1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV for short) is one natural remedy that I shout quite a lot about here at A.Vogel Talks Fungal Skin Infections, and that’s for good reason. It’s antibacterial and antifungal, so it’s ideal for combating a fungal overgrowth, whether it’s internally or externally. It also helps that these benefits are backed up by research.
A recent study found that mildly diluted ACV could help prevent the growth of the candida yeast.1 Since this particular type of yeast is responsible for many fungal infections, this is a really positive feature of ACV.
You can take apple cider vinegar in a variety of ways: some people prefer to swallow a small amount each day; some would rather dilute it with water and apply to the affected area. Just make sure you choose a reliable, high quality, organic brand, like Braggs, and be aware that, if your symptoms don’t improve within a week, you may need to speak to your doctor.
2. Plain yoghurt
Plain yoghurt is full of live bacteria cultures, particularly the lactobacillus strain. This is important as this friendly bacteria can help to regulate the environment in your gut, preventing the small of amount of candida yeast that live there from overpopulating. It does this by releasing hydrogen peroxide, a compound that can kill the candida yeast.2 In fact, one study found that plain yoghurt could be more effective than a popular antifungal cream.3
If you’re going to try this remedy, though, there are a few key things to bear in mind. By plain yoghurt, I mean unflavoured yoghurt that is organic and completely free of sweeteners. If you apply anything other than this, you might end up doing more harm than good! Make sure that once you’re finished with this remedy, you wash it off thoroughly – nobody wants old yoghurt lingering for too long on their skin!
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is naturally antiseptic and antifungal, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s popular in the cosmetic industry. While studies thus far have been inconclusive about the benefits when it comes to fungal skin infections, there have been a few promising signs.
For example, there was a randomised control study conducted on sufferers of Athlete’s foot that produced positive results. Here, participants were split into groups: those who took 20% tea tree oil concentrations, those that took 50%, and a placebo control group. Compared to the control group, those that used tea tree oil found that after a month, their symptoms improved by 70% compared to the 40% noted by the control group.4
When taking tea tree oil, try to mix a couple of drops with a carrier oil like coconut oil as applying this directly to your skin is not advised and could cause some extreme irritation.
Is there nothing that turmeric can’t do? This vividly coloured root has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries but it’s only recently that people have caught on to the spice’s potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
A study looking at the widespread potential of turmeric’s antiviral and antifungal qualities found that curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, was effective not just against the Candida species, but also against various fungi.5
If you are going to try turmeric then, like tea tree oil, make sure you mix it with a carrier oil like coconut oil first. Don’t be surprised if this paste initially gives your skin a yellow stain – this should diminish after washing.
5. Cranberry juice
Our Women’s Health Advisor Emma often recommends cranberry juice when it comes to supporting your bladder health due to its antibacterial properties. However, studies have found that cranberry juice could possess some antifungal benefits too.
It’s thought that cranberry juice may inhibit the production of yeast and one study in particular certainly seems to support this idea. There, cranberry juice was found to exert a significant antifungal influence on eight different species of dermatophytes (fungus), although it did not impact the Candida albicans strain.6
Interesting! If you do want to try cranberry juice, please be aware that often, it is full of added sugars. It might be best to opt for an organic brand like Biotta. Their Wild Mountain Cranberry Juice is completely free from refined sugars and is actually fermented, meaning that it contains plenty of gut-friendly L+ lactic acid. This would be a purely internal remedy so please do not attempt to apply to your skin.
A smelly solution, but one that can be effective! Garlic has known antifungal properties which makes it a popular natural remedy for fungal skin infections. It can also work to support your immune system too, so this is definitely an added bonus!
You can always use your diet to increase your garlic intake or try taking a supplement like Allicin Max. If you are determined to use this topically, though, then try crushing a few cloves and applying to the affected area.
7. Coconut oil
I’ve already mentioned coconut oil several times in this list, so here I’m going to shed a proper spotlight on it. Coconut oil, as most of you are probably aware, is a great source of healthy fatty acids and vitamin E. That’s why the substance is so popular in the skincare industry already – it’s extremely nourishing and soothing for dry, sensitive skin.
When it comes more directly to fungal skin infections, coconut oil is naturally antifungal and studies thus far have produced positive results. One trial, conducted in 2015, found that mice fed coconut oil experienced a 10-dolf drop in the fungus C. albicans, plus the substance was found to produce very few negative side effects.7 Although more human-based trials are needed, so far things seem to be going the right way.
Now, as with cranberry juice and everything else, quality really matters here. You really want to opt for extra virgin, 100% pure, organic coconut oil to get the best results possible. You can use this topically when coconut oil is in its liquid stage (try warming gently first and apply once it has cooled down) and apply gently to the affected area.
8. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is often used in skincare creams and lotions and this is because this plant is rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties! Studies have even found that it may give your production of collagen a boost, so this is something definitely worth bearing in mind when it comes to ageing skin.
If you have a fungal skin infection, though, then this ingredient can help to inhibit the growth of yeast spores as it contains compounds capable of combating the Candida albicans strain. This is especially useful when you combine this antifungal action with the benefits that aloe vera can have for the digestive system. This helps to prevent constipation and a build-up of waste products within the body that could negatively impact your gut environment.
Spilanthes is a herb that’s traditionally used when it comes to oral problems and fungal skin infections. This is because studies have found that the herb possesses potent antimicrobial and antifungal properties which can make it an effective treatment.9 Here at A.Vogel, we do offer a spilanthes tincture that could be useful, although we recommend taking it in tandem with our Molkosan prebiotic.
10. Oregano oil
Oregano is a popular cooking ingredient in many dishes, but it also has potent antifungal properties. Research has found that it can help to fight against certain strains of the candida yeast, which is extremely useful considering how prevalent this type of yeast is in most fungal skin infections.10
However, since oregano oil is classified as an ‘essential oil’ you really don’t want to go applying this directly to your skin. Instead, try to dilute this first with water – a nice idea, if you have a fungal toe nail infection, for example, could be to prepare a foot bath and add a few drops of the oil to this!