Three best antifungal creams
Most fungal infections aren't particularly serious and can be treated with the help of over-the-counter creams. These products prevent fungi from getting oxygen and proliferating. Using an antifungal cream can help you stop an infection in its tracks. Creams can also prevent conditions from getting worse, so you can avoid lengthier and more expensive doctor-prescribed treatments.
Fungal infections are extremely contagious and easy to contract. We know you try your best to wear flip-flops in the pool showers and the gym locker room, but if bad luck strikes, an OTC antifungal cream with the right active ingredient can kick that nasty athlete's foot to the curb.
Considerations when choosing
Some common symptoms that may signal you have a fungal infection include redness and cracking of the skin, very intense itching and burning, or a ring-shaped rash. In the case of a yeast infection, symptoms also include thick vaginal discharge and a fishy smell.
If your symptoms don't seem to be relieved by treatment with any OTC antifungal medications, it might be time to visit your doctor's office.
Different active ingredients treat different fungi. Most product labels clearly state which infections they're best for. Most fungal infections cause the skin to itch and burn; scratching then helps the condition to spread. If you're experiencing swelling and itching, you might want to look for a cream with additional active ingredients like aloe vera that can help soothe discomfort.
The strength of the active ingredient matters, too. A potent formula might help with an infection that's spread, but if you find yourself applying more and not getting relief, head to your doctor's office. You may need a stronger topical prescription.
Before slathering on any kind of lotion or cream, make sure to carefully read the ingredients list to check for any potential allergens. If you have a severe allergy, speak to your pharmacist before purchasing an OTC antifungal medication. If you're prone to skin reactions, test the cream on a small patch of unaffected skin before applying it to a larger area.
Antifungal cream features
Odor and consistency: Most antifungal creams aren't going to smell fantastic, but some formulas contain perfumes that help mask the smell of pungent active ingredients. Odorless formulas are available, however, and are especially useful for those with sensitive skin. Waterproof creams are a great option for swimmers and athletes.
Antifungal cream prices: A tube of antifungal cream costs about $30. A higher price doesn't necessarily mean the formula will be more effective.
Q. How does one contract a fungal infection?
A. Fungal infections are contagious and can be spread via skin-to-skin contact. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so poor hygiene can make you more susceptible to getting a fungal infection. Wearing a wet bathing suit for hours after a swim, for example, could trigger a yeast infection. You might also contract conditions like athlete's foot by going barefoot at the pool or in other public locations.
Q. How can I avoid a fungal infection?
A. Don't share footwear or towels with someone you know is affected by a fungal infection. Wear protective footwear at all times in public places such as gym locker rooms, showers, and pools. Maintain proper hygiene on a regular basis.
Q. Are antifungal creams safe?
A. Absolutely. If used as directed, topical creams of this nature are very safe. Most do not have any dangerous side effects since OTC formulas typically aren't very potent. Just be careful if you have allergies to certain medications or have very sensitive skin.
Q. Where might I get a fungal infection?
A. You can contract a fungal infection nearly anywhere on your body, though the most common spot is on the feet. Yeast infections occur in the genital region, and some fungal infections affect the nails on the hands and feet.
Antifungal creams we recommend
Best of the best: Triple Paste AF Antifungal Nitrate Medicated Ointment
Our take: Loads of rave reviews put this cream above the rest. Treats a variety of fungal conditions.
What we like: The waterproof formula contains zinc oxide in addition to its active antifungal ingredient to help relieve itching and irritation.
What we dislike: It's tough to spread the thick cream evenly on affected areas.
Best bang for your buck: Family Care Clotrimazole Antifungal Cream
Our take: A cream that offers excellent value for the price. A good choice for those with repeated exposure to fungal conditions.
What we like: The bargain price and soothing formula.
What we dislike: The cream isn't effective on all types of infections, according to reviewers.
Our take: An inexpensive cream suitable for mild infections.
What we like: Treats fungal conditions and prevents itching of the skin.
What we dislike: Not appropriate for stubborn infections. Has a pungent odor.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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