Essential Oils for Ringworm: Naturally Fight Fungus
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It can lurk in that pile of yoga mats at the gym, or on your son's wrestling mat at school, or even on your beloved pet dog, Lucky. And when it strikes, it can be itchy, scaly, and just plain ugly to look at. Ringworm is not a fungus you want to deal with. In the case you do have to deal with it, there are several options for treatment. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can be effective, but they have been known to have some adverse side-effects including burning, stinging, abdominal cramping, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and indigestion. One prescription antifungal is even cited to potentially cause birth defects. An alternative to using these medications for ringworm is essential oils.
Names can be deceiving, as is the case for ringworm; it does not come from a worm, but rather from a fungal infection. This infection causes small, ring-shaped rashes to form on the skin which may itch and present as raised patches of skin or overlapping rings. Ringworm can be caught from contact with an infected person's skin, with an infected animal, or with items that have been touched by an infected person such as a gym mat, clothing, or hairbrushes. Sometimes, but very rarely, ringworm can be caught from soil carrying the fungus as well. You are at increased risk for ringworm if you participate in contact sports such as wrestling, have a weak immune system, live in a warm climate, or are in close proximity to an infected person. While it is rare for ringworm to develop into a serious illness, those with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of complications from an infection. To prevent infection, it is recommended to maintain general cleanliness such as through washing hands or showering immediately after a contact sport, staying cool and dry if you live in a warmer climate, and to avoid sharing items such as makeup or hairbrushes with others.
In the case that you do catch ringworm, don't be fraught! Consider using essential oils to help the infection clear up.
Using Essential Oils for Ringworm
The ranks of essential oils which have antifungal properties include oregano oil, tea tree oil, myrrh oil, and lavender oil. Here are some ways these oils can be used to help with a ringworm infection:
Be sure to dilute this oil in a carrier oil as it is very potent; it is one of the more effective oils for treating ringworm. Oregano has been observed to be as effective as over-the-counter treatments and its power stems from active compounds within the oil including carvacrol, a strong antifungal agent.
Tea Tree Oil:
This oil can either be diluted in a carrier oil or applied directly to the affected skin. Studies have also shown tea tree oil to be a strong antifungal agent, and it is another one of the more effective oils in helping to treat ringworm. If you have a case of ringworm that is proving to be difficult to treat, try combining a couple drops of tea tree oil and a few drops of oregano oil mixed in a carrier oil (such as coconut) to rub onto the affected areas a few times a day.
Another oil that should be mixed into a carrier oil, myrrh is also effective in fighting ringworm. Use it if you don't like the scent of the previously mentioned oils.
Lavender oil can be a gentler alternative to the aforementioned oils. Add 10 drops to a warm bath to soak in or apply it directly to your skin or rub it in with olive oil. It smells lovely and works to reduce itching and inflammation. For clearer results, apply it topically up to three times daily.
Precautions for Using Essential Oils to Treat Ringworm
Whether you are using a conventional treatment for ringworm or essential oils, stop treatment if you develop a skin reaction or any adverse side-effects and speak with your doctor. Seek medical advice if your infection worsens, does not go away, or is presenting on the scalp. And in general, speak with your pediatrician before initiating any treatment of ringworm in children.
Additionally, tea tree oil should not be taken orally. The other oils mentioned above can be taken orally, but not in large doses as unwanted side-effects can occur, including diarrhea, kidney irritation, and heart rate changes. Fortunately, in treating ringworm, it is recommended that these oils be used topically.
There are things you can do to avoid the lurking, rash-causing, fungal infection of ringworm, but it is likely that you or someone you know will eventually have to face it one day. In that unfortunate event, consider essential oils for treatment. As has been discussed, several essential oils, including tea tree, oregano, myrrh, and lavender, have been shown to be effective in treating ringworm and reducing the symptoms. Avoid unwanted side effects of conventional treatment by going the natural route and getting your skin back to its good and healthy self!