There’s a Fungus Amongus

And how. If you’re wearing Uggs everyday, or, even worse, fake sheepskin boots, beware. And get ye to Whole Foods, stat, to stock up on antifungal essential oils.

Those buttery-soft boots were invented by Australian surfer dudes who just wanted to warm up their feet on the beach. Keep this in mind relative to how long you wear yours in a given day.

Frankly, feet sweat. This is normal. The makers of genuine sheepskin boots state that the natural wool fibers wick away moisture to some extent, which we feel is true. The synthetic fakes have less ability to wick away natural foot-moisture. (Yes, some microfibers used in sports gear is great at wicking off sweat– but the fake sheepskin, not so much.)

In any case, any prolonged contact with moisture between the toes and under the nails can result in fungal growth. This happens when you wear your Uggs for more than a few hours, or walk long distances in them. These yummy boots weren’t made for that kind of extended wear, and the damp, squishy microenvironment inside an oozing-wet fur slipper is a dream stay-cation for foot fungi.

Most essential oils have mild antimicrobial properties, including familiar favorites like Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium. If you’ve been wearing boots or other shoes that leave your feet feeling sweaty and slippery, a shower or soak with essential oils, followed by thoroughly drying your feet (especially between the toes) with a clean, thick towel, may help stave off the zillions of fungi spores– not to mention bacteria, viruses, yeasts and more– swarming over our skin at any given time.

After a thorough cleansing and drying, put on clean, dry socks and shoes. Allow damp-ish Uggs or other shoes to dry out thoroughly– this make take a day or more. Alternate your footwear, and resist the temptation to dry soggy Uggs by the fire or radiator, as this will damage them.

We spritz the insides of shoes with our own mix of essential oils, diluted in water, after a day’s wear, especially when we get that squishy feeling. But Dr. Robert Joseph,  a podiatrist who is also LA’s leading foot and ankle surgeon, cautions that essential oils will not “cure” a fungal infection once the micro-‘shrooms have established themselves.

Ditto for soaks in diluted bleach, or salving the toes with Vicks Vap-O-Rub, though these may prevent colonies of fungi from taking hold. The real problem is that the fungal infection is not in the visible part of the nail. It’s way

essential oils are mildly antimicrobial

Antifungal essential oils may stop ‘shrooms in your Uggs.

underneath, and taking place where your nail emerges from the cuticle.

If your toenails begin to weird you out, book an appointment with a podiatrist. A thickening of the nail, or a nail that turns spongy, crumbly, yellow, etc.– basically like something out of the Middle Ages– means that millions of merry mini-mushrooms have taken up residence in your shoes, and under your skin. 

Victoria Thomas

About Victoria Thomas

Brooklyn-born Victoria Thomas loves writing about flora and fauna, although she chooses to do so in an urban setting. If she had it all to do over again, she might have become a forensic entomologist. She lives in Los Angeles.
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