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Tea Tree Oil For Nail Infections - Does It Work?

Does using tea tree oil for nail infections really help?

Find out what experts know about how effective tea tree oil, the all popular and potent antiseptic liquid, is against the annoying and difficult-to-get-rid-of fungal infections of the nails.


Studies on tea tree oil for nail infections

Here is one particular clinical trial that show that can be effective for fungal nail infections:

Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. Buck DS, Nidorf DM, Addino JG.
J Fam Pract. 1994 Jun;38(6):601-5.

This is a well-designed (double-blinded randomized controlled trial, the "gold-standard") study involving 117 volunteers over several research centers.

The volunteers, who all had fungal nail infections (confirmed by culture) were randomly assigned to either receive the 100% tea tree oil treatment or 1% clotrimazole solution (Canesten solution).


The results?

After 6 months of treatment, the two groups experience similar cure rates.

The researchers concluded that using tea tree for nail infections is an appropriate initial treatment strategy.

As a note, upon follow-up 3 months later, only 50% of the volunteers in each group continued to show improvements. The remaining 50% obviously was not fully cured and their nails infection returned. (This result did not surprise the researchers as they knew that fungal infections of the nail often reappear.)

Some experts may argue, justifiably so, that comparing tea tree oil to clotrimazole is not "fair". Clotrimazole is an "old" anti-fungal drug (by today's standard) and is not a good choice for nail infections.

Today we have Lamisil oral tablets which is highly effective against nail infections.

Although Lamisil tablets work very well, it has significant side effects (i.e. risks to the liver). Moreover, the price tag for a three month treatment (to ensure a good cure rate) is $1,400, enough to give a person a heart attack. Yes, even the best pill takes at least 3 months.


Recommendations - Directions for use

Apply undiluted 100% tea tree oil directly on the fungal infected nail. Apply twice daily using a Q-tip for best results. Leave on and allow the tea tree oil to soak into the nails.

In addition to learning how difficult it is to cure nail infection (especially toenail infections), you'll also master the art of patience throughout this six month period.

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References for Tea Tree Oil for Nail Infections

Revised: August 31, 2019


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