When exposed to damp conditions in public areas, your toenails can become infected with a fungus. Called trichophyton rubrum, this can get under the nail and grow at a rapid rate, and should be treated as soon as possible. Effective medications exist, but these can have nasty side effects. Natural remedies and oils are often sought because of this, but how does Tea Tree Oil for nail fungus work?
As could be reasonably assumed, Tea Tree Oil is not actually extracted from tea. It comes from a native Australian tree, “Melaleuca alternafolia”, which is commonly called the Tea Tree. Many natural substances are found within the sap, which can be effective in numerous applications, with clinical studies having shown its worth and validated its medical use.
The substance generally accepted to be useful for fungal infections is, terpinen-4-ol. Proven to be an effective antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, Tea Tree Oil also has unique properties that allow it to penetrate deep into the nail and attack the infection at the root, which is uncommon in many other topical treatments for nail fungus.
When starting on a course of Tea Tree Oil, it is important that a skin test is undertaken before use. Whilst rare, there are cases where the oil can cause skin irritation. A couple of days before you intend to start treatment, apply a small amount on the underside of your forearm each morning. If you have suffered no adverse reaction to either application, you can begin with the fungus treatment.
To get the best effects, it is necessary to file the nail right down. This should be fairly easy and painless, depending on the amount of fungal nail growth present. Once the area has been prepared, the oil should be applied directly to the infected nail area. This can be done in a number of ways, whether by soaking feet in a bowl containing the oil, dabbed on with a piece of cotton wool or applied with a soft toothbrush. If removing the dead nail is not possible, medical syringes can be used to inject the solution directly into the infection. Again, this should not be painful, as you will be treating dead cells.
If slight irritation occurs after use, you can try diluting the solution with olive oil. However, if irritation continues after this or is severe, you should stop application immediately and seek medical care.
Tea Tree Oil is readily available, and can be picked up without prescription from most health stores, pharmacies and many online retailers at minimal expense. However, it is advisable to seek a proper diagnosis from your physician before commencing with any self treatment.