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Best Antifungal Creams

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best antifungal creams

    Last Updated December 2018

    Antifungal creams help kill off fungal cells. They treat fungal infections that have affected the skin or nails and are not meant to be ingested or used internally. Fungal infections of the skin are much less severe than internal ones, which is why you can purchase antifungal creams over the counter.

    You can get a fungal infection pretty much anywhere on your body, but it's very common for people to get fungal infections on their feet. A weak immune system is a risk factor that can make people more susceptible to contracting fungal infections.

    We've put together information on what to consider when selecting an antifungal cream in our shopping guide, where you’ll also find symptom information for the most common fungal infections and tips to help you cope.

    Fungus thrives in moisture. Avoid wearing wet socks, a damp swimsuit, or sweaty workout clothes longer than you need to.

    Questions to ask when shopping for antifungal cream

    What ailment are you seeking to treat?

    Different types of fungus require different types of antifungal cream. The packaging or label may tell you whether a cream is useful for treating a particular ailment. If not, look for the active ingredient. For example, terbinafine is effective for treating ringworm, jock itch, and athlete's foot. Miconazole is used to treat the aforementioned ailments and yeast infections, too.

    Some antifungal creams include ingredients that help with other symptoms as well, such as inflammation.

    Do you have an itch that won’t go away? It could be a dry skin condition like eczema, but don’t discount the possibility of a fungal infection.

    How potent do you need the medication to be?

    The amount of actual medication in an antifungal cream is displayed on the packaging. A cream may not be potent enough to treat your infection if you have ignored it for a length of time. If your infection is not responding to topical treatments, please visit a doctor, as you may require a stronger prescription or an oral medication.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some natural treatments for fungal skin infections exist, including the application of tea tree oil.

    Are you allergic to any medications?

    If you're allergic to any kind of medication, ask your pharmacist whether it's safe to use an antifungal cream. If you're taking any other medications, it's also wise to inquire about possible interactions. And if you’re unsure of what kind of skin condition you have, see a doctor.

    Please also keep in mind that some antifungal creams used for vaginal fungal infections or the treatment of jock itch can damage contraceptive devices such as condoms.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If an antifungal cream irritates your skin, stop using it.

    How much medication do you need?

    Depending on your skin condition, you might need to reapply the antifungal cream for several days or weeks. Choose an appropriately sized tube or container of cream so you don't run out and skip a treatment day. If your condition requires lengthy treatment, a larger tube would probably be less expensive in the long run.

    Do you have sensitive skin or another skin condition?

    People with sensitive skin should opt for an antifungal cream with moisturizer or an ingredient like aloe vera to prevent over-drying and irritation. Users with eczema should be careful when choosing a topical fungal treatment. Creams with hydrocortisone can help relieve painful itching.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you’re sensitive to strong smells, be sure to choose an odorless antifungal formula.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Would you prefer an odorless antifungal cream?

    Most medicated creams have some kind of odor, but for people who are sensitive to strong smells, odorless creams are available.

    For those with sensitive skin, perfumed cream can cause an allergic reaction. Many antifungal treatments designed to treat vaginal yeast infections have strong flowery scents. These can irritate some women and may also mask smells that signal a more severe infection or issue. Choose an unscented antifungal cream if you are prone to reactions or have sensitive skin.

    Should you buy a waterproof antifungal cream?

    A waterproof antifungal cream is a good idea for athletes or others who don't want to worry about sweat washing off their treatment. It’s also useful for forgetful users who might end up showering after applying the medicated cream.

    EXPERT TIP

    A waterproof antifungal cream won’t simply wash off when you shower or take a dip in the pool.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Types of fungal infections

    Various fungal infections can affect the skin. Mild cases can be treated with topical creams, gels, or ointments. More severe skin infections may require the use of oral antifungals.

    Below, you'll find a list of fungal-related skin conditions and their symptoms. If you’ve never been diagnosed with a fungal infection, see your doctor to make sure the skin problem is not something else. The symptoms listed below are not exhaustive and should not be read as such.

    If ever in doubt, visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis for your skin condition.

    Athlete's foot

    Symptoms include painful cracking and irritation of the skin in the foot area and severe itching.

    Jock itch

    Symptoms include itching or the development of a rash in the groin and surrounding areas.

    EXPERT TIP

    Creams with moisturizers tend to take a bit longer to dry, but they are a good choice for users with dry skin.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Ringworm

    Ringworm causes a distinct, ring-shaped rash that can easily be spread via direct skin contact.

    Yeast infection

    Symptoms of a yeast infection include uncomfortable itching in the area of the vagina and abnormal discharge. Self-diagnosis is not recommended, as many other conditions have similar symptoms.

    Store your antifungal cream according to package instructions. Normally, a location that’s cool and dry is best.

    FAQ

    Q. How much does antifungal cream cost?
    A.
    You’re not likely to pay more than $30 for a topical antifungal treatment, although price will increase with the size of the container or tube. Generally speaking, price does not correlate with quality or effectiveness when it comes to antifungal creams.

    Q. What kind of fungal infections can be treated using antifungal cream?
    A.
    Antifungal creams can treat a variety of fungal infections including but not limited to ringworm, athlete's foot, and vaginal yeast infections.

    Q. Are there any side effects to using antifungal creams?
    A.
    One of the advantages of topical treatments is that they have very few known side effects. One of the worst symptoms that could occur is irritation or rash in some individuals.

    Q. Are there ways to prevent picking up a fungus and getting fungal infections on my feet?
    A.
     Although some people are certainly more susceptible to this type of infection, everyone can lower their risk of contracting a foot fungus. Cover your feet in public areas, especially those that are known for being moist or wet. Keep your feet dry; fungus likes moisture! If you are prone to sweaty feet, use powders or sweat-wicking socks to keep moisture at bay.

    Q. How can I tell if I have a fungal infection on my nails?
    A.
    If your nails have been infected by fungus, they'll usually look discolored (probably yellow in color) and will break or crumble easily. A foul smell is often associated with fungal infections.

    Q. How can I prevent future yeast infections?
    A.
    It's unfortunate that some women are prone to this uncomfortable type of infection. Some strategies for preventing future yeast infections include avoiding tight clothing, changing out of wet or damp clothes immediately after a swim or workout, and changing tampons or pads frequently. A healthy diet is essential in helping prevent yeast infections. It's also recommended that women avoiding the practice of douching, as this can harm the natural pH balance of the vagina.

    Q. I spend lots of time at the public pool. How can I protect myself from fungal infections?
    A.
    Whatever you do, avoid going barefoot anywhere. Fungal infections are very contagious, and it's easy to pick them up just by walking in the same place as someone else affected. Get some water shoes, or wear sandals or other protective footwear until you get into the water. When heading back home, make sure your body is completely dry before putting on your socks, shoes, and other clothing.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer

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