An ingrown toenail is a common illness in which the side or corner of a toenail grows into the flesh. [1]

This condition is also called onychocryptosis or unguis incarnates. It mostly occurs due to improper trimming, genetic predisposition, wearing tight-fitting shoes, and poor foot hygiene.

An ingrown toenail can be severe as toenail fungus can also be a part of it. That’s why it’s important to get rid of this problem.

There are some natural ways to get rid of ingrown toenails at home. Some essential oils for ingrown toenails can help you treat this painful condition. It’s because these oils contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. Using them may prevent fungal infections, pain, and inflammation in the affected toenail.

7 Essential Oils for Ingrown Toenail

Here are some of the effective essential oils that you may try:

1. Tea Tree Essential Oiltea-tree-oil-for-lipoma

Tea tree essential oil originates from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Australia.

This essential oil is rich in antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Hence, it can inhibit any infections due to ingrown toenails. [2]

A study published in 2003 confirmed the antifungal activities of tea tree oil. This oil can prevent any fungal or bacterial growth in the affected toenail. [3]

2. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil comes from the peppermint plant, a crossbreed between spearmint and water mint. This oil is quite popular for flavoring food.

Menthol is the key component of peppermint oil. It can help soothe the pain and inflammation due to an ingrown toenail.

Peppermint essential oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. These components can protect your toenail from infections.

Research published in 1996 showed the antifungal and antibacterial effects of some essential oils in vitro. Peppermint oil was one of them. [4

3. Thieves Essential OilThieves-oil

Thieves essential oil is a blend of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary essential oils.

This essential oil is rich in anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cytotoxicity properties. It’s because all the essential oils used to create this blend contains these properties.

In a study published in 2010, eucalyptus oil and clove oil helped inhibit COX-2, an enzyme responsible for pain and inflammation in the body. [5]

In another study, rosemary oil showed anti-inflammatory effects on experimental animal models. [6]

Regular use of thieves oil may reduce the pain and inflammation. It may also prevent further infections in your affected toenail.

RELATED: 15+ Fascinating Uses & Benefits of Thieves Oil + Directions

4. Clove Essential Oilclove-oil

Clove essential oil originates from the dried flower buds of the clove (Eugenia caryophyllata).

This essential oil contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the pain due to the ingrown toenails.

A study published in 2017 proved the anti-inflammatory and tissue remodeling ability of clove essential oil. [7]

As ingrown toenails cut the skin and tissue, there can be fungal and bacterial infections. The anti-bacterial properties of clove oil can prevent further infections.[8]

5. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is quite popular due to its versatility. It originates from the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia through steam distillation.

The lavender essential oil can treat any cuts, infections, or pain due to ingrown toenails. It’s because this oil is rich in anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory,  and antiseptic properties.

In a study published in 2016, lavender oil promoted collagen synthesis. It also healed the wound in rats. [9]

RELATED: Lavender Essential Oil for Sleep: How Effective?

6. Eucalyptus Essential OilEucalyptus_Essential_Oil

Eucalyptus oil is extracted from the fresh leaves of the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus).

This essential oil may heal any wound. It’s because when this oil is exposed to the air, the ozone layer formed makes it a strong antiseptic.

In a study published in 2015, eucalyptus oil effectively treated fungal nail infections. [10]

7. Thyme Essential Oilthyme-essential-oil

Thyme essential oil originates from thyme flowers and leaves through steam distillation. The botanical name of thyme is Thymus vulgaris.

This essential oil contains thymol, Linalool, camphene, and carvacrol. These components in thyme oil may destroy the pathogens responsible for fungal infections.

In a study published in 2011, researchers confirmed the antibacterial activities of thyme essential oil. [11

It can prevent bacterial infections caused by ingrown toenails.

How to Use Essential Oils for Ingrown Toenail

You need to consult an expert to learn the best dilution amount and practices of using essential oils for ingrown toenails. Here’s a safe method that may work.

  • Dilute a few drops of any essential oil of your choice with coconut oil.
  • Apply it to the affected toenail using a cotton ball.

Precautions to Follow While Using Essential Oils

The essential oils mentioned here are quite safe to use. But, It is important to maintain some safety measures for the topical application:

  • Always dilute the essential oils with a suitable carrier oil. You can use some of the oils directly if the label says so. But you are recommended to dilute them if you have sensitive skin.
  • Apply a little amount of essential oil to the less sensitive part of your skin. Wait for 3-4 hours. It will help you to know if the essential oil suits you or not.
  • Do consult with a doctor about using essential oils if you are pregnant.
  • If you are allergic to some essential oils, avoid using them.
  • Do not use essential oils on children without asking the doctor.

Causes & Symptoms of Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail occurs when the toenail presses into the skin and continues to grow. It can cause pain and inflammation if the toenail cuts the skin and soft tissues underneath it.

Common reasons behind ingrown toenails include:

The symptoms of this condition may differ from mild to severe based on which stages are they.

The possible symptoms include:

  • Tenderness around the ingrown nails.
  • The build-up of fluid around the affected nails.
  • Extreme pain.
  • Bleeding.
  • Pus is oozing out with an unpleasant odor.
  • Skin overgrowth around the affected toenails.

Severity Stages of Ingrown Toenail

Doctors classified ingrown toenails into three categories based on their severity: stage 1 (mild), stage 2 (moderate), and stage 3 (severe). [1]

Stage 1: You can recognize mild cases of the ingrown toenails by nail-fold swelling, edema, erythema, and pain with pressure.

Stage 2: Moderate cases are characterized by increased swelling and inflamed tissues that produce pus.

Stage 3: In the severe stage, there will be chronic inflammation and continuous oozing of pus. The inflamed tissue will start growing over the nail.

Does Ingrown Toenail Require a Doctor?

Ingrown toenails can be treated at home. But if the essential oils fail to treat the infections and pain, you need to seek medical attention.

Ask for a doctor’s appointment if you see the following symptoms:

  • Your toe becomes red, swollen, warm, and drains pus.
  • Your toenail is very ingrown that you can’t remove it at home. The doctor may need to do minor surgery to remove that part.
  • If you have diabetes, the wound may not heal easily. In that case, you need to see a doctor for proper treatment.

How to Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

You may prevent the ingrown toenail by maintaining some simple rules:

  • Always wear comfortable shoes that fit you.
  • Cut your nails straight. Do not curve the edges.
  • Do not cut your nails too deeply.
  • You can use a toe protector if needed.

Final Word

Ingrown toenails are quite annoying as you may get hurt when you walk or stand.

This condition may occur at any age. You are at high risk to get ingrown toenails if you have diabetes. It’s because diabetes causes poor blood flow to your feet.

Always wear comfortable shoes to prevent ingrown toenails. If you already have it, try to wear open shoes or loose-fitting socks to reduce the pressure on your feet.

After you remove the ingrown toenails, maintain proper hygiene to avoid further infections. You can use some essential oils to get rid of pain and inflammation.

If you find it difficult to remove the ingrown toenails at home, visit a doctor to remove them surgically.

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