Athlete’s foot is the most common of all fungal skin infections and can be uncomfortable, painful and itchy. The skin appears unsightly with cracked heals, discolouring in the skin, red and raw patches and peeling of skin. It is a condition that is highly contagious and can spread easily when direct contact is made, or if you are walking barefoot in common areas that are contaminated with the virus. If you wear tight fitting shoes there is a higher chance of athlete’s foot developing.
Athlete’s foot thrives in warm, moist environments which is why it is so common to experience athlete’s foot in the area between the toes. It is important to keep the affected area dry as much as possible, taking extra care after bathing. Keep a box of tissues handy in the shower that you can use to dry the area, rather than a towel, to prevent the infection spreading.
There are many over-the-counter topical anti-fungal ointments available, as well as oral prescription medication to treat athlete’s foot. However as athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection (candida albicans), it is possible to fight the condition with natural formulas.
White vinegar is an age-old remedy to help treat a variety of skin conditions and has powerful anti-fungal properties. Prepare a solution of water and white vinegar. Use one part white vinegar to four parts of water; soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes twice daily. As vinegar is quite acidic always ensure you dilute with the recommended amount of water and never apply the vinegar directly to the area of skin affected by athlete’s foot.
Opposite to white vinegar, baking soda is actually alkaline but does not possess the same anti-fungal properties. However, it is an effective home remedy as it actually stunts the growth of fungus and therefore prevents the virus from spreading. Rub some baking soda directly between your toes and rinse your feet after letting it sit for 20 minutes.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil also has some great antifungal and antibacterial properties and is a natural disinfectant. As it is quite strong, always ensure you dilute with water. You can mix 50/50 oil and water in a small spray bottle and spray between your toes frequently throughout the day. There is no need to rinse this mixture off.
It is recommended you trial only one of the above remedies at a time in order to gauge its effectiveness.
One part vinegar to four parts water
Soak for 20-30 minutes twice daily
Baking soda applied directly to affected area for 20 minutes before rinsing off
Tea tree oil
50/50 tea tree oil to water sprayed onto affected area
1x bottle of white vinegar
1x box of baking soda
1x bottle of tea tree oil (100%)