Athlete’s foot, medically known as tinea pedis, is a very common skin infection caused by fungal germs. It can generally be treated at home with proper care and the use of antifungal medication though there are actually athlete’s foot home remedies that you can use to speed up the process. However, if you think your infection is beyond curing at home, it is really important that you see your doctor as you may need something stronger.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, an extract taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Australia, has historically been used as a topical antiseptic treatment for various ailments. Tea tree oil is so effective because it contains many powerful properties, including antifungal and antibacterial.
As athlete’s foot is caused by fungal germs, the fungicide nature of tea tree oil will prevent germs from multiplying and, with continued use, will eventually kill them off. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of tea tree will prevent the infection from getting worse.
|There are various products available that have tea tree oil in, though if you have some tea tree oil at home, you can mix it with in equal parts with a carrier oil (a base oil like coconut oil or olive oil) and rub mixture onto the affected area twice daily.|
Lavender oil is an essential oil that has been extracted from the lavender plant. Usually associated with aromatherapy and its ability to aid in relaxation, lavender oil actually has a lot of other health benefits, including as a treatment for sunburn and joint pain.
Though not much research has been done on the matter, lavender oil is said to be a potent antifungal that kills fungal germs, especially a group known as dermatophytes, which are are the fungi responsible for athlete’s foot Also, unlike the other athlete’s foot home remedies on this list, lavender oil actually smells nice! If you want to use lavender oil to treat athlete’s foot, you will need a carrier oil (a base oil like coconut oil or olive oil) as essential oils are too strong to apply directly to the skin.
|To use this remedy, combine 3 drops of lavender oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil and apply to the affected area twice a day using a cotton ball. Remember to clean your feet before you begin.|
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is more popular than ever, but has long been popular in the natural health community because of its many benefits, from weight loss to cardiovascular disease, it is constantly being promoted as an amazing natural treatment.
Apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, which is what makes it a powerful antifungal and antibacterial. Acetic acid works by reducing the pH level, which in turn prevents bacteria from growing. Therefore, if it is applied on the affected area, it will inhibit the growth of the fungal germs that are responsible for your athlete’s foot.
|To apply directly: This is usually better if you only have a small infected area.|
Apple cider vinegar foot bath:
This is good if you have a large affected area and more time.
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil produced from the leaves of the eucalyptus, a plant native to Australia. Usually reserved for getting rid of a blocked nose, eucalyptus oil actually has other really great health benefits. Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial properties; this means that it can get rid of harmful bacteria and prevent it from returning, which makes it an effective treatment for many skin infections, including athlete’s foot.
I don’t know how favorable this athlete’s foot home remedy will be as most of us don’t want our feet smelling of garlic. However, don’t knock it yet, as garlic actually has some pretty amazing health benefits and has been used for thousands of years to treat a range of conditions; people are even using it as a cancer prevention. Garlic contains the two compounds allicin and ajoene, which are both antimicrobial, meaning they can inhibit the growth of fungal germs.
Alternatively, mix two crushed cloves of garlic with olive oil or coconut oil, then use a cotton ball to dab the solution onto the affected areas. Repeat twice a day.
It may surprise you, but yogurt is often recommended as an effective topical treatment for quite a few conditions, including acne and vaginal thrush. It also makes a pretty good remedy for athlete’s foot. When I say yogurt, I don’t just mean any yogurt you can find at your local supermarket, it has to be a plain yogurt that contains the live cultures needed, like lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus), a probiotic.
Probiotics sometimes referred to as “friendly” bacteria, are live microorganisms (microscopic bacteria and yeasts) that are said to be effective at inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria, like the kind associated with athlete’s foot.
Getting rid of athlete’s foot is one thing, stopping it from returning is another problem altogether. Most people with athlete’s foot, you have probably found this too, will have recurring bouts of the infection. There are many reasons why this may happen, some we will discuss below, but if you find you just can’t shake it, then you should definitely see your doctor.
- Always keep your feet clean, which will prevent bacteria.
- Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly if they get wet (after a swim or shower), because the fungal germs that cause athlete’s foot love humid places.
- Keep your feet dry in shoes, by using talcum powder, or an antifungal powder. This will limit the amount your feet sweat.
- Change your socks on a regular basis, because your feet naturally sweat and you don’t want to leave them in a humid condition.
- Make sure you keep everything clean, this means making sure the bath and shower are always cleaned after use. Towels and bedding should also be cleaned regularly as it will prevent the infection from spreading and you catching it again.
- Alternate your shoes. This is especially true if you have been doing exercise, your feet are genuinely sweaty or it rains. You want to avoid putting your feet into an environment that the fungal germs love.
- Treat your shoes with an antifungal powder. There is absolutely no point in treating your feet and then putting them back into infected shoes. Make sure your shoes are completely dry before wearing them again.
- Don’t wear other people’s shoes, especially shoes that don’t require socks, because you never know what is going on with their feet. This is a rule I strongly believe in.
- Wear footwear in public places. You can wear flip-flops, which will prevent you from exposure.
These athlete’s foot home remedies are known to get rid of the infection, so you should be able to have some luck with them. However, as mentioned above, prevention is probably as important as eliminating the infection, otherwise you will find yourself in a vicious cycle.
How do you treat athlete’s foot?