Tea tree oil and athlete's foot - Does this drug-free treatment really work? While there are many medicated lotions and sprays to treat this condition, researchers discover this may be the best home remedy for athlete's foot.
If you're looking for a natural treatment that can end the peeling, burning and itching without side effects, you want to take a closer look at what this oil can do for you....
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of your feet cause by parasites on your skin called 'dermatophytes'. These nasty little fungi feed on the dead skin on your feet. They love warm, moist places...which make some peoples' feet the ideal place for it to grow.
Most infections are spread by an infected person - usually in damp public areas. Common places are public showers, saunas and locker rooms.
This happened to me a couple of years ago. Finishing my daily workout at the gym I used the shower facilities. I didn't have any sandals so I walked through the damp shower area barefoot.
A few days later, I noticed my feet started feeling itchy and the skin started peeling. I knew I had contracted a case of athlete's foot. It's best to wear sandals on your feet if you use a public shower/sauna. They help protect your bare feet from the wet floor and avoid getting infected.
Wearing tight fitting shoes and not drying your feet completely can encourage fungal growth. The fungus grows best in dark, moist places like between your toes.
Itching, peeling skin and redness are classic signs you're infected. Some infections are so bad the skin 'burns' and it can get really uncomfortable.
Typical treatment is anti-fungal sprays, lotions, creams or powders using medications miconazole and clotrimazole. Side effects associated with these anti-fungal drugs include redness, stinging, blistering, peeling, swelling, itching, hives, or burning at the area of application.
I tried using an anti-fungal spray to treat my athlete's foot. I used it for about 2 weeks before I started experiencing more burning, peeling and redness.
Is there a home remedy for athlete's foot that won't cause the side effects associated with anti-fungal medications?
New South Wales, Australia - Researchers know that tea tree oil is effective against fungi in the lab...but would it work just as well in the real world? They conducted a double blind study comparing the effectiveness and safety of 25% and 50% tea tree oil on athlete's foot fungus (tinea pedis).
One hundred and fifty eight (158) patients with athlete's foot used either 25%, 50% tea tree oil, or a placebo twice a day for 4 weeks
At the end of the study, researchers discovered:
72% of people using 25% tea tree oil showed an improvement in symptoms.
68% of participant using 50% tea tree oil experienced an improvement in symptoms and there was a 64% cure rate.
Only 39% of the placebo group showed any response and there was only a 31% cure rate.
Additional studies show the active ingredients in some oils may be effectively used against certaing strains of fungi:
Soak your feet in warm water to soften the skin.
Use a pumice stone to help scrape off any dry flaking skin. Apply gentle pressure and try not to break through the skin.
Rinse off feet and dry thoroughly.
Apply a few drops of pure organic tea tree oil on the soles of your feet, between your toes and other areas infected with athlete's foot.
Here's the important part: Don't wipe off the oil. Let it to soak into your skin and allow it to work its antifungal magic on your feet. Let it 'air dry'. This will take about 5 - 10 minutes.
Apply the oil every day.
It may take some time before you notice any improvement.
While there are many over-the-counter products you can use to treat this condition, it may be possible to use natural tree oils to fight fungal infections. If you want to try this home remedy for athlete's foot, you should use only high potency tea tree oils. For best results, I recommend using a 100% tea tree oil that contains a high terpinen-4-ol content. This is the substance primarily responsible for this oil's potent anti-fungal properties.
Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: a randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study. The Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 2002 Aug;43(3):175-8, Tea tree oil and athletes foot study