Best antifungal cream

First Aid & Treatment

Antifungal creams are specially formulated to reduce inflammation and soothe itchy skin while tackling the underlying cause of the infection.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which antifungal cream is best?

Whether it is athlete’s foot, ringworm or a yeast infection, fungal-related conditions can be difficult to treat and may take several weeks to go away. Antifungal creams are specially formulated to treat this type of infection, but choosing the right one isn’t always straightforward.

There are antifungal creams for treating a specific fungal condition, while there are others for tackling a wide range of infections. Whatever the case, the ideal antifungal cream should resolve the condition quickly. A top product that provides this type of relief is Lotrimin AF Antifungal Ringworm Cream.

What to know before you buy antifungal cream

Risk factors

There are some individual conditions that may require special attention beyond just using antifungal cream. If you have diabetes, for example, and you think you have an athlete’s foot, consult with your doctor before buying a topical cream. A weakened immune system also can increase your chance of a fungal infection. Medicine such as antibiotics and chronic diseases, including HIV and cancer, can compromise your immune system, so you consider these factors before you start treatment.

Type of infection

Antifungal creams are often available to purchase over the counter or online. Generally, most mild and common fungal infections can be resolved quickly and effectively with topical antifungal creams. Persistent fungal infections may require additional treatment. It is best to notify your doctor if you are treating a fungal infection for the first time.

Allergies

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a “false alarm,” which may cause blistering or peeling skin, difficulty breathing or swelling in some parts of the body. If you notice any of these reactions after applying a topical antifungal cream, notify your doctor. However, allergic reactions are different from side effects such as itching, redness or rash, which tend to be mild or short-lived. Another way to avoid allergies is to check with your doctor to know whether you should or should not use a particular antifungal cream.

What to look for in a quality antifungal cream

Fragrance

Fungal-related conditions such as jock itch can cause a musty, unpleasant smell. While applying topical antifungal creams can help reduce this smell over time, there are formulations with a fragrance that can mask this odor. In some cases, a perfumed antifungal cream can replace the chemical odor in the ingredients of your cream with a pleasant smell.

Waterproof barrier

If you’re an athlete and you’re worried about sweat washing off your cream, there are waterproof antifungal formulas to keep the active ingredient on your skin and prevent sweat from dissolving it. This type of product is often formulated as an ointment to provide a tight waterproof barrier and stay on the skin longer than creams. One caveat: Applying ointment may also mean a longer absorption time and too much of the active ingredients, which could be harmful.

Active ingredients

Sometimes, fungal infections may cause pain, rashes and itching. One way to solve this problem is to use topical creams that include a steroid. But note that the steroid only relieves the itching and clears the redness; it is the antifungal ingredient that cures the underlying infection causing the fungal skin condition. On the other hand, there are fungal-related conditions that could worsen if you use a steroid-containing cream. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using an antifungal cream containing a steroid.

How much you can expect to spend on antifungal cream

Antifungal cream prices vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the brand and the active ingredients. Overall, a tube of antifungal cream can cost between $8-$30.

Antifungal cream FAQ

Is there a difference between antifungal cream, lotion and ointment?

A. The significant difference between antifungal cream and lotion is that lotions have a higher water content that provides a barrier to keep the skin well hydrated. Compared to creams and lotion, ointments have a higher oil content for a better sweat- and water-resistant effect.

When is the best time to apply the antifungal cream?

A. Antifungal creams are generally applied in the morning and night. Just make sure the affected area is clean and dry before applying.

What’s the best antifungal cream to buy?

Top antifungal cream

Lotrimin AF Antifungal Ringworm Cream

Lotrimin AF Antifungal Ringworm Cream

What you need to know: This antifungal medication is effective in treating a variety of fungal-related conditions, including ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch.

What you’ll love: It gives quick relief by soothing the itching and burning due to the infection, and the overall improvement usually is noticeable within a few days. The ointment is easy to apply because it is greaseless. It is odorless and non-staining.

What you should consider: Some users complain the quantity of gel in one tube isn’t usually sufficient for the duration of treatment, so you may have to buy more than one.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top antifungal cream for the money

Home Health Antifungal Lotion

Home Health Antifungal Lotion

What you need to know: This over-the-counter antifungal lotion soothes not only the itching, scaling, burning and discomfort but effectively treats the condition, whether it is athlete’s foot, jock itch or ringworm.

What you’ll love: It is light, fast-drying and comprises beneficial botanicals and moisturizers such as cocoa butter, castor oil, lavender oil, lanolin oil, tea tree oil and thyme oil that are suitable for those with dry and sensitive skin.

What you should consider: The oils used to formulate this product are a bit unstable and may separate. To prevent this, store the lotion in a cool place.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Triple Paste AF Antifungal Nitrate Medicated Ointment

Triple Paste AF Antifungal Nitrate Medicated Ointment

What you need to know: This medicated ointment contains miconazole, an effective antifungal agent that gives fast relief from jock-itch symptoms.

What you’ll love: This product is formulated as an ointment, which gives it a sweat- and water-resistant property that can repel moisture and maintain the efficacy of the medication even when you sweat after applying it.

Where to buy: The tube has a package that may make it difficult to squeeze out the gel.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Ayotola Ogunsipe writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.