Fungal infections of the skin are really irritating, embarrassing, and can turn you into an itch-box who can’t keep their hands from constantly scratching. We have all been at the receiving end of a fungal infection at some point in life—ringworms, rashes, jock itch, oozing sores, or inflammation. They are all a result of an underlying fungal growth. Often, dark and damp environments become the breeding ground for fungi, giving rise to infections (1). While a number of medicines and creams are available to treat these infections, it’s always good to know a few at-home remedies for mild to moderate fungal infections. You’ll thank us when you find yourself stuck at an island with huge ringworm and no pharmacy to your rescue for thousands of nautical miles.
What Causes Skin Fungus?
Before arriving at a solution, it is always important to know the root cause of the problem. Skin fungus is often caused when hygiene isn’t maintained. For instance, the gym buffs, or those who sweat it out every day may be prone to an athlete’s foot because of unclean socks and shoes (2). If you wear sweaty clothes and shoes on a daily basis, you are inviting the fungus to build itself a home on your skin. In some cases, the microscopic fungi that live in the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and toenails also cause fungal infections. Additionally, you should also be on a high alert if you’re on steroids, or have a weak immune system because of HIV/AIDS, or cancer, or if you have hypertension and diabetes (3).
Whatever the cause of the skin fungus may be, we have listed down some beneficial home remedies to treat them. That being said, now don’t throw caution to the wind. Irrespective of how tried and tested these remedies are, you should always consult a doctor before you proceed.
Turmeric is a well-known spice that is used in Indian households. A little turmeric is all you need to make the skin fungus do a turntable and vanish into thin air (well it’s contagious and is a communicable condition, so be careful). Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation, itching, redness, and also treat mild infections. Turmeric has a component called curcumin which has antimicrobial properties (4). You can either use it in tea or meal preparations, or you could mix it with coconut oil and apply it on the affected area. However, the yellowish tint will remain until a couple of washes
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is great for digestion as it helps in the absorption of food. It helps in absorbing all the essential minerals, nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids. If that’s not enough, this humble essential oil is also rich in saturated fatty acids (caprylic acids). These fatty acids strengthen the immune system by dissolving in the cellular wall of the fungi and thus prevent them from growing and breeding further (5). So, if you have a minor rash or infections (usually, down there) try smearing some coconut oil before you press the panic button (6).
3. Oregano Oil
Prevention is always better than cure. And if you have some knowledge about essential oils and how to use them, you are sorted. You can prevent skin fungus like a pro (7), (8). You can just rub some oregano oil or garlic oil (based on how much you can tolerate the smell of both the oils) on your feet (between the toes) or the areas where there is too much sweating frequently. This will act like a suraksha-kavach against the fungal growth.
Garlic is loaded with antimicrobial properties (9). And the most essential component in the antimicrobial properties is a compound called allicin. This compound actively destroys viruses, bacteria, and a whole lot of fungal infections. Just like how garlic is held to shoo away vampires in literary fiction, garlic plays the role of an actual weapon in reality when it comes to dealing with infections. You can either use it topically or make it a part of your diet. Either way, garlic can help you combat deadly fungal infections.
5. Tea Tree Oil
We’re all fans of tea tree oil, aren’t we? A brilliant oil that can treat acne and a natural antiseptic that we are bestowed with (10). It can cure fungal infections just with a simple application over the affected area. There are multiple ointments available over the counter, or you could just use the oil as it is. Ensure that the skin is clean and clear of any dirt or foreign particles before you apply the oil.
A simple rash, or a yeast infection, skin infections can be ruthless, so much that, they are coined as the next big killer that causes more deaths than malaria and tuberculosis (11). So, don’t underestimate the power of these tiny microbes, they can do more than you can imagine. Keep these home remedies in your mind, the next time you are attacked by a fungal infection and thank us later.
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