Mycotic infections are very common. Fungi are responsible for various infections: interdigital of the feet, thrush, vaginal or digestive mycosis, mycosis of the nail, mycosis of the scalp (tinea). You can find a natural solution to fight skin fungus naturally thanks to the benefits of essential oils. In this article we discuss the mycosis of nails or cutaneous, and will speak about the oral and vaginal mycosis in another post.
What is a mycosis?
Fungal infections are related to the development of microscopic fungi, parasites that can affect the surface of the skin, the nails or the scalp. Local treatments are often sufficient to get rid of them. The most common form is foot fungus. This contagious infection requires a lot of patience once the fungus has developed in the nail.
Symptoms: A skin mycosis usually appears on the toes or in the skin folds (groin or under the breasts). At first, it appears as a simple red spot. Then the skin starts to turn grey-white and peel. When this first lesion heals, the fungus spreads gradually in a circular shape.
If some people regularly contract fungal infections, others never have them because a genetic background can predispose them to this type of infection. On the other hand, some
- diseases (cancer, AIDS, diabetes) or
- activities (sports or professional)
- drug treatments (such as antibiotics or cortisone-based treatments)
- endocrine diseases (diabetes in particular), an immune deficiency, a pregnancy
can favour the occurrence of mycoses
These microscopic fungi can be classified into 3 groups:
– Dermatophytes, filamentous fungi that come from the environment (soil, dust, earth, animals…). They do not normally exist on the skin
– Yeasts, especially fungi of the genus Candida. These small microscopic fungi exist in a normal state in the body (digestive tract and genital mucosa of women). They can cause mycosis (candidiasis) when the body is weakened (increased sweating, micro-lesions or treatment with corticoids, for example).
– Mould-like fungi that do not cause foot fungus.
Foot mycosis or “athlete’s foot”
Foot fungus is also called “athlete’s foot”. Indeed, they are most frequently found in athletes who use shoes and socks in which heat and humidity are present. It is rare in young children.
Places at risk: swimming pools, showers, saunas, changing rooms in sports halls or clubs, beauty salons, beaches, contact with pets, etc…
At the level of the feet, we can distinguish 2 types of mycosis:
– on hairless skin: It is a mycosis that starts between the 4th and 5th toe (in 90% of cases), where heat and humidity are at their highest. The infection can spread to the sole of the foot, the back of the foot and the spaces between the other toes. There are red areas on the foot and sometimes small fluid-filled bubbles. These lesions are usually very itchy and can also precede and/or be accompanied by nail fungus.
– on nails: rare in children but very common in young adults and seniors.
It mainly affects adults. Fungus is most often present on the toenails but also on the fingernails. It is often secondary to a foot fungus or a hand fungus.
Candida albicans: This is the main yeast involved. It penetrates the nail at the junction between the skin and the nail bed. The mycosis starts with an attack on the tissues around the nail and then on the nail. These tissues are swollen, red and painful, letting out a clear liquid.
- thickening of the nail: it becomes brittle,
- change in the colour of the nail: it becomes from whitish to yellowish,
- detachment and splitting,
- itching and bad odour.
Hand mycosis can be due to:
- a dermatophyte during self-contamination when scratching a foot fungus;
- Candida albicans type fungus (hand candidiasis): in this case, it mainly concerns professions requiring the wearing of gloves or frequent contact with water.
The lesions include inflammatory lesions with red borders, scaling, thickening of the skin…
Skin mycoses on the limbs, face, neck and trunk
1/ Cutaneous mycosis of folds
Skin mycoses are frequently found in the folds:
- of the groin,
- between the buttocks,
- under the armpits,
- under the breasts in women,
- in the wall of the abdomen in case of overweight
They are due to dermatophytes and often to Candida albicans and very favoured by humidity and maceration.
- red, oozing fold
- cracks and yellowish deposit with burning sensation, even sometimes causing pain
- forms red patches
2/ Cutaneous mycosis not related to folds
They appear on hairless areas of the skin (on the limbs, face, neck and trunk) and are caused by dermatophytes.
- circular red granular patches often in the shape of rings with a red border and a lighter centre
- sometimes bubbles or crusts…
- these lesions extend from the centre to the periphery.
Mycoses of the scalp or ringworm
Ringworm is caused by the colonisation of the scalp by a dermatophyte, most often transmitted between human beings.
- hairless areas in the form of large, poorly defined patches 1 to 3 cm in diameter
- presence of broken hair a few millimeters from the skin.
- Crusty lesions scattered on the scalp
The most common skin mycoses in children
- Nappy rash in babies (cutaneous candidiasis); it can be colonized by a fungus (genus candida albicans) in the absence of early care.
- chronic inflammation of the skin around the nail of a thumb-sucking child: the area around the nail is red, swollen and the skin around the nail is peeling off.
- Scalp fungus or ringworm.
How an EO destroys these fungi
EOs cause irreversible damage to the fungi and block the energy production of the yeast. This is what leads to their destruction, without any side effect to the person.
3 EO to fight mycoses
Tea tree essential oil, the indispensable anti-mycosis
It is an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal oil. It is by far one of the best essential oils against viruses, bacteria and fungi (mycosis = fungi).
Its high percentage of terpinene-4-ol (30 to 48%)
- Makes it a broad-spectrum antifungal agent
- Destroys the fungi that cause mycosis
- Inhibits fungal growth
- alters the development of spores (reproductive cell)
Palmarosa, the antimycotic of choice to prevent the proliferation of fungi
Mainly known for its antibacterial properties, Palmarosa EO is anti-infectious and antimycotic thanks to its geraniol molecules (66 to 84%). It fights with great effectiveness the mycoses of cutaneous origin and of the nail.
Noble laurel, one of the most effective
Mycoses are one of its specialities, but beware, Laurel essential oil is very powerful and must be used only in weak doses and for rather short duration. It can also be allergenic in sensitive people.
1,8-cineole is present in great quantity (35 to 45%), as well as the alpha terpineol and the alpha pinene that are active on the fungi, in particular the Candida albicans yeast. This is the one at the origin of nail and hand mycoses.
Noble Laurel essential oil will therefore be more specific for the mycoses of the nails of hands whereas Tea Tree essential oil will be more specific for the mycoses of the feet.
Lavender, to repair skin tissue damaged by fungi
Like tea tree essential oil, it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It helps to eliminate the fungi responsible for nail fungus while regenerating the nail thanks to its healing and skin regenerating properties. By combining tea tree EO with lavender EO, the result is visible more quickly, the nail grows back strong and healthy.
If you have one of these 3 EO (tea tree, palmarosa or laurel): pour 1 drop in 1 drop of VO on the affected area 2 to 3 times a day.
From 3 months onwards, and for pregnant women over 3 months: 1 drop in 9 drops of VO, morning and evening after having well cleaned the affected area. Not for longer than 3 consecutive weeks. Make a pause of one week before starting again.
Precautions: Perform a skin test before application – Do not overdose – Not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 6 years and asthmatics. Do not apply any essential oil on the anus or genital zones. These sensitive zones of the body can be irritated, even sometimes burnt… when in their contact. In case of doubt, consult your doctor.
All properties and uses do not constitute medical advice. For therapeutic use, consult a physician.
Essential oils recipes to fight mycoses
Nail fungus : (complete synergy for adults)
Usage: dermal (cutaneous) application
Apply 2 to 3 drops of the mixture on the nail condition, twice a day (morning and evening) until the mycosis disappears completely. Take a break after three weeks of use before reapplying.
Note: These essential oils are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal oils particularly effective (they must be diluted before application). Argan VO is a very fine oil that penetrates the skin very quickly.
This recipe can be used with children as soon as they are about 12 years old.
Precautions: these recipes are not suitable for pregnant women. Caution for people with epilepsy and asthma
Antifungal skin care oil *
||2. Pour 2 drops of the mixture in one teaspoon of VO|
||3. Massage the affected areas 3 times a day for a maximum of 15 days.|
* by Françoise Couic-Marinier, pharmacist and aromatherapist
Foot (and hand) bath against mycoses
- 15 drops of tea tree EO
- 10 drops of palmarosa EO
- 60 drops (2 ml) of dispersant for essential oils
- 1 litre of hot water
Soak your feet in a basin for 20 to 30 minutes and your hands for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat the operation twice a week in addition to the other treatment.
Shoe spray against fungi and mycoses
- 30 drops of tea tree EO
- 15 drops of Nobel laurel or oregano EO
- 120 drops (4 ml) of essential oil dispersant (solubol)
- 200 ml sterilised water
Preparation: Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray the inside of your shoes. Shake well before each use. This spray eliminates the fungi responsible for mycosis as well as bad odours.
Usage: every day, preferably at night.
Daily tips to avoid nail mycoses
Applying EOs on a mycosis proves to be very effective. It should not be forgotten that it is necessary to respect a good hygiene to avoid the mushrooms returning:
- Use your own towels, scissors, socks and do not wear other people’s shoes or slippers.
- Don’t walk barefoot in public places.
- Wear cotton socks if possible.
- Wear open shoes in summer to avoid perspiration is also recommended.
- When coming out of the shower, dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes.
- If suffering from excessive foot perspiration, use a deodorant for feet to avoid the proliferation of fungi.
- If a family member has a nail or foot mycosis, wash all socks and towels at 60C to kill the fungi.
- Do not scratch any lesion to avoid the mycosis to spread.
- Keep your toenails short and clean to ensure protection of a fungal contamination.
- A shower or bath surface disinfectant should be used after each usage.