Tea tree oil is the most commonly used essential oil in skincare and healthcare. It contains various medicinal and therapeutic benefits that help in overcoming many skin conditions and health issues. Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties that help in fighting many infections.
Nail fungus is a common skin infection that many people suffer. Do you know that you can use tea tree oil as an effective treatment for nail fungus?
Tea tree oil has properties that help prevent infections, and it also helps treat fungal infections.
Below is the complete guide to using tea tree oil on nail fungus or tea tree oil on toenail fungus.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of a tea tree plant native to Australia called Melaleuca Alternifolia (1). This is the reason this oil is also called melaleuca oil. Tea tree oil is extracted through the steam distillation process. Tea tree oil has a very fresh camphor-like odor (2).
Tea tree oil has many health benefits and is also commonly used in a skincare regimen. Tea trees have been used as a part of herbal medicine in Australia for ages.
What is Nail Fungus?
Onychomycosis, also known as nail fungus, is a fungal infection that affects the nails on the hands and feet. The infection can cause the nails to thicken, discolor, and become brittle, as well as separate from the nail bed. Nail fungus is a common condition caused by fungi that include dermatophytes, yeasts, and molds.
People with weakened immune systems, who spend a lot of time in warm, moist environments, or who have a history of skin or nail infections are more likely to get it. Topical antifungal medications, oral antifungal medications, or a combination of both can be used to treat nail fungus. In severe cases, the affected nail may need to be surgically removed.
Can We Use Tea Tree Oil To Treat Nail Fungus?
Tea tree essential oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in fighting infections. Nail fungus is caused due to the growth of Trichophyton rubrum. According to the study undertaken in the year 2013, it has been found out that tea tree oil can be used to stop the growth of Trichophyton rubrum and thus can control the growth of nail fungus (3).
Tea tree oil is also included in some antifungal creams that can be used to treat nail fungus. According to a study, a cream that contained butenafine hydrochloride and tea tree oil successfully treated toenail fungus (4). Tea tree oil can also fight many different nail fungus causing infections, like Candida lusitaniae. Tea tree oil has shown results in controlling yeast growth (5).
Tea tree oil contains many active compounds, and one such active compound known as cymene helps in preventing fungal growth. This means that tea tree oil can be used as a standard medication to treat nail fungus easily at home. Though you will not see any immediate results, continuous use of tea tree oil will help treat nail infections quickly.
Tea tree essential oil is a go-to solution when it comes to combatting stinky feet and considered as one of the best essential oils for stinky feet. Its natural antibacterial properties help eliminate odor-causing bacteria, leaving your feet feeling and smelling fresh. Simply dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in water, soak your feet, and say goodbye to unpleasant foot odors.
What Are Tea Tree Oil’s Main Contents That Help Treat Nail Fungus?
This is one of the important components of tea tree oil that helps prevent the growth of highly dangerous fungi and microbes. It gives a cool scent and feels to tea tree oil (6).
The antiviral action in tea tree oil is mainly due to the presence of an alpha-sabine compound (7). This is one of the important constituents of tea tree oil that helps in preventing nail fungus.
Pinene is a terpene that adds a strong scent to the tea tree oil (8). This is a therapeutic component that is believed to restore health benefits. Pinene also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce skin inflammation, redness, or swelling, which are common nail fungus symptoms. This also contains antimicrobial properties that help in fighting against several bacteria and fungi.
Cymene terpene contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties (9). This can help in killing many different types of fungi and bacteria. This compound is also used in many pesticides and fungicides. Thus you can use tea tree oil for toenail fungus.
Limonene component has many health benefits mainly because of its properties like antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antidiabetic properties (10). Limonene contains a citrusy smell. Its antifungal properties can help treat fungi growth like toenail fungus, etc.
What Are The Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil For Treating Nail Fungus?
Below are some of the potential benefits of tea tree oil for treating nail fungus:
1. Natural And Plant-Based Solution
As tea tree oil is a plant extract, this is one of the most natural solutions that can be used to heal nail fungus or nail infection. Many alternative solutions are available in the market, but they contain chemicals and can cause side effects.
2. Antifungal Properties
Tea tree oil contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that help in fighting bacteria and fungi. Thus it can be used to eliminate the issue of nail fungus. Its natural potency and broad-spectrum activity against fungi have earned it a reputation as one of the most powerful antifungal essential oil.
3. Affordable And Easily Available
Tea tree oil is very commonly available in the market and is less expensive than the commercial products available to treat nail fungus.
4. Almost Negligible Side Effects
Tea tree oil is safe to use oil and has shown very minimal to almost negligible side effects. Thus you can apply tea tree oil to heal infected nails.
How To Prep Your Nails Before Applying Tea Tree Oil?
In order to increase the benefits and speedy recovery, cleaning and preparing your nails before applying tea tree oil is advised. You can follow the below steps to prep your nails for applying tea tree oil:
Trimming The Nails
You can use nail tools such as nail clippers to trim the affected nails first. Try to remove the affected nails as much as possible so that you can prevent the spread of the fungus to the unaffected parts of the nails. Try to trim as much of the infected nails as possible. Trimming or filing will help the tea tree oil to penetrate the nail bed easily.
Washing The Nails With Soap
Once you have trimmed your nails, with the help of soap and water, wash your infected nails properly. The main reason behind this is to remove the debris of the infected nail and prevent it from spreading further. For washing the nail, you can also use products containing tea tree oil as an ingredient.
Nail infections can be caused due to fungal growth in the nail bed due to trapped moisture. Dry the nails with the help of a towel and gently pat them. Make sure that your nails are completely dry because the damp area leaves scope for fungal growth.
How To Apply Tea Tree Oil To Heal Nail Fungus?
Follow the below steps to make a tea tree oil mixture and apply it to your nail fungus:
Make A Blend
Tea tree oil is highly concentrated, and applying it in undiluted form can cause skin irritation, inflammation, redness, itchiness, or any sort of allergic reaction. So, it is suggested to dilute tea tree oil with carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil, castor oil, almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
To make the blend add 1 -2 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil.
Applying The Mixture
To apply this mixture to the affected nails, use a cotton swab. Dip this cotton swab into the mixture. Cautiously apply this mixture on the affected nails and on the surrounding skin. Apply tea tree oil on the edges of the nail to ensure the oil penetrates the nail. Keep the cotton swab on the nail for a few minutes to let the nails and their surrounding skin absorb the oil properly.
*Note: Do not wear socks or shoes immediately after applying the oil, as it can rub off oil from your nails and skin.
How Regularly Can I Use Tea Tree Oil Treatment On Toenail Fungus?
You can use diluted tea tree oil twice a day on your nail fungus. Continuing using it daily until you see the results. Usually, it takes a few weeks to months to show the desired results or completely heal the infected nails.
Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Nail Fungus?
Yes, tea tree has medicinal properties that make them safe for use. It has been found that tea tree oil has antifungal properties. The antifungal properties of tea tree oil could help manage toenail fungus. Thus tea tree oil work for nail fungus treatment. You can use a few drops of the oil on your infected nails. Though, to use a tea tree on the fungal growth in the nail, always add tea tree with a carrier oil before applying it directly on the skin or the infected nail.
Tea tree oil can lead to certain potential side effects like redness, skin irritation, skin inflammation, or allergic reactions if applied in undiluted form. So, avoid applying the tea tree oil directly on the skin and make sure to use a carrier oil with tea tree oil and use a few drops of the diluted tea tree oil surrounding the nail as well on the affected nail.
You need to take some precautions in order to see quick results from tea tree oil. Following are some of the points that you should take care of in order to see the desired results:
- Avoid using tea tree oil directly on the skin.
- Always remember to take a patch test before applying the oil to the affected area.
- To undertake a patch test, apply the mixture to a small part of your skin. Wait for 24 hours and if you do not see any allergic reaction or side effects, then continue using the mixture on the affected nail.
- Though, if you see any allergic reaction, immediately discontinue the use of tea tree oil and visit your nearest doctor.
- Always keep your nails clean and trimmed to avoid any reoccurrence of infection.
- Avoid wearing damp or wet socks or even shoes for a long time, as it can promote fungal growth.
- Before buying tea tree oil, make sure to purchase pure tea tree oil to be used on nail fungus and the skin surrounding the nail.
- Always sterilize your nail tools after use.
You can easily treat nail fungus with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil with many therapeutic and medicinal benefits. Tea tree oil is used in many skincare and healthcare activities. With the help of tea tree oil, you can get nail that is free of any fungal growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put tea tree oil directly on toenail fungus?
Avoid using tea tree oil directly on toenail fungus as it can irritate the skin around. Tea tree oil is highly concentrated and can cause allergic reactions if applied directly. Always dilute tea tree oil with any carrier oil and then use it on toenail fungus.
How long does tea tree oil take to work on toenail fungus?
Tea tree oil takes a few weeks or a month to work on toenail fungus if used regularly.
How often should you apply tea tree oil to toenail fungus?
You can apply diluted tea tree oil twice a day on toenail fungus, or any nail fungus.
- C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer. ASM Journals. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties, https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
- Tea Tree Oil Laboratory Guidance Document. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stefan-Gafner/publication/328175728_Tea_Tree_Oil_Laboratory_Guidance_Document/links/5bbd14ba299bf1049b786356/Tea-Tree-Oil-Laboratory-Guidance-Document.pdf.
- F. C. Flores, J. A. de Lima. Mycopathologia. (2013). Antifungal Activity of Nanocapsule Suspensions Containing Tea Tree Oil on the Growth of Trichophyton rubrum. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11046-013-9622-7
- T A Syed. Trop Med Int Health. 1999. Treatment of toenail onychomycosis with 2% butenafine and 5% Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil in cream. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10357864/
- J Appl Microbiol. Garlic (Allium sativum) as an anti-Candida agent: a comparison of the efficacy of fresh garlic and freeze-dried extracts. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10357864/
- Chelsea J. Papadopoulos, Christine F. Carson. Role of the MexAB-OprM Efflux Pump of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Tolerance to Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil and Its Monoterpene Components Terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-Cineole, and α-Terpineol. https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/AEM.02334-07
- Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. (2015). Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033
- Sustainable cycloolefin polymer from pine tree oil for optoelectronics material: living cationic polymerization of β-pinene and catalytic hydrogenation of high-molecular-weight hydrogenated poly(β-pinene). https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/py/c3py01320k/unauth
- Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention. (2011) Chapter 98 – Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123756886100982 Chemico-Biological Interactions. (2018). Limonene: Aroma of innovation in health and disease. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009279717310487