Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is a fungal infection of your feet and toes. It is a very common fungal infection in humans. More the 15% of the world population suffer from athlete’s foot annually. (1)
A number of fungi belonging to dermatophyte species such as Trichophyton, epidermophyton, Microsporum, etc. are responsible for athlete’s foot.
The closed, damp and warm parts of your body are most likely to be a victim of this fungal infection. The narrow and sweaty spaces between your toes, the soles, and the heels are prone to foot fungus attack.
These fungi enter your body through small cracks or cuts on your skin. They grow and reproduce by feeding themselves with keratin, a protein substance on the top layer of your skin. (2)
Athlete’s foot is contagious and the infection can spread through the skin flakes of your infected feet. If you share the same towel, socks, shoes, bathtub, gym space, and sports equipment with another person you may contaminate him with foot fungus.
A weak immune system, diabetes and walking barefoot makes you more vulnerable to contact this fungal infection.
There are a lot of over-the-counter antifungal creams, lotions, and ointments to treat athlete’s foot. They are costly and come with the backlash of side effects. However, using essential oils for athlete’s foot seems to be more convenient, easy and secure home remedy for this skin infection.
Essential oils are the essence of various plants and flowers. (3) They are rich with antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Various clinical researches suggest the efficacy of essential oils athlete’s foot treatment.
This article lists some of the most effective antifungal essential oils for athlete’s foot, directions of using them, plus symptoms, and prevention tips for the fungal disease.
Top 10 Essential Oils for Athlete’s Foot, Toenail and Foot Fungus
1. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is collected from the dried leaves of the oregano plants through steam distillation. It has a sharp camphoraceous aroma. This herbal oil is well known for its potent antioxidants, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
You’ll be surprised to know that the chemical compound of this oil is 71% phenols, which is antiseptic in nature. Oregano oil also contributes to improving digestive health, respiratory and immune systems.
The two major antifungal properties of this oil are thymol and carvacrol. These active components can effectively treat foot infection. (4, 5)
How to use oregano essential oil for athlete’s foot:
- Mix 3 drops of oregano oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Rub the blend on your affected toes and feet thrice daily.
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the melaleuca plant, a native to Australia. This herbal oil has versatile uses due to its more than 92 active chemical components. It can provide rejuvenating effects on your skin. The antifungal properties of tea tree oil can treat acne, skin wounds, athlete’s foot, and many other skin disorders. (6)
Tea tree oil foot massage for athlete’s foot:
- Add 3 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of coconut or almond oil and blend them well.
- Apply the solution to your infected feet and massage thoroughly.
- Repeat the process thrice daily.
Tea tree oil foot bath for athlete’s foot :
- Add 5 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of olive oil to 1 liter of water.
- Soak your feet in this mixture for 20 minutes.
- Redo the process thrice daily for the best results.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil originates from the evergreen peppermint herbs. The medical uses of this herb date back to ancient Egyptian civilization.
Peppermint oil has extensive use in cosmetic and medical industries. Among a host of therapeutic components, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antifungal properties. (7)
These are potent agents to heal your foot infection, indigestion, and respiratory disorders.
The menthol in peppermint oil is a refreshing treat to your dry feet. It can soothe the itchiness of the infection and reduce the stinky smell of your feet.
Home remedy for athlete’s foot using peppermint oil:
- Mix peppermint oil and tea tree oil 2 drops each with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
- Massage the blend on your infected feet
- Repeat the process twice daily for silky smooth and infection-free feet.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is well known for a host of therapeutic properties. This favorite herbal oil comes from the evergreen foliage- Lavender, grown in Northern Africa.
This sweet-scented herbal oil is rich in anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. (8)
From ancient time onwards this essential oil has been a potent remedy for various skin disorders. A massage with this oil can cure the infection of athlete’s foot and regenerate your skin.
Steps to use lavender oil for athlete’s foot:
- Add 4 drops of lavender oil to a mild lotion and create a paste.
- Apply the paste to the affected feet and massage well for few minutes.
- Now, wear socks on the feet to allow the oil work intensively.
- You can repeat the process every night before going to bed.
5. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil comes from the oil glands of lemon peels. It has a wonderful citrus aroma. Traditionally lemon is a popular purifying, and deodorizing agent. Lemon oil has a host of medical benefits because of its antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal properties. (9)
Lemon oil has the ability to boost the immune system, help digestion, and respiratory process. When it comes to skin disorders such as athlete’s feet, lemon essential oil is an ideal candidate to heal and reconstruct your feet from the inside.
How to use lemon oil for athlete’s foot:
- Mix lemon essential oil and olive oil 8 drops each with 1 liter of warm water.
- Now, soak your feet for a relaxing bath into the solution for 20 minutes.
- Treat your to this process every night for healthy and smooth feet.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The two major chemical compounds in this aromatic herbal oil are alpha-terpineol and eucalyptol. These compounds are full of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, and analgesic properties. (10)
Eucalyptus oil is an important ingredient in skin cosmetics, and oral hygiene products. The cleansing properties of this herbal oil make it one of the best essential oil home remedy for athlete’s foot.
Eucalyptus oil is an ideal for healing the blisters of a sever moccasin athlete’s foot, and to moisten your dry and flaky feet.
Natural remedy for athlete’s foot using eucalyptus oil:
- Add 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil with 2 cups of water.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
- Now, spray the solution on your infected feet.
- You can spray the solution inside your shoes as well as a preventive measure against foot infection.
7. Ozonized Olive Oil
Ozonized olive oil is the extra virgin or cold pressed olive oil with an ozone injection. Ozone is a reactive gas. It gets stabilized in the oil and helps to retain the quality and purity of the olive oil.
Ozonized olive oil has 50% more saturated oxygen and can last on your skin 12 hours more than the ordinary olive oil. (11)
It has a plethora of uses for skin treatments. The antioxidants and antifungal properties can release the toxins out of your skin and cure foot infection.
This herbal oil can regenerate your skin tissues, speed up the healing of the wounds and reduce swelling and redness of the inflammations.
Steps to use ozonized olive oil for athlete’s foot:
- Pour a few drops on your affected feet and massage thoroughly.
- Repeat the process twice and see the results in 2-4 days.
8. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil comes from the distillation of seeds, peel, and pulp of the grapefruits. This essential oil abounds in nutrients, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties such as Limonene to disinfect your skin disorders and regenerate it from the inside. (12)
How to get rid of athlete’s foot using grapefruit oil:
- Mix 4 drops of grapefruit essential oil to 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil.
- Now massage the blend on your infected feet for 10 minutes.
- Apply the process thrice a day for speedy recovery.
9. Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh is a resin that comes from myrrh tree. Herbaceous and woody flavored myrrh oil originates from the distillation of these resins.
From ancient time on myrrh has an important place in medical and spiritual spheres. Myrrh essential oil is rich with antiseptic, astringent, antifungal, and analgesic properties. (13) If you massage this oil topically or use it for a foot bath, it can moisten and purify your feet. It can promote the growth of new tissues and give you youthful skin.
Method of using myrrh essential oil for athlete’s foot:
- Mix 8 drops of myrrh oil in 1 liter of lukewarm water.
- Dip your feet on the solution for 15 minutes.
- Repeat the process twice a day to treat the athlete’s foot.
10. Sunflower Essential Oil
Sunflower oil comes from the seeds of beautiful sunflowers through cold press process. Oleozon sunflower oil is especially beneficial to fight harmful pathogens of skin infections. (14)
Steps to use sunflower oil to get rid of athlete’s foot:
- Add 3 drops of sunflower oil to a carrier oil and massage your infected feet.
- Repeat the application regularly for a speedy recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
- Irritations, itch and burning sensations between toes (15)
- Cracks or small tears in the narrow space between your toes.
- Flaky and dry feet.
- Discoloration of the toes, and heels.
- Swelling of the feet.
- A foul smell may come from your feet
Some Tips and Preventive Measures for Athlete’s Foot
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as gym, dormitories, pool area, toilets etc. The fungi responsible for athlete’s foot can survive long in these places and your sweaty feet may contact them. (16)
- Never disregard proper hygiene of your feet. It is extremely important to wash your feet every time you walk barefoot on a commonplace.
- Make sure that your pedicurist sterilizes the salon equipment before you get a pedicure. The unsterilized equipment can hold the germs and contaminate you.
- A damp and wet place is prone to develop bacteria and fungus. If you put on socks and shoes a whole day, you are more likely to suffer a foot infection. Switch to wearing synthetic shoes rather than rubber and waterproof ones.
- Never share your towels, shoes, socks with others.
- Wash your socks with hot water on a daily basis.
- Take your shoes off whenever it is possible and allow the air and the sun to keep your feet fresh.
- You should take care of skin allergies, eczema and other skin disorders which can dry out your feet and worsen athlete’s foot.
- Boost your immune system with proper diet and steroids such as cortisone.
- Having a weakened immune system, due to things like an autoimmune disorder or taking medications such as steroids like cortisone.
When to See a Doctor
The essential oil remedies for athlete’s foot may be effective in treating the fungal infection. However, if the symptoms persist and the infected rashes leak fluid or turn into ulcers you need to visit a doctor urgently. Athlete’s foot is highly contagious and may spread to toenails in no time. A doctor may prescribe some powerful over the counter antifungal medications to relieve the fungal infection.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection on your feet. You may contact Athlete’s foot infection by sharing athletic places such as locker rooms, pools, public showers, gym etc. These shared places thrive with bacteria and fungi that can lead to athlete’s foot.
You can avoid this unpleasant disease by following a hygiene lifestyle. You need not stop physical exercise when you are affected with athlete’s foot. However, you should keep away from swimming in a public pool which can spread the infection to others. Make sure to wear synthetic socks and sandals while you are using the gym. The above discussed essential oils can definitely come handy in dealing with this condition at home.