your nail.
White iodine works in strengthening your nails by fortifying the bonds that hold your nail matrix. Your nail matrix is the underlying tissue where the nail rests. It contains blood vessels and nerves and is responsible for a lot of what makes your toenails and fingernails. Iodine also reduces the brittleness of the nail, which is a common symptom of toenail fungus.
If you don’t have toenail fungus, you can still enjoy the benefits of white iodine. If you are diabetic, have poor peripheral circulation or a suppressed immune system, or have sweaty feet, regular use of white iodine can reduce your risk of fungal infection.
How Does White Iodine Affect Yeast?
White iodine’s use as an antifungal is not well-studied, even though many people swear by it for treating toenail fungus. However, according to one study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, iodine may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the same species of yeast (Candida albicans) that are also responsible for certain fungal infections. Inflammation diminished quickly during the treatment, and no side effects or complications were found in the 7-day treatment.
What Are the Side Effects of White Iodine?
Unwanted effects from white iodine are uncommon, especially when packaging instructions are complied with fully.
However, if you do notice any side effects, stop using white iodine immediately. Be sure to call your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any itching, reddening, crusting, irritation, and blistering of the skin.
Here are some further tips:
- Avoid contact with other disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide as it may discolor your nails.
- White iodine is for toenail fungus is for external use only, therefore, do not swallow it.
- Keep iodine away from the eyes as it may irritate. If it does get into your eyes accidentally, wash with water immediately.
- You shouldn’t use topical iodine on deep wounds, severe burns or animal bites, as doing so may lead to side effects.
- Avoid covering the affected region with tight dressing or a bandage as well following iodine treatment, to prevent any unwanted effects.
How to Use White Iodine for Toenail Fungus
Use a clean nail-polish brush or a cotton swab to coat the tip and underside of your nail. If you wear nail polish, apply white iodine before using nail polish so that it’s directly in contact with your nail. Be sure to keep your toenails clean and trimmed before applying iodine. Dry your nails before using iodine to prevent it from slipping off your nails and being ineffective in treating the fungal infection.
Fungi multiply in warm and moist areas. Keeping your feet clean and dry will prevent fungi from proliferating and may make any treatment more effective. Apply white iodine on your affected nail daily, for one week, then use it just once a week – or as directed by your doctor. It’s important not to overuse iodine as this may make your nails more brittle.
Will White Iodine Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?
Creams and most topical medications are usually not as effective as oral medications in treating nail fungus, but they can work and don’t have nearly as many potential side effects. They don’t have a negative impact on your liver, for example.
Unfortunately, toenails can often be too hard for topical medications to penetrate, which includes white iodine. Nonetheless, some experts claim that iodine may have some effect on fungal toenail infections because iodine molecules are small in size. This allows iodine to penetrate deeper into your nail bed, thus destroying the fungus.
But like most home remedies, white iodine may take time to show noticeable effects. In addition to taking the correct precautions to prevent fungal infections from spreading, you can also use coconut oil in conjunction with your iodine treatment. After applying a coat of iodine to your nails, allow your nails to dry before moisturizing with coconut oil.
White Iodine and Coconut Oil for Toenail Fungus
Coconut oil contains capric acid and caprylic acid, which are powerful antimicrobial compounds that some experts believe can destroy nail fungus. Although there isn’t much evidence to support this, a study published in the American Society for Microbiology suggests that capric acid may inhibit Candida albicans, a type of fungus that causes yeast infections.
White iodine is a powerful antiseptic that can be used to protect the skin from harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens. However, whether it can penetrate deep enough to have any effect on a fungal infection is still uncertain. Medically proven selections, such as Pedinol Pharmacal Fungla Tincture, are much preferred to scientifically untested home remedies.