Five Home Remedies for Athlete's Foot
Athlete's foot is a common skin problem on the feet caused by a fungus. Though it is rarely serious, its symptoms can be bothersome.
Home remedies can be quite effective in treating many cases of athlete's foot. Some of these remedies may be readily available at home, while others are available in health food stores.
1. Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Studies suggest that tea tree oil may help to kill fungi.
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree, commonly found in Australia. It is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
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.
Garlic has a long history of medicinal use, and several studies have found garlic to be effective against some fungi and bacteria.
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.
The powerful compounds in garlic can leave a lasting garlic smell on the skin, however.
3. Hydrogen peroxide with iodine
Peroxide and iodine are commonly used to disinfect cuts and wounds and to kill germs on the skin.
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, and it can bleach hair and fabrics. Iodine may also cause stains.
Applying this mixture in a bathtub or shower may prevent unwanted stains, bleaching, and spills.
4. Hair dryer and talcum powder
If fungi do not have an ideal environment to live in, they cannot continue to grow and thrive. Getting rid of moisture from the feet, especially between the toes, can help keep the fungus from spreading and getting worse.
People can remove moisture from their feet by thoroughly drying them with a hair dryer after bathing, making sure that no moisture remains but being careful not to burn the skin. People with loss of sensation or feeling in the feet should not use this method.
When the feet are dry, follow up by sprinkling them with talcum powder to help absorb sweat. Many foot powders contain talc and help keep the feet dry. In addition to these steps, wearing socks that absorbs moisture away from the skin can help keep the feet dry. The following types of socks can help keep feet dry throughout the day:
- synthetic wicking fabric, often called tech socks
Changing socks at least once a day when feet feel sweaty or damp is also helpful. Or, in warmer weather, wear open shoes or sandals to increase airflow to the feet.
5. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Baking soda may have antifungal properties and could be used in a foot soak.
Baking soda is an item most people have readily available. It may also be an effective way to cure athlete's foot.
To make a foot soak, mix about a half cup of baking soda in a large bucket or basin of warm water. Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day. When done, dry the feet thoroughly but do not rinse.
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