Complete Guide to Eliminating Fingernail and Toenail Fungus
Three years ago, I noticed my left middle fingernail began turning white instead of its normal healthy pink. I did not know what was going on, but after a few weeks, the entire nail became white and flaky. At first I did not think much of it, but then I started getting regular questions along the lines of “what the heck is wrong with your nail, you freak?” Subsequently, I decided to go to the doctor.
After a short appointment, the doctor told me I had “onychomycosis,” which means nail fungus in regular-person language. He said that I needed to take a medication called Lamisil for two months. That sounded easy enough. But there was a catch: I needed to get a blood test to make sure that my liver could handle the medication.
At that point, since I like my liver, I asked the doctor if I had any other options. I told him I understood the medication was probably more convenient than the other options, but that I would much rather see if I could try a solution that didn’t involve damaging my liver. He told me this was my only option, and that if I did not take the Lamisil, my nail would grow thick and I would get frequent fingernail infections and live with constant fingernail pain. He then wrote me a prescription for Lamisil, using a pen with the Lamisil logo, and I walked out of his office dreading what might happen to my finger if I did not take the drug.
After I picked up the medication, I drove home and googled Lamisil. According to Lamisil’s own website, the pill has a number of side effects. Besides the fact that the drug is tough on your liver, the side effects of Lamisil include:
Headache, which occurred in 12.9% of patients, gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea (5.6%), upset stomach (4.3%), taste disturbances (2.8%), nausea (2.6%), abdominal pain (2.4%), flatulence (2.2%), rash (5.6%), itching (2.8%), hives (1.1%), and abnormalities in laboratory tests of liver enzymes (3.3%).
People who have taken Lamisil have reported a number of other side effects as well. Personally, my life was pretty hellish during my two months on Lamisil. Why? Because I didn’t sleep hardly at all during those two months. The entire time I was on Lamisil my heart was racing. When I tried to lay down in bed I could feel the bed shake because my heart was beating so hard. But nevertheless, I finished my two month medication, in hopes that my fingernail would look better. Alas, even six months after finishing the medication, it looked like this:
My fingernail six months after Lamisil and before vinegar treatment
The medication did me no good. When I finished taking it, I noticed a tiny sliver of pink, healthy nail growing in to my fingernail. However, within a year my entire nail was white again. Thus, I decided to seek out alternatives to Lamisil. It turns out, the doctor who prescribed the medication to me was not entirely honest. There are alternatives to Lamisil, and I found out that at least one of them works extremely well, as long as you’re willing to commit to doing it every day until the fungus is gone.
What This Article is About:
I am writing this article because there is very little information on the internet about how to cure fingernail fungus without resorting to Lamisil. After lots of research, and personal experience, I discovered one solution and have found some other solutions that look promising.
Solution #1: Vinegar. Put vinegar (or Nonyx Gel) on the base of your infected nail (where the nail begins) in the morning, after you shower, and at night until the entire nail is pink and healthy.
I am convinced that I cured my fingernail fungus with this remedy. This remedy consists of applying vinegar or Nonyx gel to the base of your infected nail in the morning, after you shower, and at night, every day until your nail is completely clear. The rationale behind this remedy is that fungus cells can’t stand acidic environments, and vinegar is acidic, so it can stop the fungus from spreading on your nail. Technically, you’re not killing the fungus, you’re just preventing it from growing, and as the nail grows out, the fungus gets clipped off. Here is how my nail looks right now:
My fingernail, almost completely healed after vinegar treatment
I discovered this remedy via a website called Ask Dr Stoll. Basically, Dr. Stoll recommends that people buy distilled white vinegar and use an eye dropper to drop two drops on the base of the nail (where the nail begins), every morning and night. I recommend putting vinegar on your nail every morning, after you shower or get the nail wet in any way, and at night.
The only problem with using simple vinegar is that it easily rolls off your nail and does not soak in very well. Thus, I bought this stuff at the pharmacy called Nonyx. It is essentially vinegar and xanthan gum. I like it because it makes the vinegar into a paste, so you can apply it to your nail, and as long as you don’t rub your nail against stuff, it will dry and the vinegar will have more time to soak in to the nail. After using Nonyx for several months, my nail is almost entirely clear and pink. Instead of dropping vinegar on my finger, I just squeeze out a bit of the Nonyx gel, rub it onto the nail using the tip of the bottle, and go on my way. The only downside of the Nonyx is the bottle is $20, which is a lot for vinegar paste.
If you have toenail fungus (I have that, too), you can put Nonyx on even if you are going to wear socks. After you put the Nonyx on your nails, roll your socks before you put them on so your toes don’t touch any part of the sock except for the part they will touch while you are wearing the sock, then unroll the sock up your foot so the vinegar doesn’t rub against the rest of the sock.
Some people say you need to use an emery board every night to file down your nails and a hair dryer to dry them off to discourage fungal growth. I never did this, although I am sure it helps speed up the process.
Until you have cured the fungus, do your best to keep the nail dry as much as possible. It’s a pain sometimes, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. The fungus likes moisture, so the less moisture you give it, the better. I get it wet in the shower, but try to keep it dry elsewhere.
The one problem with this remedy is that it takes quite a long time to completely cure the fungus. I have spent about five months applying Nonyx to my nail every single day. Based on what I have read online, you need to do this until the nail is completely healed, and you need to do it every day. But if you’re willing to stick to the plan, the results are fantastic.
Solution #2: Soaking in Vinegar/Hydrogen Peroxide, Followed by Soaking in Bleach, Followed by Using a Topical Antifungal Creme, Followed by Filing with an Emery Board.
I discovered this remedy via the Earth Clinic website. Basically, every night, you soak your nails for 20 min in a 50/50 vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, then afterward, soak your nail for a minute in a 3/2 bleach and water solution. After that, you apply a topical antifungal creme, and every once in a while, use an emery board to file down the nail. I tried this remedy, and I was having some success, but it was extremely time consuming and uncomfortable. Plus, I was starting to get bleach burns on my finger from the bleach. If you do this, make sure you do a couple of things. First, don’t soak your finger in bleach for too long – it can really burn. Secondly, always soak in vinegar first… if you soak in bleach first the vinegar burns a lot. Finally, make sure you have a paper towel nearby, because you don’t want to spill vinegar or bleach on the carpet or wipe it on your clothes.
The following are things I tried to do that yielded no results or I gave up on, but might be worth a shot:
- Tea Tree Oil
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Vick’s Vapor Rub
- And check out some of the other Earth Clinic remedies.
If you have personally had any success with fingernail or toenail fungus remedies, please share in the comments.
Please try these remedies at your own risk. I believe that using vinegar to get rid of fungus is safer than using Lamisil, but I am not a doctor. I am only a moderately proficient googler who cares about his liver.
Also, some people tell me there are different kinds of nail fungus, and apparently vinegar might not work on all types of fungus. Therefore, I cannot guarantee any one of these solutions will work.