Can you really use BENGAY for toenail fungus and is it effective?
There are so many home remedies out there for this nasty little condition, but the problem is that a lot of them simply DO NOT WORK.
Using BENGAY is just one of many out there. It’s cheap, you can find it at just about any store, and it is well-known to be safe, so there are a lot of reasons why this is something a lot of people are looking into using. HOWEVER, if it doesn’t work there is obviously no point.
So does it work or doesn’t it?
The answer is a bit complicated. It definitely does have potential. But before we get into all of that, let’s first talk little bit about nail fungus itself.
A Quick Briefing on Nail Fungus
Onychomycosis is the technical name for this condition. It can have various causes, but the most common cause is that of a dermatophyte, which is a type of fungus.
Some common symptoms that you may experience if you do have onychomycosis include…
- Thickened nails
- Discoloration, usually white or yellowish
- Brittle, fractured, raggedy looking
- Dark color sometime develops from dead debris
- Smells bad
And then of course if you do have some of the symptoms they may also be accompanied by foul faces from onlookers.
Nail fungus is a big problem and some estimates state that around 10% of the population have it, although many people have just minor cases.
You are more likely to develop a fungal infection if you…
- Have really sweaty feet
- Don’t let your feet air out
- Work in damp area
- Are older, which often means reduced bloodflow
- Have a weakened immune system
This is why toenail fungus is so much more common than fingernail fungus. It is possible to get both, but because the toes spend much of their time inside shoes and live much of their life in dark/damp environments, fungi are much more likely to thrive in this area.
BENGAY… What Is It?
BENGAY is a topical pain relief cream that is used for temporary pain relief for minor aches/pains of muscles and joints. It is a well-known name brand product that can be found that pretty much any store, your local Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s, etc.
But… Like VICKS VapoRub (which I will talk more about in a minute), BENGAY also has multiple uses besides that which it is marketed for.
Now one of the uses of course is that it can help treat toenail fungus, which is the point of this post I’m writing. And… It does have some potential.
Why It Has Some Potential
Well… lets take a look at the ingredients included in a tube of BENGAY and you will see why there is definitely some antifungal potential here.
A look at the ingredients..
- Camphor (4%)
- Menthol (10%)
- Methyl salicylate (30%)
Listed above are the 3 common “active ingredients” that you will find in a normal tube of BENGAY. There are some different variations of BENGAY out there that include additional ingredients, but these are the “core” ingredients if you want to put it like that.
Camphor is something that I’ve seen before used for its antifungal effects. It’s most commonly used topically for pain relief and as an anti-irritant (makes sense… after all this is BENGAY), but does have antifungal properties. A study published in Biological Research shows that it was able to inhibit fungi growth to some extent, although this study wasn’t conducted specifically on nail fungus.
Menthol, which gives BENGAY some of that really nice refreshing smell, is often used for reducing inflammation, as a soothing topical treatment for pain and for respiratory problems. As far as antifungal activity goes, there has been some research looking into it. One study found it to be at least somewhat effective at inhibiting both bacterial and fungal growth, and another study showed supporting evidence of antifungal activity.
Methyl salicylate also helps with the smell that BENGAY has. It is the oil of wintergreen and is widely used for pain relief. It is particularly effective at reducing inflammation which could also help with the healing process of nail fungus infections.
Any Proof That It Works?
Unfortunately there isn’t any direct evidence that shows BENGAY to be effective against toenail fungus. What I mean by this is that there have not been any studies specifically testing out its effectiveness against such a condition. That said, there is obviously some indirect evidence as shown above that suggest it can be effective, at least to some extent.
All three of the active ingredients show some promise as a treatment for toenail fungus.
How Does Compare to VICKS VapoRub?
Now I mentioned a bit ago that I wanted to talk some about VICKS VapoRub. And the reason for this is because it is a very similar product. In fact, it actually contains 2 of the 3 active ingredients in BENGAY… Which are camphor and menthol.
However, the amounts it contains are different. It has slightly more camphor than BENGAY, yet has much less menthol than it. And it has no Methyl salicylate.
That said, VICKS VapoRub has several other ingredients contained in it that could help increase its effectiveness, such as cedarleaf oil for example, which has shown antimicrobial activity in lab studies.
You would probably get very similar results no matter which product you use because they are so similar, however, if I had to pick between the two I would probably go with VICKS VapoRub. I think it has the edge by a small amount.
Worth The Try or Not?
If you have a table of BENGAY lying around then why not give it a try?
It defintely has “at least some” potential to fight off a case of toenail fungus. Now whether or not it is going to make much of a difference depends on a lot of things, such as application, the severity of your infection, and so on. But it still might be worth a try.
If you do decide to try it out be sure to clean the infected area as much as possible, which includes filing down your nail and getting all the dead debris out of there. When applying, get the BENGAY all around your nail and underneath as best you can. Apply it liberally and even to the skin around the area… This isn’t going to hurt you.
A Better Option: Emuaid MAX
If you are willing to spend a bit more money then you might want to take a look at Emuaid MAX, which is another product that you would be applying topically. It is one of the very few toenail fungus products that we actually recommend here at Operation Wellness.
Comments or questions? Leave them below 🙂