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Can Tea Tree Oil Really Kill Toenail Fungus?

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Is tea tree oil really powerful enough to tackle the stubborn and challenging toenail fungus?  

Let’s find out. 

If toenail fungus is causing thick, yellow nails that are keeping you from feeling your best -- you’re not alone. Toenail fungus is very common. It’s estimated that 12% of the population has toenail fungus to some degree. 

While pesky toenail fungus is a common problem, it’s also famously hard to get rid of. 

In this article, we’ll cover the ins and out of using tea tree oil for toenail fungus. 


Yes, tea tree oil has antifungal properties

Tea tree oil is an essential oil made from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree. This oil is also known as melaleuca oil. 

Tea tree oil is famous for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties which is why it’s used in many home remedies. 

The main antimicrobial component of tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol. The most commercially available tea tree oil is 35% terpinen-4-ol.

This is why tea tree oil is thought to be beneficial at killing the fungus that causes toenail fungus. But, is this oil strong enough to squelch stubborn nail fungus or athlete’s foot? 

Let’s consult some research. 


Is tea tree oil powerful enough to kill toenail fungus?

Over the years, researchers have studied the power of tea tree oil to see if it can stand up against toenail fungus. The study results are varied and don’t show a clear-cut answer.

In a 1994 comparison study, it was found that tea tree oil was as effective as the over-the-counter antifungal medication Clotrimazole. Demonstrating powerful antifungal properties. 

However, in a 1999 study researchers used tea tree oil as a placebo in a toenail fungus study. 

The placebo group, using only tea tree oil, did not see the same results as the group using a combination antifungal cream. However, the cream did contain tea tree oil, so researchers concluded that tea tree oil is not enough to treat nail fungus by itself and is best used in combination.  

While yes, tea tree oil does have antifungal properties that may have a positive effect on toenail fungus, using this essential oil by itself might not be enough to fully tackle the problem.


Is using tea tree oil on toenail fungus safe?

Yes, using diluted tea tree oil as a fungus treatment is generally safe.  

Tea tree oil, as with all other essential oils, should be diluted in a carrier oil. Tea tree oil is very potent, and without dilution, it might cause skin irritation. 


Any toenail fungus treatment takes TIME 

No matter if you opt to use a natural remedy like tea tree oil or the proven effective ketoconazole, getting rid of toenail fungus takes a lot of time and patience. 

To finally get rid of the fungus you’ll have to stop the progression (happens rather quickly) while you fully grow out the infected toenail (takes 12 to 18 months). 

Read more: How To Tell If Your Toenail Fungus Is Dying Off

If you stop using the toenail fungus treatment before the fungus has grown out, reoccurrence will likely happen. 

Also note, untreated toenail fungus is liable to spread to other nails or parts of your foot. Toenail fungus treatment, no matter how slow the progress may be, is recommended because the fungus will likely spread without treatment. 

If you’re trying to get rid of toenail fungus know that you’ll need to commit to treatment for quite a while to see a full resolution. 


Strut Health treats toenail fungus online

Here at Strut Health, we treat stubborn toenail fungus with an expertly blended cream of topical antifungals, and steroids.

Our cream is compounded with a proprietary base blend with DMSO that helps the active ingredients penetrate deep into the nail. 

Treating toenail fungus is hard, but our cream takes the guesswork out of the situation. 

To see if this prescription toenail fungus medication is right for you, simply complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation

If our doctors find you’re a good candidate for this treatment, we’ll ship your prescription right to your door.


Article summary 

So, can tea tree oil kill toenail fungus? 

While it’s true tea tree oil has antifungal properties, studies have shown mixed results of toenail fungus using tea tree oil alone. 

However, tea tree oil used in conjunction with other antifungal agents has been shown to be successful in some people with a toenail fungus. 

So, using tea tree oil on toenail fungus can’t hurt. It might be a great tool to have in your arsenal while using other antifungal products. But, it is unclear if tea tree oil alone is the all-natural toenail fungus solution we’ve been waiting for.  


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