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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 3 minutes read

Tolnaftate is an antifungal medicine used to prevent and treat athlete's foot (also called tinea pedis). Athlete's foot is a common fungal skin infection that typically causes itchy cracked skin between the toes. Tolnaftate can also be used for jock itch (also called tinea cruris) and prickly heat, and is available in cream, powder, and spray formulations. It can be used by adults and children and is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Scholl is a branded version of tolnaftate. These products can be bought from a wide range of shops, including pharmacies and supermarkets.

Tolnaftate is thought to kill fungi by disrupting the production of important components needed for their cell membrane.

How do I use the medication?

  1. First, make sure you wash and thoroughly dry the affected areas before applying the medication.
  2. Tolnaftate products can be applied to the affected areas twice a day in the morning and evening.
  3. For athlete's foot, if you are using a spray or a powder you can also put some of the medication on your socks and inside your shoes.
  4. You should continue treatment for at least a week after symptoms have cleared up to prevent the infection from returning.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if your symptoms worsen or do not improve after 10 days of using tolnaftate.

Healthwords self help tips for treating athlete's foot

There are plenty of things you can do alongside using medications to help prevent and treat athlete's foot. Here are our top tips:

The fungus that causes athlete's foot likes a warm, moist environment, therefore you should:

  • avoid wearing shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty
  • wear clean socks every day
  • try to rotate between the shoes you wear
  • dry your feet well after washing them

Fungal spores can spread between people, so you should avoid sharing towels, socks, and shoes, and wear flip flops in communal changing rooms and showers. Fungal spores can also spread to other parts of your body, therefore you should avoid scratching affected areas of skin and use a separate towel for your feet.

Who should not use the medication?

Tolnaftate is not suitable for everyone. You should not use tolnaftate if you have previously had an allergic reaction to it or any other ingredient listed in the medication. Tolnaftate should not be used in children under 2 years of age unless a doctor has said otherwise.

You should speak with your doctor before using tolnaftate if you have diabetes, circulatory problems, or a weakened immune system. You should also speak to your doctor if your feet become hot, swollen, and painful, as this could indicate that you also have a bacterial infection.

Tolnaftate is unlikely to interact with other medications, but if you are concerned then speak to your doctor or pharmacist before use.

Are there any side effects?

Potential side effects include redness, rashes, irritation, itching, and swelling of the skin at the site of application. Speak to your doctor if any of these side effects become bothersome.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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