Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection that typically starts between the toes. It usually lives in warm, damp places. The fungus grows between the toes, on top of the feet, on toenails and between the fingers. Athlete’s foot is easy to pick up, but getting rid of it can be difficult. But there are natural home remedies to soothe the itch and fight the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
This infection is termed as athlete’s foot because it is mostly seen in athletes. It is often accompanied by the following symptoms. These may include itching, burning, and stinging. White patches, scaly patches, and redness are all indicative of the fungus.
Athlete’s foot fungus frequents public showers and locker rooms, indoor swimming pools, and health clubs. Contact with shoes or socks, wet floors, or exercise equipment (it can live between fingers) can cause it to spread.
Nobody wants to experience the constant itchiness and pain that usually accompany this condition. And given that it takes its own sweet time to heal, you need to take some immediate measures to address the issue. The following home remedies can help in treating athlete’s foot and speeding your recovery to a great extent.
Home Remedies To Treat Athlete’s Foot
While prevention is always the best medicine, it’s not a fail-safe. If you do find yourself with itchy feet, here are some natural remedies that can help with athlete’s foot.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
The sour, tangy crunchy almost helps with everything from heartburn to dandruff. It can also be one of the best natural remedies for mild athlete’s foot.
ACV has been used since the ages, when it was prized for its medicinal properties. It’s known to be especially beneficial against yeast and fungus. Due to this, many people take it internally to keep candida in balance.
To use ACV to remedy athlete’s foot, make sure you’ve got a good, high-quality, unpasteurized version. But better still, you can even make your own!). Of course you can also buy in stores or online.
In a foot bath container, mix together: 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Soak your feet for around half an hour. You can also apply plain ACV directly to the infection with a cotton ball. Apple cider vinegar will likely sting, so be aware and dilute more if necessary.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can kill some types of bacteria and fungus. That is why people have used it as a home remedy for many years.
Tea tree oil can reduce the itching, scaling, swelling, and burning of athlete’s foot when rubbed into the skin. You can apply this twice a day. People should take care when using tea tree oil because it can be irritating to the skin. Some people may need to stop using the oil because of rashes and irritation.
To use tea tree oil, people should place a few drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and rub it on their feet. Alternatively, tea tree oil creams and salves may be available at health food stores. People should not use undiluted tea tree oil on their skin.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural antiseptic that helps prevent the development of secondary infections in the affected foot. It also keeps the area moisture-free, which, in turn, makes it uninhabitable for the fungus responsible for causing the infection.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water to form a thick paste. Apply this paste to the affected areas and allow it to dry. Rinse thoroughly and pat your skin dry. Repeat this soak at frequent intervals until your feet are completely healed.
Garlic has a long history of medicinal use. Several studies have also found garlic to be effective against some fungi and bacteria. Allicin, the active compound in garlic, inhibits the growth of the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, the most common cause of athlete’s foot.
A garlic foot soak using fresh garlic cloves is one way for people to try this remedy at home. Crush three to four garlic cloves and stir them into a basin of warm water. Soak feet for 30 minutes, twice a day for up to a week.
Alternatively, make your feet stinkier by placing slices of fresh garlic, or some crushed garlic, between your toes and leaving them there for the day. You can also add the garlic to foods you eat or take a garlic supplement for the same effect, but it may take a little bit longer.
5. Hydrogen peroxide with iodine
Peroxide and iodine are commonly used to disinfect cuts and wounds. Because, they kill germs on the skin. A recent study found that peroxide combined with iodine killed 16 different fungi. The two used together were more effective than using them separately.
To try this remedy, mix iodine solution and hydrogen peroxide in a bucket or large bowl. Iodine solution is available at most drugstores in the wound care section. Dip the feet directly in the solution or use a cotton pad to apply it to the affected areas.
Do not use iodine on the skin without diluting it because it can damage the skin if used by itself. Peroxide may sting if the skin is broken or irritated. It can also bleach hair and fabrics. Iodine may also cause stains.
Applying this mixture in a bathtub or shower may prevent unwanted stains, bleaching, and spills.
6. Athlete’s Foot Remedies for Footwear and Towels
It turns out sticking your sneakers in the freezer for about 24 hours may kill the fungus and prevent it from growing further. Additionally, you could use an anti-fungal essential oil spray such as lavender to spritz your sneakers and kill the fungus.
In addition to disinfecting your shoes, it is also a good idea to toss or disinfect any socks worn while infected, plus disinfect towels used.
To disinfect towels, wash on the hottest setting on the washing machine. Add anti-fungal essential oils, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide to kill germs. In cases of persistent or recurrent athlete’s foot infections, consider throwing away items that may have come in contact with the fungus.
7. Green Tea
Soak your feet in lukewarm green tea and you may notice less symptoms like peeling and redness. That’s because nutrients in green tea called polyphenols have antifungal powers.
But this method won’t work quickly. You may have to soak your feet every day for 3 months. And more studies are needed to prove that green tea can get rid of the fungus, not just make your feet feel and look better.
8. Talcum powder
Talcum powder, corn starch, or baby powder are remedies to treat athlete’s foot by keeping the affected area dry and clean. This makes it difficult for the fungus to thrive and spread. Because, it keeps sweat and moisture under control.
To use this treatment, apply talcum powder (or anti-fungal powder) directly to the dried, affected area. Do this every time before putting on socks.
9. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is widely known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. These properties fight the fungus responsible for causing the infection and alleviate the symptoms of the infection.
Apply 2-3 drops of jojoba oil directly to the affected area. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, after which you can wash it off with water. You can also leave the oil on your skin to be absorbed. You must do this 2 to 3 times daily.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which possesses remarkable anti-fungal, antibacterial, and also anti-inflammatory properties. This make it one of the best home remedies to treat athlete’s foot.
Take a teaspoon of turmeric powder and add a few drops of water to it to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected foot. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and wash it off with water. You must do this twice daily.
11. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt foot soak is an easy and effective remedy to get rid of athlete’s foot. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat the condition.
Add a cup of Epsom salt to a large bowl of warm water and allow it to dissolve. Soak your feet in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this 1 to 2 times daily.
What You Can Do To prevent Athlete’s Foot
- After a bath or shower, dry your feet thoroughly. You might try using a hair dryer, particularly between your toes.
- Wear slippers or shower shoes in places where others go barefoot, such as gyms, health clubs, locker rooms and around swimming pools.
- Wear clean white socks made of natural fibre. They absorb moisture better than synthetics designed to draw moisture away from the foot. If you can, change your socks during the day to keep your feet sweat-free.
- Do not share your shoes, socks, and towels with others.
- Wear shoes made of canvas or leather. This allow your feet to breathe. Forgo rubber and plastic, which hold moisture in and can cause feet to sweat.
- Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row. It takes at least a day for shoes to dry out. If your feet sweat heavily, change your shoes twice a day
- Dust the insides of your shoes with anti-fungal powder or spray. To kill fungus spores, spray some disinfectant, like Lysol, on a cloth and wipe out the insides of your shoes after you take them off.