Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a contagious fungal infection that usually occurs due to chronically sweaty feet in confined, poorly ventilated, or tight-fitting shoes.
It usually begins in between the toes, and other symptoms include itchiness, a scaly rash, dry skin, and a burning sensation.
The infection can spread to toenails and hands.
Athlete’s foot is transmissible via skin to skin contact, and it’s possible to get it from public swimming pools and locker rooms.
Treating athlete’s foot with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal sprays and ointments is usually recommended.
If you’re looking for natural home remedies as a first-response option, then also consider essential oils.
Many essential oils contain potent antifungal properties that can help treat various fungal infections such as jock itch and even ringworm.
Essential Oils As A Natural Remedy
Essential oils (EOs) are highly concentrated plant extracts that are believed to help treat several health conditions when used correctly.
They contain active compounds that offer multiple health benefits while supporting the body’s healing mechanisms.
Research shows EOs can be capable of:
- Relieving pain and discomfort
- Soothing eczema and other skin conditions
- Boosting the immune system
- Treating colds, coughs, sinus infections, and sore throats
- Addressing allergy symptoms
- Soothing headaches and migraines
- Treating warts
- Healing bug bites
- Treating hemorrhoids
- Soothing arthritis symptoms
- Helping sunburns and skin burns
Aromatherapy, a form of complementary and alternative medicine, involves the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes.
Specific antifungal essential oils like tea tree oil can help naturally address athlete’s foot symptoms.
The Best Essential Oils for Athlete’s Foot
These essential oils all contain antifungal properties:(1)
- Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Thyme oil (Thymus vulgaris)
- Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita)
- Clove oil (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare)
- Lemon oil (Citrus limon)
They’re also known to be anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.
Peppermint essential oil also acts as a potent pain reliever that, thanks to its high content of menthol, provides a cooling and soothing effect that can help relieve itching.
Other EOs that can benefit athlete’s foot are geranium, lemongrass, and lavender oil.
Always choose high-quality, certified organic and therapeutic grade products to avoid diluted batches and the addition of potentially harmful chemicals.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate EOs, so it’s essential to only use the highest-quality products for medicinal purposes.
EOs usually offer little to no adverse side effects when administered with caution and care.
When used topically for athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, EOs must always be diluted in a carrier oil to prevent skin irritation and reactions.
It’s advisable to perform a patch test on a non-affected area of the skin and wait 24 hours to confirm that there is no allergic reaction.
If you experience any adverse reaction to any oil, discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare provider.
Be aware of the contraindications for each oil you use as some EOs aren’t suitable for young children or pregnant or nursing women.
How To Use EOs for Athlete’s Foot
As mentioned, always dilute EOs in a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil when applying it directly to your skin.
Stick at 2-3 drops of EO per teaspoon of carrier oil.
Coconut oil is a good choice athlete’s foot as it’s also antifungal and antibacterial.
Apply this EO lotion at least twice a day to the affected area.
DIY Essential Oil Blend For Foot Soak
Fill a large bowl with hot or warm water.
You want the bowl to be large enough that you can comfortably soak your both feet thoroughly in the water.
Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes at least once a day.
Add the following to create your healing foot bath:
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- 5 drops oregano essential oil
- 5 drops clove essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil