Suspecting that you have a fungal infection is never fun.
Luckily, for many fungal infections involving the skin, you can pretty easily handle them with over-the-counter products and a quick chat with your friendly local pharmacist.
But, if what you are dealing with seems to involve the fingernails or toenails, that is a different story.
Nail fungal infections (onychomycosis) may need some more intense prescription medications, like those found in our Strut Nail Formula.
In this article, we will go over the basics of topical antifungal creams, how they work, how to use them, and where to find them.
The term Antifungal cream applies to a lot of different classes of chemicals that are specifically developed to be able to kill or inhibit the growth of fungal cells.
The most common antifungal creams are available over the counter in a one chemical cream, although some combination medications or higher strengths are prescription only.
The main reasons why someone would be looking for an antifungal cream would be to treat ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, or toenail fungus.
If you suspect you may have a fungus, please do not attempt to get rid of it by taking that half bottle of antibiotics you have lingering in the back of your medicine cabinet!
A fungus is not a bacteria and will not respond to antibiotics, and you will be setting yourself up for antibiotic resistance in addition to unnecessary medication use.
Depending on the exact antifungal chemical used, they generally work by blocking some integral part of fungal cell growth or replication.
Most antifungals will block a component of the cell membranes called ergosterol, or block DNA synthesis or cell division.
Antifungals tend to focus on parts of the fungal cell that do not make up parts of human cells, to better target only the fungal cells - and not you.
If you are treating something on the skin like ringworm, it may only be around 2-4 weeks of antifungal treatment for the skin fungus to clear.
And, as with any over-the-counter treatment, if you tried it and did not see any results, it is time to schedule a doctor’s appointment or consultation to see what prescription options are available.
If you are treating something more complicated like a toenail fungus, you are better off starting with a doctor’s consultation.
Even with treatment, it may take a year or more for the fungus to fully clear.
But, be patient!
This partially has to do with toenails taking about 12-18 months to fully grow out.
And, if the treatment goes well, when they grow out the fungus will grow out with them.
If you are applying the cream for a topical skin infection, apply the cream to clean dry skin once or twice daily at about the same time each day until the infection has cleared or as instructed by your doctor.
For application to a nail fungus, soak nails in warm soapy water to help “open up” the nails.
Then, apply the cream once or twice daily as directed and allow to dry.
For antifungal creams, consistency is key!
For all medications be sure to wash your hands after application.
For most skin conditions you can find one ingredient products over the counter.
The over the counter creams include Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), Miconazole (Desonex), Terbinafine (LamisilAT), Tolnaftate (Tinactin), and Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra).
If you are not sure which one is best to use for your condition, ask the pharmacist at the pharmacy before your purchase.
For the more complicated fungal infections including those in toenails, you are better off having a consultation with a doctor to look into getting a stronger product that is developed for high nail penetration.
Our Strut Nail Formula combines 2 antifungal agents with a pharmaceutical-grade driving agent to make sure it gets into those stubborn nails.
(We bypass that uncomfortable office visit by conducting a comprehensive online consultation, and sending the medication directly and discreetly to your front door.)
An antifungal cream is a cream formulated with one or more chemicals that target fungal cells.
Antifungal creams work by either killing or slowing the growth of fungal cells.
Antifungal creams are used to treat ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, or toenail fungus
Topical fungus infections like ringworm may clear up after using an antifungal for 2-4weeks, but nail fungus can take a year or more to clear with treatment and may need a prescription medication.
Apply creams to the affected area once or twice daily, at about the same time if you can.
For nail infections, soak the nails in warm soapy water before treatment to enhance the penetration of the medication.
Use consistently for best results.