Does Clear Nail Polish Help Ringworm?

does nail polish treat ringworm,

Getting up and seeing a ringworm infection on the skin can ruin the entire day. It is one of the most frustrating fungal infections accompanied by red, itchy, and patchy skin with bumpsRingworm thrives on the skin’s keratin. They take their favourable spots where spreading is easy, like hands, feet, armpits, and groin areas.  Even though ringworm is not a life-threatening disease, it can cause irritation and discomfort in performing daily activities. When left untreated, ringworm can lead to serious complications. At the same time, being a contagious fungal infection, it can spread to other parts of the body and pass on to the people living with you. Therefore, prompt management is essential to cease its spread and manage the symptoms.  While some medications like antifungal ointments and lotions can help treat ringworm, certain home remedies also prove to be highly beneficial.  Besides ringworms that have developed resistance against some medical treatments, a home remedy like nail polish can be a blessing in disguise.

Treating Ringworm With Home Remedies

Using essential oils, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, turmeric, and aloe vera are some common and effective home remedies against ringworm. Most of these products are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, which ceases the growth of ringworm causing fungus. Besides these, nail polish is also one of the effective remedies that can work wonders in controlling ringworm. Let’s find out how nail polish helps cure ringworm and what type of nail polish is needed.

Using Nail Polish For Ringworm

While many of you haven’t heard of using nail polish for ringworm, it has gained popularity recently, and people are vouching for this treatment option.  Here, it is important to mention that you must use clear or colorless nail polish to treat ringworm. It is because colored nail polish may contain toxic chemicals to impart color. It can make things worse. 

How Nail Polish Cures Ringworm?

The most convincing explanation so far lies in the aerobic nature of the fungus. Approximately 40 different species of fungi can cause ringworm.  Applying several coats of clear nail polish over the ringworm-affected areas ceases the multiplication of the fungus as they get deprived of oxygen. When sealed inside nail polish, they lack oxygen, leading to death.  Moreover, nail polishes contain the growth-inhibiting and antifungal ingredients amorolfine or ciclopirox. It will cease the growth of fungus. The skin will shed dead cells, removing the remaining fungus roots to return a naturally healthy skin

Here are four other prominent reasons that convince nail polish can be used to cure ringworm

1. Nail Polish Seals The Ringworm In

Nail polishes are made with a water-tight barrier. It means when applied to the skin; they seal off the area. Likewise, when applied over ringworm-affected areas, nail polish isolates fungus from the rest of the skin, preventing them from spreading further and multiplying. The resources of fungus to live stop, causing them to die eventually.

2. Nail Polish Starves Ringworm Causing Fungus

As the fungus gets sealed inside, it cuts off from the rest of your skin. It prevents them from digesting the skin’s keratin.  When fungus doesn’t get its food, it starves to death.

3. Nail Polish Suffocates Fungus

The fungus that causes ringworm is aerobic in nature. It means it requires oxygen for survival. When the infected area is covered with coats of nail polish, you cease the access of fungus to oxygen. Due to this, the fungus gradually suffocates to death.

4. Nail Polish Prevents Re-infection With Ringworm

Since ringworm is an infectious disease, it can easily spread to other body parts and re-infect the same spot.  However, when applied coats of nail polish, the fungal spores do not get the chance to multiply or re-grow. It makes it challenging for the fungi to thrive. Eventually, the skin dries, and the fungi subside.  Over time, the body sheds off the skin on the affected areas and gets rid of the infection, making it clear and healthy. 

How To Use Nail Polish To Treat Ringworm?

Correct application is the right way to treat ringworm. Following steps should be followed while using nail polish for ringworm-

1. Clean The Infected Area And Let It Dry

  • With the help of gentle soap and water, clean the infected areas. You can also use antibacterial soap. 
  • Let the area dries completely. 

Make sure you use a separate towel for drying the fungus-infected areas and launder it as soon as possible. Sharing used towels on other body parts or with other people can easily infect them.

2. Air Dry The Area

Do not scrub with a towel to dry the washed area. Let it air dry or get some fresh sunlight. It will dry the dermis completely, making keratin less appealing and appetizing to the ringworm.

3. Apply The Clear Nail Polish

  • Take Q-tips and apply clear nail polish to the affected areas.
  • Apply several coats, taking some surrounding areas to seal the fungus completely inside. 
  • Make sure you use fresh Q-tips for each application and discard the used ones immediately after applying. Repeat until you apply multiple coats and cover the entire area. 
  • Allow the nail polish to dry.

Once the nail polish dries, it’s your choice whether you want to remove it after an hour of application or let it stay for a day. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. 


Nail polish is not for every skin type; therefore, you need to take the following precautions-

  1. People with sensitive skin may experience an allergic reaction to the chemicals present in nail polish. 
  2. If nail polish is causing skin irritation or a burning sensation, remove it immediately. 
  3. It is advised not to apply nail polish on genital areas.
  4. Always use high-quality nail polish from a reliable brand, preferably environment-friendly nail polish, to prevent any side effects from its constituent chemicals. 

Final Words

Nail polish is a good alternative to medications for smaller and less severe cases of ringworm. However, if the infection has already spread severely and the symptoms are rigorous, consulting a dermatologist is the right choice.  You can also couple nail polish with a ringworm cream to treat the infected areas of the skin. It can help cure the infection faster. Since ringworm can take as long as a year to fully heal, patience is the key.

  1. National library of Medicine- Tinea corporis: an updated review
  2. National library of Medicine – Tinea corporis: an updated review
  3. Fungal Diseases – How Ringworm Spreads
  4. National library of Medicine- Nail fungus: Learn More – Nail fungus: Polish, cream or tablets?
  5. Fungal Diseases –About Ringworm
  6. National library of Medcine –Nail fungus: Learn More – Nail fungus: Polish, cream or tablets?

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