Toenail fungal infections are among the most common infections caused by the fungus. They are caused by fungus called Dermatophytes, which feed on keratin that is a part of the nail surface. This condition causes nail discoloration and damage. It is considered to be contagious but it can also be hereditary.
Fungal infections usually affect the big toe and little toe and can spread to other toes and other body parts.
Symptoms of toenail fungus are hard to miss. The nail changes color and becomes yellowish or brownish. It becomes less compact, brittle and breaks easily. In some cases it may fall off completely. The debris collected below the nail has a foul smell.
Fungal infection can be picked up in wet, damp and warm places where many people go barefoot, like spas, public showers, gyms and swimming pools. Athletes are particularly prone to fungal infections because they cause trauma to their toes by wearing tight shoes and sport socks.
Other factors that increase the risk of fungal infections are abnormal pH levels of the skin, impaired immune system and skin that is not dried off sufficiently.
Bad personal hygiene and socks made of synthetic materials create a perfect environment for the fungus, which seeks damp and warm places.
There are several natural, home remedies that can help cure a fungus infection. One of the most efficient is tea tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic and fungicide.
Listerine mouthwash can be effective as well, because it has great antiseptic properties. All it takes is to soak the affected toe in some Listerine for a few minutes several times a day.
Similarly, toes can be soaked in apple cider vinegar mixed with some water, for 15 to 20 minutes each day. It is important that the toes are dried thoroughly after this, ideally with a blow dryer.
Another great remedy is a mixture or oregano oil and olive oil. It is made with two drops of oregano oil, which has powerful antiseptic and antifungal properties, with some olive oil. It should be applied with a cotton ball every day for no longer that two weeks.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid can be used to remove rough skin that is a potential fungus habitat.
People who have fungal infections on their toenails should include more probiotics in their diet, for example yogurt or kefir. Sugar, carbohydrates and vinegar are not recommended as they contribute to fungus growth.