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Creams for fungal infection

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

These are creams used to treat fungal infections. The creams are mainly used for skin and nail infections, whereas tablets are usually used for more widespread skin and internal infections. Different antifungal creams are used for different types of skin, vaginal or nail infections. The Healthwords team will explain some of them in detail, and their different uses.

Doctor’s advice

Names of antifungals

The drug names for the different antifungals include; clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terbinafine and amorolfine.              Some of these come with a combination cream with hydrocortisone in them. The hydrocortisone combination can be used to help reduce redness, inflammation and at times itching. 


This comes in 2 strengths (1% and 2%). It also comes as a combination with hydrocortisone. The 1% cream is mainly used to treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, nappy rash or sweat rash. Sometimes, you might need the one with hydrocortisone if there is a lot of redness.   The 2% cream is mainly used for vaginal thrush.  This also comes as a pessary for thrush. The 2% cream can also be applied for fungal nail infection but it is not as effective. This is safe to use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Econazole and ketoconazole

Econazole is used for ringworm, sun fungus (tinea versicolor) and fungal skin infections. This can also be used for vaginal thrush, either via a cream or pessary. During the 1st trimester, it can be used but only if the doctor considers it essential. It is best to avoid it in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, but possible to use it if the benefit outweighs the risk.    Ketoconazole comes as a cream or a shampoo.  The cream is used for athlete’s foot, sweat rash, pityriasis versicolor. The shampoo is used for dandruff and also as a wash for pityriasis versicolour. Here at Healthwords we prefer the shampoo over the cream for pityriasis versicolor.


This comes as a cream and a nail lacquer.  We don’t really tend to prescribe the cream and so the nail lacquer is sometimes used for early-stage fungal nail infections, although commonly antifungal tablets (terbinafine) will be required as the nail lacquers fail to work.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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