OTC and Home Remedies for Foot Fungus

Do your toenails split, peel, and turn yellow? If so, you may be one of an estimated 40 million Americans who live with toenail fungus. The good news is, you don’t have to live like this. A number of remedies can help you walk with confidence. Here are 10 that you can buy at your local drugstore. You may even have some of them in your medicine cabinet.

Undecylenic Acid

This fungus fighter is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) products. You can buy it at your local drugstore as a liquid or a polish you paint onto your nails. It eases the raw, irritated skin that can come with a fungus.

Tolnaftate

This is a staple in OTC products for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It comes in a cream, powder, spray, or liquid. You may feel relief after 2 to 3 days, but keep using it for at least 2 weeks after symptoms disappear.

Clotrimazole

You’ll find this in many OTC yeast infection creams. But it’s also used to treat toenail fungus. Scientists in the U.K. found it worked for most of the patients who used it in a 12-week trial.

You can buy it as a cream or lotion.

Terbinafine

You may know this by its brand name, Lamisil. You can buy it over the counter as a cream, gel, spray, or powder. Or you can ask your doctor for the tablets. Take one tablet each day for 12 weeks. It’ll kill toenail fungus, but it may take a few months to see full results.

Tea Tree Oil

This oil comes from a tree in Australia. It’s a popular treatment for many conditions, including foot fungus. Research shows it works as well as clotrimazole, which is found in many OTC treatments.

Mentholated Cream

You probably already use this to treat chest colds. But did you know vapor rub is also a popular home remedy for toenail fungus? There’s not a lot of proof that it works. But in one very small study -- just 18 people -- more than half said it did.

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Snakeroot Extract

Don’t be afraid of the name. This fungus fighter comes from a plant, not snakes. People who tried this natural remedy found it worked almost as well as ciclopirox, a medicine used to treat skin infections caused by a fungus.

Baking Soda

In the lab, plain old sodium bicarbonate limited growth of the most common types of fungi that cause skin and nail infections. You probably have a box in your pantry already.

Ozonized Sunflower Oil

Who knew sunflower oil can also fight germs? One study found that this natural remedy worked against yeasts that cause foot fungus. There’s more work to do, but so far, researchers don’t see any side effects.

Eucalyptus Oil

People love this popular plant because of its fresh scent. But it does more than smell good. It also works on toenail fungus. Scientists say it may work just as well as treatments you get from your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on November 12, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

The Corvallis Clinic: “Toenail Fungus.”

National Library of Medicine: “Undecyclenic Acid Liquid.”

National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Tolnaftate.”

National Library of Medicine: “Tolnaftate.”

Davies, K. The International Journal of Clinical Foot Science, Jan. 20, 2006.

National Library of Medicine: “Terbinafine.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Tea Tree Oil.”

Derby, R. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, January/February 2011.

American Family Physician: “Onychomycosis: Current Trends in Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Sechi, L. Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 2001.

Bramston, C. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, September 2015.

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