Spring and summer is coming (yes, it is actually coming, contrary to the crazy weather this year) and we are looking at shorts and sandals or flip-flops making a comeback. For many of us men and possibly some of you women, that puts us in a bit of a predicament. Approximately 3% of the population is affected by unsightly, thick, and discolored toenails; primarily caused by fungal infections.
I am one of this 3%. I blame the fact that I wear heavy boots 90% of the year (at least) and quite honestly, do not make a huge attempt to take care of my feet. Nonetheless, it is embarrassing and people who suffer from this condition are self-conscious about it.
Several years ago, I spoke with a doctor about getting a referral to a dermatologist to get the problem fixed. By that point, two of my toenails started getting very thick and difficult if not painful to keep trimmed. One large toenail also started curling under on one side, adding extra pain and trimming difficulty. My doctor, also a bit of a whole-health enthusiast, told me that he could but the process was long, not guaranteed to work, and I needed to consider my decision. One common medication used to treat this fungus causes heavy strain on the liver and can lead to damage, especially taking it for the six months or longer needed to see good results. I’m not a health fanatic, but I certainly do not want to ruin my liver just to clear up a couple of toenails.
I decided not to act on the referral. Years later, the problem only grew worse. I decided that I needed to get this thing under control once-and-for-all. The pain at times, especially depending on the style of boots and shoes I wore, was almost unbearable. It got to the point that I wanted to just have a doctor remove the toenail altogether, though I’m not convinced I could have gotten one to do it.
Instead, I searched online for home remedies. There were a lot of them. What I ended up going with was tea tree oil. I started by filing my nail down as far as I could from the top and applied skin lotion to soften it. (A normal metal file or emery board works fine.) Immediately, the nail uncurled, eliminating almost all of the associated pain. I applied the lotion for a couple of days, just to ensure it was good and soft. Then, I started using a cotton swab to apply tea tree oil to the nail. I did this two or three times per day for a few days, then scaled back to once a day or every other day. Then, I sat back and kept my fingers crossed.
Two months later, my nails looks healthy, clear, is back to normal thickness, and hasn’t started curling again whatsoever. Another nail trim or two and the previous damage will have grown out completely. Best of all, my liver is still in great shape and I paid less than $10 to do it all.
Bring on the flip-flops, baby!
*Disclaimers: All images were retrieved online. These are not my feet (I didn’t have before photos.) As with any home remedy or medical treatment, consult your doctor before attempting. Use caution when using Tea tree oil as some people’s skin can be sensitive to it. This remedy worked for me, but please do not construe this article as medical advice. See our legal page for additional disclaimers. Featured image courtesy of http://www. groomingguys. com/grooming-tips/overcoming-the-agony-of-da-feet/.