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Treatments for Toenail Fungus

Aug 14, 2020

Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a common type of nail infection. The resulting thick, discolored, or brittle toenails are enough to ruin the sandal season. If you’re struggling with unsightly or painful toenails, seek relief from these at-home remedies, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medications.

At-Home Remedies

  • Vaporizing ointment: Although designed to relieve cold symptoms, the active ingredients in vaporizing ointment—camphor and eucalyptus oil—can also treat toenail fungus. Apply a small amount once a day.
  • Tea tree oil: This essential oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties. Paint therapeutic-grade tea tree oil onto your toenails twice a day with a cotton swab.
  • Oregano oil: The thymol in oregano oil is antifungal and antibacterial. Apply it to the affected nails alone or alongside tea tree oil twice a day.
  • Vinegar: Anecdotal evidence suggests that vinegar may treat toenail fungus. Try soaking your toes in one part vinegar and two parts water for up to 20 minutes per day.
  • Mouthwash: Look for menthol, thymol, and/or eucalyptus on the label for antibacterial and antifungal properties. Soak your toes in the liquid for 30 minutes daily.
  • Garlic: This herb has astounding health benefits, including antifungal and antimicrobial properties that could help with toenail fungus. Place crushed cloves of garlic on your infected toenails for 30 minutes per day.
  • Nutrient-rich diet: Help fight your fungal infection from the inside by enriching your diet with garlic, probiotic-rich yogurt, protein, iron, essential fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

  • Undecylenic acid: This ingredient is found in many OTC fungal treatments. It’s designed to ease raw, irritated skin that may result from the infection. Look for undecylenic acid products that you can paint on like nail polish.
  • Tolnaftate: You’ll find this product in many forms, including cream, powder, spray, or liquid. It may provide relief after two to three days, but you should continue using it for at least two weeks or as prescribed by your dermatologist.
  • Clotrimazole: Available in fungal-fighting creams and lotions, this treatment is likely to benefit you the most if used twice daily at the same time every day for a few weeks.
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil): You can buy this treatment as a cream, gel, spray, powder, or pill. It should erase all traces of toenail fungus when used as directed, but it may take a few months to see the final result.

Prescription Medications

  • Oral antifungal drugs: Medication in pill form lets you skip the mess of topical treatment. Take oral antifungal medications for six to 12 weeks to see the full effects.
  • Medicated nail polish: Ciclopirox (Penlac) is prescription antifungal nail polish. Paint it on daily for several months until the infection clears.
  • Medical nail cream: Your dermatologist may recommend soaking and thinning your infected nails before applying this prescription cream to maximize its effectiveness.

To learn more about your toenail fungus treatment options, please call Arlington Dermatology in Rolling Meadows, IL, at (847) 725-0824.