You can blame it all on a fungus if you’ve ever had oral thrush, a nail fungus, a yeast infection, ringworm or athlete’s foot. These types of skin infections are caused by fungi and are most likely to develop in moist and damp areas of the body like the inner thighs or armpits. These fungal infections are generally not contagious or life-threatening.
- Causes of Fungal Infection
- Symptoms of Fungal Infection
- How to Prevent Fungal Infection
- Natural Relief from Fungal Infection
- Method 1: Coconut Oil
- Method 2: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 3: Vinegar
- Method 4: Borax
- Method 5: Tea Tree Oil
- Method 6: Garlic
- Method 7: Yogurt
- Method 8: Baking Soda
- Method 9: Probiotics
- Method 10: Hydrogen Peroxide
- Tips to remember
Causes of Fungal Infection
Fungi often thrive in warm and moist environments. Your lifestyle and body chemistry can elevate your risk of fungal infections. For example, if you are a runner, you may experience frequent spells of athlete’s foot. (1)
Pool areas, locker rooms, public showers, and other damp areas are breeding grounds for fungi. You may pick up a fungal infection from being in these areas.
You may be at risk of getting a fungal infection if you keep sweaty or wet clothes on.
A cut or break in your skin may expose you to an infection, which can go deeper into the skin.
Symptoms of Fungal Infection
- Common symptoms of a fungal infection include a rash and redness of the skin. You may also experience itchiness, pain, and tenderness.
- Signs of severe infections include pus-filled blisters, blisters in general, sloughing of skin, dark and necrotic-appearing skin, painful and discolored skin.
How to Prevent Fungal Infection
- Wash and dry your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Dry yourself well after a bath, especially the armpits, genital areas and between the toes.
- Change your clothes if they’re sweaty or wet for some reason.
- Wear shoes when you’re in locker rooms, gyms or public pool areas.
- Never share clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, headgear or other personal hygiene items.
- Clean your hygiene items like brushes frequently and dry them thoroughly.
- Avoid touching pets with classic symptoms of ringworms or pets with bald spots.
Natural Relief from Fungal Infection
Here are 10 home remedies to help you get rid of a fungal infection and kill the fungus naturally.
Method 1: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which make it the right ingredient to fight fungal infection. Coconut oil has lauric acid, capric acid that has antimicrobial properties that destroy the cell membranes of both fungal and bacterial organisms. (2)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply coconut oil on the affected area
- Wash the affected area clean and pat it dry.
- Apply a thin layer of coconut oil directly on the affected area.
- Start with a smaller area, wait 24 hours and then proceed with the larger areas of infected skin.
Do this twice a day for 1 week to curb the growth of the fungus causing the infection.
Method 2: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made of crushed and aged apples. It contains probiotics and acetic acid, which fights the infection-causing fungus. If you have athlete’s foot, then soaking your feet in an apple cider vinegar solution will kill the fungus and relieve you from any pain associated with it. This remedy might burn a little but will help clear up the worst cases of fungal infections. (3) (4)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply diluted apple cider vinegar on the infected skin
- Dilute 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water, and apply to the affected area once a day with the help of a clean cotton ball.
- If you have a hand or foot fungus, fill a basin with equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and water. Soak your hands or feet in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this daily until the condition improves.
Also, you can mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 8 ounces of water and drink it once a day until you see the infection dialing down.
Method 3: Vinegar
Most fungi thrive in an alkaline environment. Just like apple cider vinegar, regular white vinegar can help create an acidic environment that slows down the fungi growth and proliferation. It also draws out excess moisture from the skin and promotes quick healing. (5)
Step 1. Dilute white vinegar in a tub of lukewarm water
- Fill a tub with lukewarm water.
- Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the water and stir it well.
Step 2. Soak your feet or hands in the solution
- Soak your feet or hands in the solution for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, pat your skin dry.
- You can take a vinegar water bath if you have a fungal infection in places other than your hands or feet.
Do this once a day until you notice the infection clearing up.
Method 4: Borax
Borax has antifungal and antibacterial properties that work amazingly to cure any fungal infection. Baking soda acts as an exfoliant. The lavender and patchouli essential oils in this remedy soothe the skin from any inflammation and promote quick healing. (6)
Things you’ll need:
- Borax (antifungal agent) – 1 tablespoon
- Baking soda (exfoliant) – 2 tablespoons
- Lavender essential oil (promotes quick healing and adds fragrance) – 4 or 5 drops
- Patchouli essential oil (anti-inflammatory and adds fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
Step 1. Add borax and baking soda to a tub of lukewarm water
- Fill a basin or your bathtub with lukewarm water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of borax and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the water.
Step 2. Add the essential oils & soak the infected area in the solution
- Add 4 or 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 or 3 drops of patchouli essential oil to the water.
- Mix well.
- Soak the affected area or take a bath in this water.
Do this once a day to get rid of the fungal infection.
Method 5: Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties that help kill the infection-causing fungus. Plus, it has antiseptic properties that curb the spread of the infection to other parts of the body.
Things you’ll need:
- Tea tree oil (an antifungal agent) – 1 or2 drops
- Olive oil (carrier oil) – 1 tablespoon
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a blend of tea tree and olive oils on the affected area
- Add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil to1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well.
- Wash the infected area and pat it dry.
- Apply the mixture on the affected area.
- Let it sit for 6 to 8 hours, after which you can reapply the mixture.
For a vaginal yeast infection, soak a tampon in the solution and insert it into the vagina for 1 hour. Do this twice a day for 1 week to get rid of the infection.
Method 6: Garlic
Garlic has long been used as a natural medicine in many South Asian countries. It has a compound called allicin, which accounts for the many medicinal benefits of garlic. It is called the wonder herb that can cure infections, inflammation, and hypertension. (9)
Things you’ll need:
- Garlic cloves, minced (an antifungal agent) – 2 - 3 cloves
- Olive oil (carrier oil, promotes healing) – 1 teaspoon
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a paste made of garlic and olive oil on the affected area
- Mix 2 - 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of olive oil into a paste.
- Apply the paste evenly on the affected area and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. This may cause a slight burning sensation. If it is intolerable, wash it off immediately.
- Rinse the paste off with warm water and pat your skin dry.
Use this remedy twice a day for 1 week to completely cure the infection. You may feel relief from the symptoms after just 2 days. Keep treating until the rash is completely gone.
Method 7: Yogurt
Yogurt contains probiotics that help curb the growth of fungal infection by producing lactic acid. Be sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt with active cultures. (10)
Single-Step Treatment: Use yogurt topically and internally to cure the infection
- Scoop up some plain yogurt with your clean fingers and apply it on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours, then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- If you have a vaginal infection, dip a tampon in some plain yogurt and put it inside your vagina for 1 hour.
- Consume yogurt daily to boost the good bacteria in your body.
Use these remedies once a day for 1 week. You should be able to see an improvement in 2 to 3 days.
Method 8: Baking Soda
Baking soda has a soothing effect on the itchiness, burning sensation and swelling caused by a fungal infection. It also has antifungal properties, which inhibit the growth of the fungi. (11)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a baking soda solution on the affected area
- Mix 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking soda into1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the solution on the affected area.
Repeat 2 or 3 times a day for 1 week to get rid of the fungal infection.
Method 9: Probiotics
Infections occur when a fungus overgrows on your body, and the bacterial balance gets thrown off. Probiotics boost the essential bacteria in your body to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics will help reduce the fungal infection in your body. (12)
Single-Step Method: Consume probiotic supplements to cure the infection
- For adults: Mix 1 scoop (0.8 gram) of the probiotic powder into a glass of dechlorinated water and drink it first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before eating. Do this once a day for 3 to 5 days. If you don’t see any reduction of the infection, do this twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime.
- For children: Mix 1 baby scoop (0.1 gram) of probiotic powder into a glass of dechlorinated water. Give this first thing in the morning to your child, 30 minutes before eating. Give this dosage to your child for 3 to 5 days. If you don’t see satisfactory results, increase the dosage to twice a day, once in the morning and again at bedtime.
Method 10: Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has a number of health and beauty benefits. It even helps to get rid of the fungal infection and kills the fungus naturally. It breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen upon application, and the oxygen eliminates the fungal infection. You may experience a burning sensation if the infected area is already inflamed and the infection is severe. (13)
Single-Step Treatment: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with distilled water & soak the affected area
- Dilute 4 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of distilled water and mix well.
- Soak the affected area in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Allow the area to dry on its own, or rinse off the solution and pat dry your skin.
Do this twice a day for 1 week to get rid of a fungal infection.
Tips to remember
- You can use essential oils of your choice in the remedies above.
- Chamomile also possesses antifungal properties. You can prepare a chamomile skin wash with lavender and calendula essential oils in it.
- Do not use undiluted vinegar or apple cider vinegar directly on the infected area.
- Essential oils are to be used in small quantities or diluted form, due to their highly potent nature.
- Consult your doctor if the remedies do not work for you.
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