Have you ever heard of someone using Vicks for nail fungus? Vicks VapoRub is one of the over-the-counter products that are recommended by many people as a topical treatment for nail fungus infection (onychomycosis). Reports of its efficiency are anecdotal and contradictory: no controlled studies have been done and some people report success while other say it does not work. In reality, no onychomycosis treatment works for all cases – but does Vicks work often enough to be worth a try?
We can only guess why some people apply Vicks and toe nail fungus retreats, but there are some clues that might explain it. First, anecdotal reports claim success in children. Children tend to have thin, soft nails, so despite the active ingredient in the ointment is able to penetrate children's nails more easily than the thick hard nails of many adults. If this is the case, using Vicks for nail fungus may work better for adults with thin soft nails. It may also be more effective when the infected nail is trimmed and filed until it is as thin as possible. While this is good advice for any topical nail treatment: it may be especially relevant for Vicks VapoRub.
Why would using Vicks for nail fungus work at all? If there is something in the ointment that kills fungi, it is likely one or all of the essential oils derived from plants. Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, menthol, spirits of turpentine, eucalyptus oil, oil of cedar leaf, and myristica oil, all of which are derived from plant sources. Interestingly, essential oils of plants are common ingredients of many of the newer alternative remedies available for nail fungus treatment. Tea tree oil is the ingredient most often mentioned, but essential oils from herbs such as oregano are also used.
Appealing as it may seem, however, the evidence for Vicks and toe nail fungus is not particularly strong. There is more evidence to support the efficiency of tea tree oil and other blends of essential oils specifically formulated for this purpose. Although it may be cheaper to use Vicks for nail fungus, it looks likely that better results will be obtained with one of the other products.
Before self-treating a nail fungus infection, consult a health professional for a proper diagnosis and competent medical advice.