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Best antifungal cream

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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Determining the best antifungal cream involves considering which option is most suitable for treating your specific infection. While there are broad-spectrum antifungals available, they often require medical monitoring and may not be necessary when an over-the-counter cream can provide equally effective results. Antifungal creams are commonly used to treat skin, vaginal, or nail infections, targeting mild fungal infections. Creams are primarily employed for skin and nail infections, while tablets are typically reserved for more widespread and complex skin and internal infections. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of different antifungal creams, their varied applications, and associated benefits.

Doctor’s advice

Types of antifungal creams

Several antifungal creams fall under the category of Azole antifungals, including clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, and miconazole. These creams work by disrupting the production of essential components required for the fungal cell membrane.

Some creams are combined with hydrocortisone, which aids in reducing redness, inflammation, and occasional itching. These combination products are only available on prescription.

Clotrimazole and miconazole

Clotrimazole is available in two strengths, 1% and 2%. The 1% cream is commonly used to treat athlete's foot, ringworm, and jock itch.

The 2% cream is primarily used for vaginal thrush. Clotrimazole is also available as a vaginal tablet for thrush and can be safely used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Miconazole serves similar purposes to clotrimazole and is used to treat athlete's foot, ringworm, and jock itch.

Econazole and ketoconazole

Econazole is used for ringworm, sun fungus (tinea versicolor), and fungal skin infections and is available on prescription.

Ketoconazole is available as both a cream and a shampoo. The cream is effective for athlete's foot, jock itch, and pityriasis versicolor, but is only available on prescription. The shampoo is used for dandruff and as a wash for pityriasis versicolor and is available over-the-counter. At Healthwords, we prefer the shampoo over the cream for treating pityriasis versicolor.

Top tips from Healthwords pharmacists

While creams are highly effective in treating various fungal conditions, alternative formulations can be equally or more effective. Some individuals prefer gel-based treatments for intense itching and irritation. Alternatively, using Lamisil AT 1% spray can help reduce excess moisture, sweat-related friction, and irritation while conveniently treating the infection with a once-daily application, especially for conditions like ringworm. For athlete's foot, some people find relief with powder formulations that absorb moisture while combating the infection. It is crucial to consider what works best for you when choosing an antifungal treatment.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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