Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a frustrating, irritating, and often painful condition that can affect anyone—not just athletes! It is caused by fungus growing around your nails, between your toes, and on the bottoms of your feet. This fungus causes the skin to flake, crack, and even blister, and it often comes with a potent, unpleasant odor.
If you’re embarrassed to show your feet because of athlete’s foot, and are tired of painful, itchy patches on the skin, try one of these home remedies to kill the fungus and make your soles smooth, soft, and healthy once again.
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender contains the antiseptic compound alpha-pinene, which is also a strong antifungal. The high concentration of alpha-pinene in lavender oil is particularly effective against athlete’s foot, helping to both kill off existing fungus and prevent new growth. To use, combine 10 drops of lavender oil with 2-3 cups of warm water and soak your feet before bathing. You can use this soak both as a treatment and as a preventative measure to keep athlete’s foot from coming back.
Fungus grows in warm, damp environments, so keeping your feet dry is key to beating athlete’s foot. Cornstarch sucks up moisture around it, making it an easy, natural way to keep your feet from getting too sticky.
After you wash and dry your feet as normal, dust the bottoms and between the toes with cornstarch and then shake off the excess. It will keep sweat and dampness from building up on your skin and lessen the growth of fungus.
3. Tea Tree Oil
The antifungal properties of tea tree oil make it harder for fungus to grow and flourish. Combine two tablespoons of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of olive oil, then rub the mixture into affected areas of your feet. Pay particular attention to your nails and the space between your toes, as fungus often builds up in these areas. The olive oil dilutes the mixture and softens your skin, allowing the tea tree oil to be more effectively absorbed.
4. Proper Washing
Washing your feet plays a huge part in treating and preventing athlete’s foot. Tinea pedis flourishes in unclean environments, so make sure you are thoroughly scrubbing your feet to remove all dirt, grime, and surface fungus. Use hot water, as it will help kill off the fungus and prevent more from growing.
After washing, dry your feet thoroughly, but be careful—athlete’s foot can spread to other parts of your body, especially the mouth, scalp, and groin. Keep a separate towel just for drying your feet so that you do not transfer the fungus, and wash your hands with hot water and soap before touching other parts of your body.
5. Baking Soda
If you have damp or sweaty shoes, they can become a breeding ground for fungus on your feet. This not only smells terrible but can also make it difficult to cure your athlete’s foot. To stop the odor and kill the tinea pedis, sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes when you’re not wearing them. It will absorb both the odor and the moisture.
You can also make a paste of baking soda and water and use it to scrub your feet. This will help slough off dead and peeling skin, killing the fungus in the process. After using the scrub, wash your feet as normal, and be sure to dry them thoroughly.
6. Grapefruit Seed
Grapefruit seed (which is strongly antimicrobial and antifungal) can be used both topically and orally in the fight against athlete’s foot. Grapefruit seed supplements are available in most health food stores and will help fight the presence of yeast and fungus in your body.
You can also treat the skin on your feet with grapefruit seed extract, a liquid made from the seed, pulp, and peel of the grapefruit. Simply rub the extract into the affected areas on your feet and allow it to dry. If you find it irritating, try diluting it with ¼ cup of coconut oil before applying it to your feet.