Best Anti-Fungal Creams & Treatments

Having a fungal infection can be very irritating, sore and quite frankly, embarrassing! From foot and toenail fungus to jock crotch; you will normally know you have a fungal infection due to discoloration of the skin, red patches, peeling of the skin, toenails browning and becoming brittle or even, in some cases, by the smell.

Fungi (singular is fungus) are primitive organisms that have adapted to live almost anywhere; air, water, soil, even the bathroom! Certain fungi reproduce through tiny spores that float through the air. These spores then land on and grow on the body, which can then cause fungal infections. If you have a weakened immune system or are taking certain medicines (e.g., antibiotics, corticosteroids) then you are at an increased risk for a fungal skin infection.

Due to the before mentioned embarrassment of having a fungal infection, many people put off going to the pharmacist, looking instead to self-diagnose and order the anti-fungal cream through the internet. So before we climb into which are the best Anti-fungal creams, let’s first have a quick look at the different types of fungal infections to make sure you order the right one.

 

SELECT A FUNGAL INFECTION FROM THE LIST BELOW:

Fungal InfectionSymptomsBest Treatment

Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Itching
Flaky Skin
Redness of Feet / Toes / Heels
Puriya
Medline Remedy
Derman Anti-Fungal
Lotrimin
Family Care

Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)
Itching
Circular Rashes
Blisters / Sores
Terrasil
Phytozine

Tinea Capitis
Scaly Skin on Scalp
Red / Swollen Patches
Bald Patches
Kerions
Prescription Only

Onychomycosis
Discoloration of Nail
Thickening on Nail
Pain / Discomfort
Brittle / Crumbly Nails
Antifungal Tablets
Antifungal Nail Paints
Nail Softening Kits

Tinea Versicolor
Small patches of skin
becoming scaly or
discolored
Lotrimin AF
Micaderm
Lamisil

Candidiasis (Thrush / Yeast Infection)
Oral Thrush
VVC / Yeast Infection
Invasive Candidiasis
Daktarin Oral Gel
Canesten Cream (VVC)

Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)

Athlete’s foot is a common skin inflammation between the toes and the soles of feet. If caused by a fungus, athlete’s foot will likely spread to palms, groin, and other parts of the body. Athlete’s foot infections are contagious and can be spread by walking on contaminated floors/showers at the gym etc. The best creams for athletes foot are:

Puriya Wonder Balm

Puriya Wonder Balm is a homeopathic balm filled with active ingredients that both treat athlete’s foot and benefit the skin. This cream can be used on all parts of the body and is safe for both sexes from young teens upwards. Wonder Balm is recommended for both athletes and anyone who develops a fungal infection on the foot, especially if it results in dry and cracked feet which end up scaley. You may want to check out the best foot cream review I did in order to speed up the healing process and better treat dry and cracked feet. Puriya also works as an ointment, as opposed to a lotion – so it is comfortable to wear with socks (preferably cotton) and if you are barefoot you won’t slip around as much. Wonder Balm is free of irritants and artificial ingredients.

Puriya Wonder Balm can be purchased on Amazon here.

Medline Remedy Antifungal Cream

Medline Remedy Antifungal Cream is a premium producer of high quality medical products, and their anti-fungal foot cream is one of the best on the market. I think it is safe to say that Medline is one of the preferred anti-fungal choices for medical professionals and hospitals. The cream is especially effective at fighting athlete’s foot and ringworm, including aloe vera and Medline’s specially formulated Olivamine – which includes the antioxidant hydroxytyrosol. It is also great at providing a soothing relief from irritation or burning that is often linked to athlete’s foot. The cream contains cetyl dimethicone, which is a silicon to keep the product on the skin, however it may dry you out a bit; so it is recommended that you also use a moisturizing foot cream to keep the skin hydrated and stop any potential peeling. Medline Remedy is safe for people who have diabetes.

Medline Remedy Antifungal Cream can be purchased on Amazon here.

Derman Antifungal CreamDerman Antifungal Cream

Probably one of the smaller brands on the whole list, Derman is one of the best in the business when it comes to making an anti-fungal cream that clears your skin up fast! The cream contains undecylenic acid and zinc undecylenate; which are responsible for breaking up the enzyme that allows the fungus to multiply. A glycerin base allows the active ingredients to stay on the skin long enough to penetrate and be absorbed by the fungi. Besides being a great anti-fungal cream, Derman is also really good at treating and softening callouses on your heels and toes. While the tube it is sold in is pretty small, the cream packs a punch and should sort your athlete’s foot out in no time.

Derman Antifungal Cream can be purchased on Amazon here.

Lotrimin AF Cream for Athlete’s FootLotrimin AF Cream for Athlete’s Foot

Lotrimin is the biggest name in athlete’s foot creams. One of the main reasons it is so effective is the active ingredient Clotrimazole, which is probably the best anti-fungal agent available in over the counter medicine. Lotrimin also has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, does not stain any clothing, odor free and should get rid of your athlete’s foot in about 2 weeks. Along with athlete’s foot, you can also use Lotrimin on diaper rash.

You can buy Lotrimin AF Cream on Amazon here.

Family Care Clotrimazole Anti-Fungal Cream

This affordable athlete’s foot cream also contains the active ingredient Clotrimazole (which is one of the best anti-fungal ingredients available). It will often take around 2 weeks for the foot cream to completely get rid of athlete’s foot, although for some people it may be a little bit longer. Despite the fact that Family Care is seen as a cheap store brand version of some of the better-known products, it is very effective.

You can buy Family Care Clotrimazole Anti-Fungal Cream on Amazon here.

Athlete’s foot comes from the tinea fungus growing on your feet. The fungus can be caught through direct contact with your skin, either on someone else’s feet, shoes, public showers or locker room floors. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and besides the irritation, flakiness, and redness. Athlete’s foot is not harmful, although should be treated as soon as possible.

Depending on the type of antifungal that you are using (ointment, natural remedy, cream, gel, powder or spray), athlete’s foot takes 2 to 8 weeks to completely go away. When using the creams we recommend above, your fungal infection should be gone within 2-3 weeks.

A fungal infection can affect any part of your body, as along with bacteria they occur everywhere naturally. When fungus over grow, you can get an infection.  one of the most common areas are the nails. Onychomycosis (also called tinea unguium) is a fungal infection that affects either the fingernails or toenails; making them discolored and brittle.

The symptoms of Athlete’s foot vary, but often cause foot itching, burning, pain, and scaling of the skin. When caused by a fungus, Athlete’s foot can be treated with antifungal medications, many of which are available over the counter or to order online.

When choosing your athlete’s foot cream, there are a few things that you will need to be on the lookout for. It is firstly important to know which the active ingredients are and how they work on the fungi and your skin. There are loads of ingredients that have weird pronunciations and complicated sounding properties that don’t sound like they have anything to do with getting rid of the fungus. You would be surprised though; some things like lavender oil and tea tree oil have really good anti-fungal properties.

You will also need to take the base type of the cream into consideration. If you are extremely active, you don’t want anything that is oily, as it won’t be effectively absorbed due to your sweating. You also need to gauge how moist your feet are, and if you will need any additional foot creams to stop your skin from cracking and becoming dry. If you want a good tip, whenever looking out for anti-fungal creams, I would keep any eye out for the ingredient Clotrimazole, which is a lab made chemical which stops the enzymes of fungi which allow the fungus to grow. Some people also prefer either a scented or non-scented cream. If you are one of those people, then obviously you are going to want to be on the lookout for that. If we were, to be honest though, you are only going to be using the cream for around 2 weeks, the scent shouldn’t make too much of a difference to you.

Lastly, you will just need to consider the tube size. Judging by how bad your flaking and all of that is, you should be able to gauge if you will need a large or small tub of cream. Once all of these things have been weighed up, then check which one works best for your wallet and order it.

You can prevent athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) by:

  • Keeping your feet clean and dry.
  • Dry between your toes after swimming or bathing.
  • Wear shoes or sandals that allow your feet to breathe.
  • When indoors, wear socks without shoes.
  • Wear socks to absorb sweat. Change your socks twice a day.
  • Allow your shoes to air for at least 24 hours before you wear them again.
  • Wearing shower sandals in public pools and showers.

Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)

Ringworm actually has nothing to do with worms, despite how ominous and scary the name may sound at first! It is instead a fungus that that can affect the skin, scalp, feet, groin and your nails. Commonly known as ‘tinea’, this type of fungus is not serious at all and very easily treated. A word of warning though, they are very contagious and easily spread.

In ringworm of the skin on the body; rather than in the groin areas, scalp, hands or feet, small circular rashes appear, and the condition is called tinea corporis; named after the actual fungus that is responsible for the infection. The best creams for Ringworm (Tinea Corporis):

Terrasil® Ringworm Treatment MAX

Terrasil® Ringworm Treatment MAX has powerful active ingredients that can get rid of ringworm infections fast and with little effort. It also combines essential oils to sooth the skin and provide a level of moisture that prevents itching, redness and burning. Activated Minerals (their trademarked formula) deliver fast and natural relief to your fungal infection. Terrasil is FDA registered and combines natural ingredients with the latest science to make sure that your fungal ringworm infections are a thing of the past.

Terrasil® Ringworm Treatment MAX is available for purchase on Amazon.

Phytozine NATURAL Treatment

Phytozine NATURAL Anti-Fungal Ringworm Treatment is one of the most complete and effective treatments of ringworm on the market. This is mainly due to the 1% of powerful FDA-approved tolnaftate for ringworm, which has powerful natural antifungals like tea tree oil, menthol, camphor, lavender, jasmine, and clove. Phytozine not only kills the fungal infection, it also helps the skin’s own defenses with soothing and healing ingredients like aloe vera, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter and oat kernel.

Phytozine NATURAL Anti-Fungal Ringworm Treatment can be purchased on Amazon and comes with a money back guarantee.

A group of fungi called dermatophytes are what causes ringworm. Dermatophytes get their nourishment from a substance called keratin, which is a tissue found in many parts of a person’s body (such as nails, hair, and skin). In ringworm of the body, the fungus is found on the skin.

Tinea corporis is another name for ringworm (the specific dermatophyte is tinea). Related ringworm fungal infections have very similar names, including:

  • tinea pedis, commonly called athlete’s foot
  • tinea cruris, also known as jock itch
  • tinea capitis, also known as ringworm of the scalp (which we will get in to further on).

Within 4 – 10 days of first coming in contact with the fungus, you will start to notice ring- or circular rashes with raised edges and skin in the middle that appears normal and healthy. Usually, this rash will be very itchy and spread quickly over your body. Ringworm is normally harmless, although a severe infection could occur when rings multiply and merge together, sometimes developing blisters and pus-filled sores.

Ringworm can be prevented by avoiding contact with any infected people. This includes both indirect and direct contact.

The following precautions should also be taken:

  • Avoid sharing a towels, hat, brushes, or clothing with an infected person
  • If you are infected, be sure to maintain good personal hygiene

After a shower dry your skin well, especially between the toes and where skin touches skin (groin and armpits).

Tinea Capitis (Ringworm of the Scalp)

Tinea capitis (Ringworm of the Scalp) may involve only small parts of the scalp or even all of it. Infected appear bald with tiny black dots from hair that has broken off. Round, scaly areas of skin that are red or swollen (inflamed) are also known symptoms of tinea capitis, as are pus-filled sores called kerions. A low-grade fever of around 100 – 101 °F, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and itching of the scalp are other symptoms. Tinea capitis may cause hair loss and lasting scars.

Treatment

Your health care provider or doctor will prescribe medicine you take by mouth in order to treat ringworm of the scalp. Griseofulvin, terbinafine, and itraconazole are types of medicine often prescribed and will show results in 4 – 8 weeks. Steps you can take to treat this at home include:

  • Keeping the area clean.
  • Wash with a medicated shampoo.
  • Other family members and pets should be examined and treated.
  • Wash towels in hot, soapy water, drying each time they are used by an infected person
  • Soak combs and brushes for 1 hour a day in a mixture of one-half bleach and one-half water. Do this for 3 days.
  • No one in the home should share combs, hairbrushes, hats, towels, pillowcases, or helmets with anyone else.

Onychomycosis

Most people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. Onychomycosis (also known as tinea unguium) is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails, but toenail infections are the most common. It’s not often serious, but it can be unpleasant and difficult to treat. Infection causes the nail to become discolored, thickened and distorted.

The medical name for a fungal nail infection is Onychomycosis.

A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first. As it progresses, the infection can cause:

  • Discoloration of the nail – it may turn white, black, brown, yellow or even green
  • Thickening and distortion of the nail – Nail becomes unusual shape / texture and is difficult to trim
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Brittle or crumbly nails

Fungal nail infections will often occur as a result of the same fungi which caused a bout of athlete’s foot, which then spread to and infected the nails. If conditions are warm, dark and moist, this can lead to a fungus overgrowth, and a subsequent infection. Here are some of the leading conditions that lead to a fungal infection of the nails:

  • You don’t keep your feet clean and dry
  • You wear shoes which make your feet hot and sweaty
  • You walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily
  • You have damaged your nails
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease

Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid a situation where you are in direct or indirect contact with an infected person.

If you have a mild fungal infection the treatment isn’t always needed, as your body’s immune system will sometimes sort it out. Irrespective of whether you decide to use treatment or not, you should still practice hygienic foot care to stop the infection getting worse or spreading. Your GP or pharmacist may be able to help you further if you are bothered by the appearance of the nail, or if it’s causing you problems such as pain and discomfort. They will probably recommend some of the following steps:

You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by following the below tips:

  • Trying to always keep your hands and feet clean and dry
  • Wearing well-fitting shoes made of natural materials and clean cotton socks
  • Clipping your nails to keep them short
  • Don’t share towels and socks with other people
  • Don’t walk around barefoot in public pools, showers, and locker rooms
  • Replace your old footwear that could be contaminated
  • Treating athlete’s foot as soon as possible, as to avoid the infection spreading to your nails

Tinea Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor, also called Pityriasis Versicolor, is a common fungal condition that causes small patches of your skin to become scaly and discolored. These patches may be darker or lighter than your normal skin color, and in some cases may be red or pink. Tinea Versicolor tends to develop gradually, sometimes joining up to form larger patches over time.

The areas most often affected by Tinea Versicolor include the torso (chest and tummy), neck, upper arms, shoulders, and back. It may look unpleasant, sometimes itchy patches, but Pityriasis Versicolor is completely harmless. You may still want to see your GP, as the condition usually only improves with treatment.

Your GP can diagnose Tinea Versicolor by examining your skin. For a mild case of Tinea Versicolor, you can apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream, ointment or shampoo. Most fungal infections respond well to these topical agents, which include:

 

Active IngredientRecommended Cream
ClotrimazoleLotrimin AF
MiconazoleMicaderm
Terbinafine Lamisil AT cream

 

All of the above creams above will treat Tinea Versicolor. When using creams, ointments or lotions, be sure to wash and dry the affected area before applying. If you are purchasing a cream from the list above, use a thin layer of the product once or twice a day for at least two weeks. If you don’t see an improvement in your skin within four weeks, make sure to see your doctor as you may need a stronger medication.

Pityriasis Versicolor is caused by yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is found on the skin of over 90% of people, living there without causing any problems at all. However, Pityriasis Versicolor develops if this yeast starts to multiply more than it usually does. It’s not clear why this happens in some people, while not happening in others. Several factors can increase your risk of developing Pityriasis Versicolor, including:

  • Living or staying in a warm, moist environment
  • Sweating a lot (hyperhidrosis)
  • Having oily skin
  • Being a teenager / early 20s

Pityriasis Versicolor isn’t related to having poor hygiene. The condition can’t be spread from person to person, mainly because people already have the Malassezia yeast on their skin already.

Pityriasis Versicolor can be treated with a wide range of antifungal medicines, available in shampoos, creams or tablets.

 

Antifungal shampoos

Antifungal shampoos (such as ketoconazole or selenium sulphide shampoo) are common treatments recommended for Pityriasis Versicolor. They are available to buy over the counter from pharmacies. In most cases, the shampoos needs to be applied to the affected area of skin, and left for around 5 to 10 minutes before being rinsed off. Repeat every day for 5 to 7 days.

You may experience some skin irritation or a burning sensation when using anti-fungal shampoo. If that is the case then it may be helpful to dilute the shampoo with water before applying it. A lot of people also find the odor of selenium sulphide shampoo unpleasant.

 

Antifungal creams and tablets

If it is only a small area of skin that is affected, then that is perfect for an antifungal cream. The cream usually needs to be applied directly to the affected area of skin once or twice a day for several weeks.

If large areas of skin have been infected (or other treatments haven’t helped), then you may be prescribed some antifungal tablets. These usually need to be taken once a day, for about one to four weeks. Side effects of these tablets are uncommon.

Antifungal shampoos, creams and tablets are very effective at killing the yeast that causes Pityriasis Versicolor. It can take several weeks or months for your skin to return to its normal color though. In more persistent cases, treatment may need to be repeated. It’s also very common for Pityriasis Versicolor to come back after treatment, particularly during the summer. You can reduce this likelihood by regularly using the antifungal shampoos mentioned above.

Candidiasis

Candidiasis is a common type of yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. It can also infect the skin and other mucous membranes. If your immune system is functioning optimally, then this type of yeast infection is rarely ever serious. However, if your immune system is not functioning properly – the candida infection can migrate to other areas of the body, such as the blood and membranes around the heart or brain. Depending on where it is found on the body, it can be one of three things:

Oral thrush is also known as Oral Candidiasis, which is a yeast/fungi infection that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Oral thrush causes a thick white or cream-colored deposit in your mouth, most commonly on the tongue or inner cheeks. The lesions can be painful sometimes and may bleed slightly when they are scraped. The infected membrane of the mouth may appear red / swollen.

 

Treatments for oral thrush

Oral Thrush is usually treated with antifungal medicines. These usually come in the form of gels or liquid that you apply directly inside your mouth, although tablets or capsules are sometimes used. These will usually need to be used several times a day for around a week to 14 days.

 

Preventing oral thrush

These are some things you can do to reduce your chances of developing oral thrush:

  • Rinse your mouth after meals.
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups
  • Removing your dentures every night
  • Brushing your gums
  • Visiting your dentist if your dentures do not fit properly
  • Stopping smoking if you smoke

If you have a condition or are receiving treatment that could put you at a risk of developing oral thrush, your doctor should recommend taking a course of antifungal medication to prevent this from happening.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush

Candida infections can manifest in a many ways. The most common symptom oThrushsh is white patches or plaque on the tongue / on the mucous membranes. Other symptoms may include:

  • Redness or soreness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cracking of the lips / corners of the mouth

Genital / Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), or a “yeast infection” as it is more commonly called, is a common infection that occurs when there is an overgrowth of a yeast called Candida. Candida is always present in the body in small amounts, however, when an imbalance occurs, such as when the normal acidity of the vagina changes or during puberty when the hormonal balance changes, Candida can multiply. When that happens, symptoms of candidiasis may appear.

 

Best Treatment & Creams for Yeast Infection (Vaginal Thrush)

There are numerous treatments available for a yeast infection, most available over the counter from your local pharmacy. If you are struggling to get rid of your infection then it may be worth visiting your GP or gynecologist. If the infection is inside the vagina, you will need to use a pessary (which is a pill inserted into the vagina using an applicator. If you would prefer not to use a pessary, then capsules are also available; the main ones being ‘Fluconazole’ (over the counter), and ‘Itraconazole’ (prescription only). Alternatively, if the skin around the entrance to your vagina is also sore and/or itchy, then you may find it helpful to use an antifungal skin cream in addition to one of the above treatments.

Canesten Cream Clotrimazole 1%

Canesten Cream Clotrimazole 1% treats skin infections caused by yeasts (eg Candida), dermatophytes (Trichophyton or Tinea), molds and other fungi such as athlete’s foot, nappy rash, ringworm, jock itch or other tinea infections. Canesten Cream Clotrimazole 1% is unlikely to cause any serious side-effects, and can be purchased on Amazon here.

 

Risk & Prevention

Almost 75% of all adult women have had a “yeast infection” during their lifetime. On some occasions, men also able to get genital candidiasis. VVC occurs more frequently in people with weakened immune systems. Other conditions that may put a woman at risk for genital candidiasis include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Long-term use of broad-spectrum antibiotics

Wearing cotton underwear will also help to reduce the risk of a yeast infection. For women who experience recurring yeast infections (more than three per year) then oral or, intravaginal probiotics should be used.

Invasive candidiasis is a serious infection caused by yeast called Candida.  Unlike Candida infections in the mouth and throat (also called “thrush”) or vaginal “yeast infections,” invasive candidiasis is a serious infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body.

 

Symptoms of Invasive Candidiasis

Sufferers of invasive candidiasis are often already sick from other medical conditions, so it can be difficult to know which exactly symptoms are related to the Candida infection. However, the most common symptoms of invasive candidiasis are fevers and chills which won’t improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection. Further symptoms then obviously develop if the infection spreads to other parts of the body.

 

How is invasive candidiasis treated?

The specific type and dose of antifungal medication used to treat invasive candidiasis usually depends on the patient’s age, immune status, and location and severity of the infection. For most adults, the initial recommended antifungal treatment is an echinocandin, given through an IV.

For Candidemia, treatment should continue for 2 weeks, even after signs and symptoms have resolved. Other forms of invasive candidiasis, such as infections in the bones, heart, or central nervous system usually need to be treated for a longer period of time.

What Causes Candida Infections?

There are many possible causes of candida including a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and/or alcohol, all of which helps yeast to grow. To add to that, here are some more potential causes below.

  • Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Oral Corticosteroids
  • Cancer Treatments
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened Immune System

Conclusion

Having a yeast or fungal infection isn’t often that serious, although it is something you should be looking to sort out as soon as possible. Hopefully, you found the answer to what you were looking for here, although if I didn’t something that may apply to you – please feel free to drop us a comment on this post and will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, be sure to check out the subreddit dermatology / or ask a doctor.

As always, thanks for reading & I hope I helped!

Neil,

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