Tea tree oil is a well known home remedy that has been used in Australia for generations. Derived from a species of Tea Tree that is indigenous down under, Tea Tree oil has been popularly used as an anti-fungal and antibacterial foot treatment due to its antiseptic properties. Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of Tea Tree oil, but do to the length of time required to see improvements with this slow working topical remedy, many clinical trial participants dropped out before completing the trial – which left the data moot in most cases.
The studies that have shown some success were those conducted on the treatment of fungal foot ailments such as athletes foot and toenail fungus. Supposedly, a twice-daily application of 100% Tea Tree oil to the top of a naked toenail will see results in six months – and visible improvement to the nail and area around the skin before that. The smell isn’t the greatest, but the results are!
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Best practices for using Tea Tree oil as a nail or foot fungal remedy are:
- Clean the area thoroughly – If you are applying the oil to combat athletes foot, make sure you have thoroughly washed your feet (preferably with antibacterial soap) and dried in between the toes. Fungus and bacterial love a moist, warm environment so making sure your feet are dry is essential.For applications to the nail, also remove all polish from the nail and give yourself a quick at home pedicure by cleaning up around the nail bed and buffing your nails. Be careful to keep nails as long as the skin of the toe and to not cut away at the affected area. Leave it be! Buffing however, helps remove any leftover polish or build up from the top of the nail making the oil’s job easier.Also be sure to change out your buffer/nail files every month or so if you use them frequently, as these tend to carry germs and if you already have a fungal infection well, you get the point.
- Apply 2X Daily, Period – For a Tea Tree oil treatment to be successful, you must remain consistent with your applications. Applications should occur two times a day at a minimum. Remember, results can be seen early on, but long term results will take approximately six months depending on the extent of the infection. For 100% Tea Tree oil, be conservative with your application. Test on a small area of skin to make sure the concentrated oil does not irritate your skin. If irritation does occur, dilute with water or find another oil with less concentration. If no irritation occurs, feel free to apply the oil liberally to the areas intended (you may want to step outside as Tea Tree oil has a very strong camphor smell that tends to linger). For the nail, apply oil directly onto the nail making sure the entire nail is coated. For athlete’s foot, apply in between the toes and any other areas that you find affected. If you intend to use the oil as a nail fungal treatment, you’re going to have to grin and bear through exposing those nails. A toenail fungal infection can be embarrassing, but reassure yourself that as long as you stick with it, one day you will be embarrassed no more! Let your toes/feet dry for about five minutes and try to not wear socks or shoes if possible. Open toed sandals are your best bet, as again, fungus and bacteria love moist, warm areas. Keeping your toes exposed as long as possible will help further the process.
Something else you can do to help improve the appearance of your feet and nails – take a walk on the beach! The sand is a great natural exfoliant that will help remove dead, dry skin cells that often accompany athlete’s foot and will help to polish the top of your nail and remove some of the discoloration in the surface – and a little salt water never hurts!
Tea Tree Oil is a home remedy that has not been medically proven to aid in the above-mentioned afflictions. Tea Tree Oil should never been ingested or come in contact with the face. The Shoe Digest recommends readers always check with their physician before beginning any sort of at home treatments.