Listerine and toenail fungus is certainly not new, but it has been given such a hyped report recently. If you came from the home remedies homepage link then you may have a sneaky suspicion about this toenail fungus “cure”.
Now what we have here is a liquid, water if you will containing chemicals that do a certain job. It’s job it to clean the teeth and to fight in-mouth problems.
If you are using 'terine for toenail fungus we need to figure out what is actually being put onto your foot. There are actually more non-medical ingredients than medical, mainly stopping the medical ingredients from tasting bad, to stop the ingredients interacting with one another and keeping the whole contents sustainable. The prime ingredients that help your mouth are:
Eucalytol- can reduce pain and inflammation when applied direct to the area of concern. Also adds a “kinda-spicy” flavor to the wash.
Thymol- An antimicrobial agent that can be found in a lot of medical compounds- it can be classed as an anti-septic.
Sodium Fluoride- The Fluoride agent is the key. many reports state that Fluoride help with teeth and oral health- in certain concentrations.
Menthol- Produces a cooling sensation- without changing temperature.
It’s Kinda Funny But The Mouth Wash Also Did This
I don’t know if you are familiar with the Freakanomics books, but they are a very interesting account of what we perceive of life, put in black and white- no grey
What they found in their research into marketing was that Listerine was actually created in the 1800s as a surgical antiseptic.
Interestingly it was later changed with and then sold as a floor cleaner and a cure for Gonorrhea. But it never truly caught on until the 1920s when it was changed again and used as a bad breath cure. They technically “invented” bad breath and sales of Listerine soared.
Ermmm…So Can I Use It For My Fungus Toenails Then?
When you take a step back you realize that the actual medicaments that are within Listerine are topical to skin.
Toenails have a barrier to the nail, its that shine that you can see- so no water can penetrate it. However the fungus destroys that shine- but the fungus does not reside where the nail has been destroyed- it is further down the nail. Over time, the nail gets harder and thicker, in essence and accidentally, protecting the fungus from attack.
So when you put your foot or splash over the colourful liquid onto your fungus toenails, you do very little.
But how about if I wash my feet and let my feet soak for 30mins plus? That would cause many problems to your skin in the long term. The chemicals in Listerine were not meant for prolonged exposure. Eucalyptol for example, is toxic at higher doses when ingested- but how about if it is absorbed through the skin, if it can be?
Also your nails can not get that soggy to allow penetration of the Listerine into the areas where it is needed.
Also cost. How many bottles are you really going to go through? One two per day, one a week? that can add up in cost. And to make anything effective in regard to your nails they need months of care- which I would never do with a soak.
It Has Been Effective In Other Areas Though…
Listerine and toenail fungus does not work. But what it does take care of and quite well (if you listen to some of our patients who have tried it) is reducing Athletes Foot.
Athletes Foot is very common and usually goes hand in hand with fungus toenails. Athletes Foot is identified by reness, itching, inflammation and irritation of the skin due to a fungus. The same fungus that is in your toenails.
So when the cooling, antispetic and antimicrobial agents of Listerine are applied to the feet then you tend to find that Athletes foot does actually clear up.
So why aren’t Professionals advising about this. Well they shouldn’t really because that is not the intended use of Listerine and also there are much better ways to get rid of Athletes Foot (creams) anyway and would cost a lot less and do a better job.
But for larger areas of Athletes Foot creams might not work as effectively, so patients resort to other methods like this one.
When they see the Athletes Foot disappear, then they automatically assume that it is doing the same to the nails…but it doesn’t.
The medical information on the ldfootcare.com web site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
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Hi. I'm Dominic. I treat patients every day at a local clinic. I am a trained Chiropodist and I care about prevention. I designed the website to help readers understand treat and even prevent issues from happening to their feet.