The traditional home remedy for nail fungus went something like this: trim the affected nail as much as possible and immerse the hand or foot in a solution of one part bleach in 100 parts of water (or pure household vinegar) for 30 minutes each day until the infection is gone. This method may be effective, but for most of us, it's extremely difficult to find the time, especially when you consider that fungal nail infections typically take many months to go away unless they are in the very early stages when treatment is begun.
Keravita Pro nail fungus is particularly difficult: it's easier to sit with your feet in a basin while you are doing something else than to have your hands immersed for a long period of time. However, for the determined individual who decides to try this type of home remedy for nail fungus, there are some things that you can do to increase your chances of success. First, file the nail - not just to keep it as short as possible, but also to keep it as thin as possible. This means filing and trimming away any loose crumbly bits and also filing down the thickness of the nail from the top. Many nails with fungal infection are distorted, thick, and fairly soft. This is because the fungus is actually growing through the layers of nail. Filing some of this thickness away will not only remove some of the fungal growth but also ensure that the soaking solution comes in contact with the fungus. File as much as you can without damaging the nail bed under the nail.
When using the bleach or vinegar cure toe nail fungus will only be affected by the treatment while you are soaking. (The same is true for hand nail fungus). To add an extra boost to your treatment, try painting the affected nail with some other preparation between soaks. Here you have a choice of many things, either commonly found in most households or readily available over the counter or from an internet source. You might use hydrogen peroxide, Vicks VapoRub ointment, Listerine mouthwash, Tea Tree oil or any of a number of essential herbal oils or oil blends available from natural healing providers. All of these things have been said to be an effective home remedy for nail fungus.
Whatever you choose, be aware that foot and hand nail fungus typically takes a long time to go away because nails grow very slowly and because treatments take time to penetrate a tough thick nail. Even prescription drugs take a long time to cure the problem, and like a natural healing or home remedy for nail fungus, they don't always work. Many people claim that bleach and vinegar cure toe nail fungus if you are patient and persistent - natural remedies like Tea Tree oil also have a lot of anecdotal support (and some scientific support) and are somewhat easier to use.
Toe nail fungus is a phrase often used to refer to a common type of fungal infection - an infection where a fungus has somehow gotten into a toenail and begun to grow there, causing discoloration, disintegration of the nail and, frequently, considerable discomfort. Although there are many species of fungi in the world, only a relatively small number of them are capable of living and growing on human nails. Most of them belong to a group collectively known as dermatophytes: these fungi typically live on hair, skin, and nails and spread from person to person. A few others belong to the saprophytes, fungi that live on decaying organic materials in nature and sometimes infect nails more or less accidentally.
Invading fungus in nail and skin is fairly common - more than ten percent of the North American population suffers from such an infection, with the risk increasing with age. While fungal invasion of a fingernail does occur, toe nail fungus is much more common, probably because feet have more contact with damp earth and floors, are washed less frequently, and spend more time in enclosed, humid coverings such as shoes and boots. Fungal nail infections tend to start in a toe nail and then spread to other toe nails, skin, and finger nails secondarily.
Risk factors for acquiring a toe nail fungus include injury to the nail or the skin around the nail. Cuts and scrapes, hangnails, ingrown toenails, dry cracked skin and damp conditions all provide a route of entry into the skin and nails, as will toenails that are damaged or deformed due to recent or prior injury. Nails that have lifted away from the nail bed are particularly susceptible. Public swimming and wading pools, public showers, and shared footwear are all likely places to come in contact with a dermatophyte. Saprophytes are more likely to come from soil, decaying leaves or other organic material in the environment. In salons, fungus in nail clippings and filings or on manicure or pedicure equipment is a documented source of infection in people who use these services.
Once established, a toe nail fungus is generally quite difficult to get rid of. The invader grows within the nail itself, deriving nutrients from keratin, a protein found in nails, hair and skin cells. Nails are meant to be a tough shield to protect the tips of our fingers and toes, and they are quite good at blocking medications and treatments applied to nails. In order to kill the fungus, you need to find something that can penetrate the nail or get underneath it like the fungus did. Most prescription medications are taken internally and act on the infection systemically, while natural and home remedies are applied topically. The key to any treatment for fungus in nail infections is patience: nails grow slowly and it usually takes months before the nail looks normal again.
Any suspected toe nail fungus infection should be seen and diagnosed by a doctor because other types of nail infection and nail abnormality can mimic a fungal infection. If the problem is fungal, spores of the fungus in nail clippings will grow in the laboratory and the fungal species can be identified. Once you know for sure that the problem is fungal, treatment can be started.