Nail fungus is very common, affecting toenails more often than fingernails. Thirty years ago or so, doctors often advised their patients to ignore toenail fungus. They would point out that, although they look ugly, infected toenails are rarely harmful. Yet many people still would like to have fungus-free toenails, and in the intervening years, drug companies have developed quite a few medications to treat the problem. Sometimes they work; sometimes, however, people have just as much luck with a home remedy.
Staying on Your Toes:
Q. I am a former dancer who spent a lot of time on pointe. Most of us damaged our nail beds and developed nail fungus.
Living in Florida, I was ashamed to wear sandals because of my nasty nails. I had tried prescription pills and many topicals with no lasting results. I started applying Vicks VapoRub twice a day, and in a few months, I started seeing healthy nails. Years later, my toenails still look great and are still fungus-free.
Vicks for Fungus-Free Toenails:
A. Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol, cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil. Researchers have found that camphor, menthol, thymol and oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective against a range of organisms that can cause toenail fungus (Ramsewak et al, Phytotherapy Research, April 2003). That might help explain your success.
There has even been a small clinical trial of Vicks VapoRub for nail fungus. The investigators reported that 15 of 18 volunteers got benefit (Derby et al, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Jan-Feb. 2011). Nurses caring for people with AIDS have suggested that this treatment option could be cost-effective for their patients with nail fungus (Snell et al, Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, Jan-Feb. 2016).
Other Nail Fungus Remedies:
There are a number of other unconventional home remedies that people have used to clear the fungus from their nails. They include soaking the toes in an apple cider vinegar solution, splashing hydrogen peroxide on the nails daily or even applying a liniment containing hot pepper.