Most people tend to suffer from fungal infections at least once in their lifetime. Lack of good hygiene, humid weather, and a warm climate are major causes of fungal infections. Jock itch, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, and oral thrush are some of the commonly found fungal infections. Another common type of fungal infection in humans is the ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. Therefore, as it’s so common everywhere, it’s important that we know how to treat fungal infections at home.
A fungus is a germ ranging from being tiny and hardly visible to being big as a mushroom. Usually, they are found present all around us and don’t cause any problems as such. It’s only when we are in a moist, damp environment with no fresh air that the fungus present on our skin multiplies and grows uncontrollably, causing itchy skin infections. These infections can be treated with tablets or creams.
Occasionally, fungi may cause more severe infections, particularly when you’re already ill. In such cases, it’s essential that you see specialist know-how to cure fungal infection on the skin naturally.
What is a Fungal Infection?
Also called onychomycosis, fungal infections occur due to poor hygiene, high pollution, and humidity. One could be suffering from skin fungus in any part of the body, ranging from an oral rush to toenail fungus. The infection can cause redness, inflammation or crumble of the dermis.
Ignoring and neglecting body fungus can cause harmful consequences. Studies have shown that in 2017, over 300 million people were infected with serious fungal diseases. Out of this, over 1.7 million patients were at the risk of being killed by the infection.
Fungi live everywhere but thrive in a warm, moist environment. As a result, fungal skin infections develop in damp or sweaty areas which do not get enough airflow. Examples include the groin, feet, or folds of skin. Very often, these infections either cause discolouration of the skin or appear as a scaly rash that is very itchy. Though the infection can be uncomfortable and annoying, it doesn’t necessarily have to be serious.
Some fungal skin infections are very common. Although the infection can be annoying and uncomfortable, it’s typically not serious. And if one knows how to treat fungal infections at home, it becomes manageable.
Fungal skin infections spread through coming in direct contact. This may include encountering fungi on clothing or other personal items, either on a person or any animal.
How to Cure Fungal Infection on Skin Naturally
Many fungi that cause these infections are largely resistant to antibiotics and other forms of medications. Fungal infections are often hard to treat and might take a while to vanish completely. Although you can easily find over-the-counter medicines and antifungal ointments in the market, most fungal skin infections can be cured with home remedies. Let’s see how to cure fungal infection on the skin naturally at home:
1. Use Tea Tree Oil
This is an antifungal and antibacterial portion that offers quick results. Mix this herbal potion with any carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Once the mixture is ready, carefully apply it over the infected area. Tea tree oil is known to stimulate the growth of new cells and hence, holds promise. Make sure you apply the mixture only on the damaged area of your skin, as the careless application might allow the fungus to spread.
2. Apply Honey
Raw honey is well-known for its amazing healing properties. Unpasteurised honey effectively kills bacteria and fungus as it naturally contains antiseptic hydrogen peroxide. To treat the infected spot on your skin, apply a tablespoon of honey to that region. Not only is it necessary to follow the correct remedy, but even the way the remedy is used affects the rate of recovery
3. Use Coconut Oil
Coconut is another effective ingredient for skin care and healing ailments. An age-old remedy for curing skin infections, coconut oil has antifungal properties which kill fungal cells. Coconut oil, in its unheated form, is a potent antifungal agent. You can easily apply it over the infected skin area, thus making it a safe topical medicine. As it’s without any side effects and is easy on the skin, it is effective for treating scalp ringworm as well. Use it thrice a day for the best results.
4. Use Turmeric
If you are thinking, ‘how can I treat fungal skin infection naturally,’ then turmeric is the answer to that question as it’s the most commonly used remedy for any skin ailment. This spice has effective antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix it with some amount of water and apply it to the infected area. For benefits in the internal body environment, have it with warm water or rather have turmeric tea. This is the easiest home remedy for fungal infections as turmeric is found in the kitchens of all Indian households.
Another very potent antifungal and antimicrobial herb is garlic. Those who have it as part of their diet are less susceptible to contracting fungal infections. Make a paste by crushing a handful of garlic pieces and mixing that with olive oil. Apply on the infected region for 30 minutes. Garlic helps treat ringworm, Candida, Trichophyton, Torulopsis, and Cryptococcus.
6. Neem Leaves
Scientifically known as Azadirachta indica, neem is a powerful fungal infection cure. Some researchers even claim it to be the ultimate remedy. It has antifungal and natural detoxifying properties, which helps eliminate pathogens and dermophytes from the skin. Boil a handful of leaves and drink that water or apply them as a paste by thoroughly mashing them. For more effective results, neem water can be used when bathing.
7. Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is commonly used for soothing the skin. It is considered one of the best natural home remedies for skin ailments and is an excellent healing agent for various fungal infections. Due to its antiseptic nature, aloe vera kills fungus and bacteria. It can also slow down the growth of yeast.
8. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
This acidic ingredient is an effective home remedy for fungal infections, rich in nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus and filled with antibacterial and antifungal properties. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar slow down fungal growth, thus treating your infections quickly and effectively. Apple cider vinegar can be used in multiple ways to ward off fungal infections. Mix 2 tablespoons in warm water and drink it or dip a cotton ball in it and dab that over your skin. Doing this thrice a day will produce beneficial results.
9. Consume Yoghurt
Yoghurt and other probiotics contain a considerable amount of good bacteria, which help keep fungal infections at bay. These fight microbes that cause such infections. Another great source of probiotics is fermented food. But in case these aren’t working, you can take probiotic supplements which have a concentrated dosage of good bacteria.
10. Use Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass is another ingredient laden with excellent antimicrobial properties. Mix lemongrass oil with a carrier oil and dab it gently on the affected area with a cotton ball or swab twice a day for best results.
What Causes Fungal Infections on Skin?
Several factors can expose you to the risk of developing a fungal skin infection. Some of these factors are:
- If you’re living in a warm and moist environment
- If you sweat excessively
- If you don’t keep your skin clean and dry
- If you share personal items such as clothes, footwear, bedding, or towels
- By wearing tight clothing or shoes that do not breathe well
- By participating in activities that involve skin-to-skin contact
- By coming into contact with infected animals
- If you have a weak immune system because of illnesses such as HIV, immunosuppressant drugs, or chemotherapy treatment.
While we have already discussed how to cure fungal infection on the skin naturally, keep the following tips in mind to prevent the infection from developing:
- Make sure that you practice good hygiene.
- Avoid sharing clothes, towels, undergarments, or other personal items.
- Be sure to change your clothes every day, especially underwear and socks.
- Do not wear clothing and footwear that are too tight or have a restrictive fitting. Choose clothes and shoes that breathe well.
- After showering or swimming, dry yourself properly with a clean, dry towel.
- Wear flip-flops or sandals in the locker room instead of walking around barefoot.
- Wipe them thoroughly before sitting on shared surfaces such as mats or gym equipment.
- Maintain your distance from animals that show signs of fungal infection, such as frequent scratching or missing fur.
Fungal skin infections have become very common. Though these infections usually aren’t of serious concern, they can cause a lot of discomfort due to itchy, scaly red skin. If not treated on time, the rash can spread and cause more irritation to the skin.
A lot of OTC medications are available for treating and curing fungal skin infections. But if you have an infection that isn’t improving with OTC products, you must consult a doctor to know how to naturally cure fungal infection on the skin. You might need a prescription as well for efficacious treatment.
- Arunaloke Chakrabarti, 2008; Overview of opportunistic fungal infections in India - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18689964/
- Dr Oliver Starr, March 2018; Fungal Infections - https://patient.info/infections/fungal-infections
- Mayo Clinic, Ringworm (body) - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ringworm-body/symptoms-causes/syc-20353780