How to Treat Athlete’s Foot Naturally with Essential Oils
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a contagious fungal infection which affects the skin. It’s really common in the feet but can also spread to the toenails and hands. The infection is easily spread by skin to skin contact. So walking barefoot in wet areas where an infected person has walked previously ie swimming pool surrounds and showers, increases your chance of exposure. Contaminated clothes, socks, towels, bed linen and shoes are also common sources of infection.
Our Feet are the Perfect Hosts
Fungal infections need warm, moist conditions to thrive. This makes our feet a perfect hosting environment. Tight shoes, shoes made from synthetic materials, damp socks and not drying our feet properly – especially in between the toes, can all create the perfect conditions for the fungus to thrive.
The infection will often start in between the toes as moisture can get trapped here, but it can then spread to other areas of the feet.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
- red scaly rash
- flakey or cracked skin
Some people may not even realise they have an infection as their only symptom is dry skin.
Tips to Minimise Your Risk of Getting Athlete’s Foot
There are some simple steps you can take to minimize the chances of contracting this infection:
- Wash and dry feet and toes thoroughly everyday
- Wear natural fibre socks that draw moisture away from the skin
- Wear open shoes or sandals where possible
- When wearing enclosed shoes it is best if they are made from breathable fabric ie leather
- If possible allow your shoes to dry before wearing them again
There are many antifungal creams, sprays, gels and tablets available over the counter at your local pharmacy and also prescription medications available from your doctor – they will be able to advise as to the best medical options for you.
Natural Treatment Options with Essential Oils
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the aromatic liquid extracted from flowers, leaves, resin, nuts, fruit or root of a plant or tree. They are highly concentrated and often have hundreds of different chemical compounds.
Over the last several years there has been a resurgence of interest in essential oils as many people look for more natural ways to enhance their health and wellbeing.
4 Useful Oils for Treating Athlete’s Foot.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil is also known as melaleuca, is made from the leaves of the tea Tree. It is known for its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil is made from the peel of the lemon. It is antifungal, antimicrobial and has strong antioxidant properties. It’s also invigorating and refreshing. Lemon oil is photosensitive so it’s best not to expose your skin to the sun if you have used lemon oil topically.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil is made from the flowering tops of the lavender plant. It has potent antifungal properties, is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being very calming to the skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil is steam distilled from the leaves, stems and flower heads of the peppermint plant. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antiviral. The menthol in peppermint oil can relieve and soften inflamed skin.
How to Use Essential Oils to Treat Athlete’s Foot
If you are experiencing the start of athletes foot between the toes an easy treatment is to apply a few drops of tea tree oil to cotton balls and place them in between the affected toes. Tea tree oil is gentle enough to apply topically but it’s a good idea to dilute it in a carrier oil such as almond oil to make sure you don’t have a reaction – you can gradually build up the ratio of tea tree oil.
5 drops of lavender oil
8 drops of tea tree oil
2 drops of peppermint oil
½ – 1 cup of apple cider vinegar*
Add the oils to the apple cider vinegar first to help them disperse them evenly in to your chosen foot bath. Always test the temperature of the water before submerging your feet. Soak feet for 15 – 20 minutes every day while the infection is active. It can also be used less frequently as a preventative measure.
The essential oils as well as being therapeutic will also help mask the smell of the vinegar. If having the foot bath at night omit the peppermint oil as this can be stimulating.
Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties too, so by using the oils and vinegar together you are giving your feet an extra dose of antifungal goodness. When purchasing apple cider vinegar you will get the best results from the varieties that contain the ‘mother’ floating towards the bottom – they will have the most healing benefits.
Foot Massage Oil
6 drops tea tree oil
4 drops lavender oil
2 drops lemon oil
40 mls almond oil
Place mixture in to a dark glass bottle to maintain the integrity of the oils. Massage in to feet daily.
- Always patch test when using essential oils to make sure you do not react to them. Adding more carrier oil is always an option or more water if having a foot bath.
The information contained here is general in nature and we always recommend that you seek professional advice from your trusted health professional if you have any concerns about your foot health. Click Here for more information about Essential Oils and where to purchase.
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