Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is onycholysis treatable with tea tree oil?"

ZocdocAnswersIs onycholysis treatable with tea tree oil?


Is it true that you can treat onycholysis with tea tree oil? I'm a guy in my 20s and this has been happening more and more, and I've read on some websites that tea tree oil can really hit onycholysis at its root cause, the fungus or bacteria that cause it. Is that true?


Onycholysis is a condition in which the nails seem to lift off from the nail bed causing a space underneath of them. The best approach to onycholysis is first to understand that the condition is very often associated with an underlying medical condition which causes inflammation of the nail bed or nutritional or hormonal deficiencies. These condition include things like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, anemia, and thyroid problems.

See a doctor who can help

Find Dermatologists near you

Therefore the first step when dealing with onycholysis is to have a good head-to-toe physical examination by your primary care doctor to make sure there is no underlying condition that needs to be worked up and treated. Sometimes onycholysis can be caused by fungal infection of the nail. However, fungal infections usually present as thickening and distortion of the nail bed. Isolated onycholysis can create a space under the nail that can be secondarily infected by a fungus, but again the cause of the onycholysis needs to be investigated. Finally, although tea trea oil and several other plant-based remedies have been found to be of some effect in treating nail fungal infections, realistically most nail infections by fungi require prescribed oral medications to clear up. Talking with your dermatologist or your primary care doctor is recommended.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.