Nail fungus is a common condition and people who struggle with it know that it is difficult to treat and requires consistency and perseverance to manage. Many medications will seem to clear it up, only to have it come back shortly after. I wish I could say there was a miracle cure. However, since I am obligated to tell the truth here, what I can say is that by committing to some simple daily nail care that involves a good fungus-fighting nail oil, you can make steady progress and, if you stick to your daily care, you can ultimately keep nail fungus at bay. This DIY nail oil recipe brings the fungus-fighting powers of roses and essential oils to the battle and simultaneously delivers vitamins and essential fatty acids to strengthen and moisturize your nails and cuticles.
Understanding nail fungus can help you treat it effectively. Although athlete’s foot is also caused by a fungus (tinea pedis), nail fungus (onychomycosis) is particularly stubborn because it lives in an ideal location (from the fungus’ point of view)—warm, often damp, and hard for us to get to—so it is difficult to treat. Different types of fungus and yeast can further complicate the treatment process. What starts as a little painless spot under the tip of a nail can grow, go deeper, and become an infection, resulting in thickened, crumbling, brittle nails, discoloration, and discomfort. Left untreated, the fungus can also spread to other nails.
SOME PRACTICAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO FIGHT NAIL FUNGUS
- Wash your hands and feet with soap and warm water when you take your shoes off for the day. Dry them very well, including between your fingers and toes.
- Trim your toenails so they are straight across and are shorter than the ends of your toes. This allows more air to circulate around the nail beds and provides less room for the fungus to grow.
- Don’t wear the same socks multiple times. Wash them between wearing. Also, choose socks that wick away rather than hold onto moisture. Hot, sweaty feet encourage fungus growth.
- Wear sandals or canvas or leather shoes rather than ones made of synthetic materials that don’t allow airflow.
- Go barefoot at home whenever possible.
- Sterilize clippers and nail files between uses—wash with soap and warm water and then wipe with rubbing alcohol.
- Avoid wearing nail polish for long periods of time on affected nails; nail polish makes a watertight layer over the nail, which traps moisture beneath and resists topical fungal treatment. Regularly give your nails a polish-free break to get some air and dry out.
- Establish a daily nail care regime that includes a good fungus-fighting nail oil. A few minutes at the beginning and end of your day is all it takes.
Vinegar soaks can also be helpful for treating many kinds of fungus:
- Mix one part vinegar with four parts warm water in a basin or pot. If your skin tolerates this, you can go stronger on the vinegar in the future, but don’t overdo.
- Wash your hands or feet well with soap and water.
- Soak in vinegar water for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse and thoroughly dry hands/feet.
- You can repeat daily, so long as your skin is not being irritated, but soaking twice a week is fine.
- Follow up with an application of a good fungus fighting nail oil.
DIY Fungus Fighting Rose Nail Oil
Makes approximately 2 oz.
- 2 Tbsp. organic argan oil
- 2 Tbsp. organic jojoba oil
- 1/4 cup organic dried rose buds or rose petals
- ¼ tsp. organic tea tree essential oil
- 6 drops organic clove bud essential oil or 12 drops organic myrrh essential oil
- 5 drops non-GMO vitamin E oil
- Combine argan and jojoba oils with rose petals or rose buds in the top of a double boiler.
- Gently heat over very low heat to reach 110 ℉ (see pro tip). Hold at about this temperature for 4 hours, until oil takes on a wonderfully rosy scent.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool enough to handle.
- When oil is still warm, strain out rose petals. Squeeze through cheesecloth to capture every drop of oil.
- Combine cooled rose-infused oil with tea tree oil, clove or myrrh oil, and vitamin E oil in a bottle with a dropper lid.
- Seal well and agitate bottle to combine thoroughly. Shake before using.
- I’m generally able to keep the oil between 105-112℉. If the oil gets a little hotter, don’t panic; you’ll still be okay. You’re just trying not to fry the herbs. The infused oil should smell beautifully rosy, not burnt.
- You can use a crockpot or yogurt maker instead of the stovetop, but test with water for at least four hours ahead of time to make sure you can hold this low 110℉ temperature before you try it with valuable oils and roses. If you have the time, you can also make rose-infused oil using the solar method. The rose-infused oil can then be stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
- Nail fungus can look like other conditions. If self-care isn’t helping and the nail bed is getting worse, please see your physician, particularly if you have diabetes!
- Always do a skin test when using essential oils! If you have a reaction or irritation, discontinue use.
How to Use Nail Oil
- Wash your hands or feet, including nails, with soap and warm water. You can use a soft toothbrush to thoroughly scrub around toes and cuticles.
- Dry thoroughly.
- Apply a few drops of the nail oil blend to the affected nail.
- Let the oil soak in—this may take several minutes.
- Repeat daily. If you are not experiencing discomfort or irritation from the oil, you can repeat morning and night.
- Remember, this is a process that requires consistency and patience. In the meantime, your nails and cuticles will love the attention.