WTAF (What the Actual Fungus!)
It isn’t the most pleasant topic in the world but it’s an important one, so let’s get into the nitty gritty of nail fungus.
Believe it or not, nail fungus is very common and people often don’t realise they have it until obvious side effects start to occur. Nails can become discoloured and flaky and may detach from the nail bed over time (yep, not a good look). It can also cause the nails to thicken and lead to pain and discomfort. Fungus can affect toenails and fingernails but is much more common in toenails – especially the big toe.
So… what causes it?
Moist and sweaty environments are fungi’s best friend so fitness junkies beware (not a problem for me). But even just wearing your favourite ballet flats every day can be the perfect hot and sweaty environment for fungus to breed. Additionally, if you traumatise your nail by wearing ill-fitting shoes or dropping something heavy onto your toe (e.g. a bottle of wine - whoops), you can cause the surrounding skin to break and infection can easily sit in. And the worst part? It is VERY hard to get rid of.
So… how do you treat it?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix when it comes to fungal infections, but the earlier you treat it the quicker you can say ‘sayonara’. There are plenty of topical antifungal medications that can be purchased over the counter, however they all have different active ingredients, are expensive and you need to keep applying them for months. In my opinion if you are going to take the time and effort (and it is an effort) to treat the fungus it is best to do it as naturally and simply as possible.
For those that prefer a natural approach essential oils are a great option. I recommend a mixture of tea tree and oregano oils, which you can apply directly to the affected area morning and night. Ideally your nails would be polish free, however over the warmer months when you want to show off your painted toes I suggest placing the drops under the toe nail. You can also use a carrier oil such as almond or coconut (or even our Miss Frankie Nourish Me Cuticle oil) and mix 10mls of oil with 5 drops of your essential oil.
Like I said treating fungus takes time, patience and commitment to whatever treatment you choose - even the oral medication takes around six months to work. It’s best to start the process in winter when you can give your nails a break from polish and let the essential oils have maximum impact.