Does Epsom Salt Work for Toenail Fungus?
Do you have toenail fungus?
When it comes to problems with skin and nails on your feet, home remedy suggestions abound. And whatever ailment you might have, odds are you’ll find mention of Epsom salt at least once.
Epsom salt is one of those products that gained huge followings for having a variety of purposes—whether proven or not. Some of the more recent substances to gain this form of “fame” are apple cider vinegar and coconut oil.
But is Epsom salt really the trick to clearing up nasty fungal toenails at home? Before we dive into that further, let’s take a closer look at what Epsom salt actually is.
A Salt of the Earth
“Epsom salt” is the more traditional name given to magnesium sulfate. The “Epsom” part comes from Epsom, England, where the salt was originally extracted by boiling down the town’s mineral waters.
The uses of Epsom salts have been widely touted within the fields of medicine, beauty, agriculture, and more. According to the Epsom Salt Council (yes, there is an Epsom Salt Council), potential uses include:
- Soothing aching muscles
- Removing splinters
- Providing itch relief
- Helping plants produce more flowers
- Exfoliating skin
- Adding volume to hair
And much, much more.
Are we in a position to tell you whether Epsom salt will give your peppers more pop in the garden? Not really. But here is a general rule of thumb we feel is worth consideration: the more amazing feats one substance is said to accomplish, the more you should be skeptical whether that substance will do everything people say it does.
Where does that bring us when it comes to Epsom salt and your feet, then?
Does a Little Salt Go a Long Way?
While there is not a lot of scientific data for certain claims surrounding Epsom salt, we are not against someone wanting to use it on their feet. The reasons for this are pretty simple:
- In traditional uses, Epsom salt is harmless. (What we mean is, you are putting it in a foot soak and not trying something like directly grinding it into your feet.)
- A nice, warm foot soak just feels good on its own, especially if you have an ingrown toenail. And if Epsom salt makes it feel even better for you, all the better!
But this brings us back to our original question: does Epsom salt have any effect on toenail fungus?
While scientific review on the matter is lacking, we will not stop you from giving home Epsom salt treatment a try if you want to. One such suggestion that we have mentioned in a past blog involves a few extra ingredients: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide (3%), and white vinegar:
- Mix a half-cup of baking soda, a half-cup of Epsom salt, and a quarter-cup of the hydrogen peroxide in four cups of hot water to make a foot bath.
- Once mixed, add a quarter-cup of white vinegar.
- Soak your feet for about 10 minutes.
- When finished, rinse your feet off and dry them completely.
As we noted, soaking your feet in this matter is likely not going to cause you any harm (although, if for some reason you do feel irritation or pain after soaking, stop doing so right away!). And if it does clear up your toenail fungus, that’s great! But you don’t want to be trying it forever.
Treat Fungal Toenails Sooner than Later
One indisputable fact about toenail fungus is that treating it in its earliest stages will typically yield faster and more satisfying results than once it has had plenty of time to run its course and turn your nails into a thick, yellowed, brittle wasteland.
In fact, the best time to begin treatment is right at the beginning, when a fungal infection might simply look like a bit of white spotting or streaking along the nail. However, it is very easy to pass the sight of this off as just a simple ding against the nail, so we understand why this stage often goes undetected. But keep an eye on things. If it doesn’t go away or it starts to increase in size, give us a call!
The problem comes if you put too much of your time into a home remedy that might not work. At that point, you’re only giving the fungus more time to take root deeper within your nail and make itself harder to eradicate.
Our treatments for toenail fungus are ones that have been proven to have an effect. Some are topical, while others are anti-fungal medications that are taken orally, essentially killing the fungus from the inside out. Each has its pros and cons, and we will determine the best course of treatment depending on the severity of your infection and your individual needs.
Any treatment for toenail fungus takes time, however. Not only does a stubborn infection need to be taken care of, but the damaged nail needs to grow out and be replaced with clear, fresh newness. So if you have a goal of having clearer nails by a certain time or big event, you want to start as soon as possible and you likely want to start with something that’s proven!
If you still want to soak your feet with some Epsom salts, though, go right ahead. Whatever brings joy and a little more assurance to your day.
If you want professional treatment for toenail fungus, call Anderson Foot and Ankle at (801) 269-9939 or fill out the contact form below to reach a member of our staff. Our Salt Lake City office is ready and happy to help!