Great news: Easy home remedies quash the itching, cracking and redness of athlete’s foot that 70 percent of us experience during hot and humid summer days.
Itchy between the toes? Sprinkle on baking soda.
OTC foot sprays can actually worsen foot fungus, thanks to their aluminum chloride, which removes moisture but still allows fungus to breed. What doesn’t? Baking soda! It not only absorbs moisture to block fungal breeding and soothe discomfort, French scientists found it also kills 79 percent of the most potent varieties of foot fungus spores. Tip: Add a drop of oregano oil to one tablespoon of baking soda before patting between your toes. University of Arizona scientists say the natural antifungal works as well as pricier Lotrimin.
Rashy on top of the foot? Rub in a garlic paste.
If athlete’s foot has spread to the top of your foot, try this: Once daily for seven days, mix two crushed garlic cloves with two tablespoons of olive oil and massage into feet. After five minutes, wash and dry well. Research in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggests compounds in garlic tame athlete’s foot even more effectively than antifungal meds like Lamisil. Researchers credit garlic’s ajoene with being highly toxic to foot fungus yet gentle on skin. Worried about odor? Sweep a stainless-steel spoon over feet for a few seconds after you dry them. The molecules in steel bind with sulfur molecules in garlic, whisking the scent away. Genius!
Redness on your heels? Spritz on tea tree oil.
Have an infection on the soles of your feet that wraps around the heels? M.D.s call this a “moccasin infection.” The fix: antiseptic tea tree oil. It eliminates athlete’s foot better than gold-standard clotrimazole, say University of Rochester School of Medicine scientists. To do: Add 20 drops of tea tree oil and two ounces of water to a spritzer bottle; mist feet twice daily and let dry.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.