Tea tree oil is renowned for its therapeutic properties. As such, it is used throughout the world for various ailments. The main reason why it's so awesome is the fact it can treat various fungal issues, and it can also work as antiseptic.
That being said, it can be used not only for toenail fungus but also for other types of fungal conditions and bacteria.
When we talk about tea tree oil for toenail fungus, you have to keep in mind that this is an alternative to oral medication. Most doctors will recommend a drug for this condition. Unfortunately, like many other fungal oral drugs, medicines used for this problem can lead to some serious side effects.
Tea tree oil can be used for prolonged treatment, and it allows you to avoid all the side effects that you otherwise might encounter. Always remember that this plant takes time to work, so this is something you will need to consider before you start.
How does tea tree oil work for the toenail fungus?
The main reason why you don't often hear about tea tree oil's beneficial properties is the fact there aren't enough studies. The studies that have been performed have yielded mixed results. This is why we need more conclusive evidence.
It also depends on a particular type of fungus that you have. It will be super-efficient for certain species while it will barely touch others. The studies have shown that the first results can be expected in 2 weeks.
There are also some indications that tea tree oil can be used in combination with standard topical creams. In 1999, a study was performed, which concluded that a combination of tea tree oil and cream containing butenafine hydrochloride could successfully stop toenail fungus.
The whole process lasted for about 16 weeks. During that time, 80 participants managed to treat their toenail fungus. Even better, none of these 80 people had a relapse. The study also had a placebo group; none of its participants managed to treat the condition, which is further proof that tea tree oil works.
Another issue scientists are facing is that they don't know which particular component is responsible for stopping fungus.
Some of the studies have taught us that tea tree oil can be every bit as effective as your standard antifungal drugs. Based on all of this, it is safe to say that tea tree oil can at least slow down the fungal growth.
What about safety?
Of course, whenever a person uses anything that isn't sanctioned by their GP, there are certain concerns. The main one is safety. That being said, you will be glad to hear that tea tree oil is completely safe when used in smaller dosages and when properly diluted.
No matter what you do, never use tea tree oil internally. It is only meant to be used as a topical substance. In that sense, it is very similar to topical creams recommended by doctors.
You also need to be extra careful when using it for kids. While there are no indications or historical data that tea tree oil is bad for kids, you should still consult with your pediatrician before proceeding.
When it comes to dilution, you can use a carrier oil. Commonly used product is almond oil, but you can also experiment with some other oils.
The biggest issue that you might encounter is an allergic reaction. Then again, this depends on your skin sensitivity. Some patients have experienced issues such as itchiness, redness, as well as inflammation. Luckily for you, there is a way to reduce risk. Before you start using tea tree oil for toenail fungus, you should do a skin patch test.
Basically, you start by diluting the oil by adding 12 drops of carrier oil for every drop or two of tea tree oil. After that, you should apply a minimal amount of tea tree oil on your forearm. Wait for a day. If there is no irritation on that particular spot, it is probably safe to use it.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be extra careful due to increased sensitivity. If you belong to one of these two groups, you should definitely consult your GP beforehand.
How do you use tea tree oil for toenail fungus?
You don't have to be a medical professional to use tea tree oil.
As previously mentioned, you should start by mixing this oil with a career oil. Because it's diluted, the chance of adverse reaction is reduced. Most people use cotton swabs to apply the concoction. You can also use cotton balls, of course. You need to soak the area for several minutes.
No matter what type of a toenail fungus you have, it is necessary to apply ointments and creams several times a week. This also goes for tea tree oil. Given that oils are not as strong as oral medication, they need much more time to work. In some cases, it might take up to several months to get results.
We recommend that you put 4 or 5 drops into half-ounce of career oil. Then, you should mix them and stir them into a bucket of lukewarm water. When the mixture is ready, you can soak your feet in it. Make sure not to overdo it; you can soak them for up to 20 minutes.
However, soaking is just one part of the process. You also have to take care of your nails. They need to be properly trimmed for as long as the process lasts. Clippers have to be clean! You should also file your nails to remove dead cells.
As you can presume, you should always wash your hands properly after the treatment. It is also necessary to dry your feet. The fungus grows rapidly in a humid environment, so the last thing you want to do is stimulate their growth.
How long is the recovery process?
The most important thing about this treatment is consistency. You shouldn't stop no matter what, nor should you perform half measures. You need to be prepared for a treatment that lasts for several months.
The type of fungus you have also affect the Tea tree oil treatment making it shorter or longer. It is also important to pay attention to healing; if things are not going well, you might consider going with some other substance.
The treatment is over once a new, healthy nail has grown in the place of the affected one. It is also advisable that you continue using tea tree oil afterward in order to prevent reappearance.
Of course, you can always ask a doctor for a piece of advice if anything goes wrong.