Understand and Treat Fungal Infections on Skin

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng


Fungal infections of the skin can be such a bother, particularly when they are persistent. The most common fungal infections of the skin include athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections. These become especially problematic when secondary infections set in, or when the affected person has diabetes. There are several safe and effective ways to treat fungal infections, and you will be surprised at how of the best remedies are readily available from your own kitchen cupboard.

There are several traditional ways to deal with these infections, and although they may not yield results as speedily as commercial preparations, these remedies are often less toxic and have fewer side effects. Treatments for these skin problems can be expected to take time. Moreover, in some cases, good habits have to be set in place.

Athlete's foot


Athlete's foot or tinea pedis is a fungal infection affecting the skin of the feet. Certain symptoms are indicative of the presence of this fungal infection. The skin of the feet may peel, or crack, or develop blisters. Scaling of the feet may occur, sometimes accompanied by redness, itching, and a burning sensation. The affected areas may be concentrated between the toes (usually the two smallest toes), or the entire sole of the foot, or other parts of the fruit.



Ringworm or tinea corporis is a fungal infection that can appear anywhere in the body. The affected area develops a flat circular reddish sore that is often accompanied by scaly skin. Usually the outer part of the circular infection is raised and reddish or scaly while the middle appears normal.

Yeast infections


Yeast infections of the skin are actually caused by candida, a yeast-like fungus. This infection is manifested by red, scaling, itchy rash on the skin. The infection may appear as a rash, as patches that ooze with clear fluid, or as tiny boils. Usually, the fungus affects moist, warm, creased skin such as that found in the armpits and the groin. It is common among obese people and diabetics. However, the mouth, the genitals, and the nail beds can also be affected by so-called yeast infections

When a fungal infection hits the nail bed, the nail growing out may appear white or yellowish and spongy. It may also grow away from the nail bed. A fungal infection affecting the mouth is commonly referred to as oral thrush. It is recognizable by the appearance of white patches on the inside of the mouth and the tongue. When the female genitalia are affected by a yeast infection, the symptoms include redness, itching, and a yellowish discharge.

Jock itch

Jock itch or tinea cruris consists of a fungal infection that is usually found in warm, moist skin. The areas frequently affected by this infection are the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. Infections usually worsen during summer months. These are characterized by redness, itching, and the presence of circular rashes, and by flaking or peeling skin.

Usual Causes of Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are generally caused by one or a combination of several factors. These include:

  • Use of antibiotics. Sometimes the use of antibiotics causes an imbalance in the microorganisms in the human body. This leads to the excessive growth of fungi.
  • Diabetes. This creates an environment that nurtures the growth of fungi in the body.
  • Contamination. Infection can take place through sharing of linen and clothes, utensils, shoes, or bath slippers.
  • Tight clothing. The use of tight-fitting clothes may make an individual more prone to infection.
  • Flawed hygienic measures. People can get infected if they neglect to wash hands regularly, put on socks when their feet are not dry, or do not allow their clothes and towels to dry properly.
  • Weak immune system. Individuals with a weak immune system are more prone to fungal infections.

Home Remedies

The treatment for fungal infections will depend on the specific type of fungi and the body part affected. Most home remedies for fungal infections are easy to assemble and apply. Here are some of them:

  1. 1
    Tea tree oil
    Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in mineral oil at a ratio of one part tea tree oil to three parts mineral oil. Wash the affected area and dry thoroughly. Apply the mixed oil using cotton buds. Discard any extra. (This is not to be applied on delicate areas.)
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  2. 2
    Mince a large onion clove until very fine. Wrap in mesh-like cloth and press to release all juice. Rub over affected skin gently. (This is not to be applied on delicate areas.) This is also effective for treating regular ringworm and fungal infections of the skin on the scalp. Part hair and apply on affected area. You can also puree the raw garlic to create a strong paste. Using a clean cotton ball, apply to affected area three times daily.
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  3. 3
    Garlic and olive oil
    Puree 4 garlic cloves and mix with 2/3 cup olive oil. Saturate an unscented facial tissue with the mixture and wipe over jock itch two hours before taking a shower.
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  4. 4
    Lemon juice
    Take a cotton ball and saturate it with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apply to affected areas a few hours before taking a shower. (This is not to be applied on delicate areas.)
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  5. 5
    Fill a basin or pail with about 3-4 inches of vinegar
    Soak feet for at least 30 minutes to resolve nail fungus or athlete's foot.
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  6. 6
    Puree a large knob of turmeric or ginger and mix it with enough water to create a paste
    Paint over affected areas, wrap with bandage and leave on for half an hour. If possible, do this three times a day.
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  7. 7
    Raw papaya
    Slice an unripe papaya and rub the inner side of the peel on affected areas. Do this three times a day for a week.
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  8. 8
    Saturate a piece of cotton with pure mouthwash and wipe affected areas two to three times a day.
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  9. 9
    Apple cider
    Rinse your feet with apple cider vinegar three times a day. When you launder your socks and your underwear, soak them in a solution made of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water. Let stay for at least an hour before washing.
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  10. 10
    Baking soda
    Make a paste consisting of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon water. Gently rub this over affected area, allowing it to dry. Rinse off after about 30 minutes.
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  11. 11
    Dissolve five regular strength or 10 low-dose aspirin in half a cup of water. Apply to clean, dry skin as a disinfectant. Repeat three times for three to four days until symptoms disappear.
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  12. 12
    Turmeric and coconut oil
    Use 2 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons of turmeric to create a paste. Apply on affected areas two to three times daily.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Traditional health practitioners advise their patients to avoid coffee and to instead drink teas made of ginger or chamomile. It is believed that both teas help keep the body balanced so that it is better able to fight fungal infections.
  • In addition to this, patients who are trying to treat their fungal infections are advised to sanitize their surroundings, change their bedding daily, and make sure their clothes (especially underwear and towels) are regularly laundered and dried well.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Skin Care & Diseases

Recent edits by: Lynn, Nerissa Avisado

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