Article by: Clinical Marketing Project Students, Taylor Mills, Rebecca Reeve, Sarah Ruggles, and Tonia Hall-Wade
When treating cases of fungal infections like ringworm or athletes foot, one may become confused due to the amount of products that are on the market. Other than knowing what a specific brand treats, how often do people actually look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle? It is important to not let the fancy brand names fool customers in the selection of the right product. Fortunately, this article is aimed to inform readers what ingredients are best to treat ringworm and athlete’s foot.
As gross as this topic may be, it is estimated that over 20% of Americans have some form of fungal infection. Dermatophytes are fungi that cause skin, hair, and nail infections. Infections caused by these fungi are also sometimes known as “ringworm” or “athlete’s foot”. There are more categories of fungal infections, but this article is reserved to ringworm and athletes foot since they can be treated with over the counter measures.
Most fungi live in the soil and are involved in decomposition, but they can infect living hosts. Usually, ringworm and athlete’s foot are not dangerous because the fungi only feed on dead skin cells. However, fungal infections are easily spread by direct contact with an infected person or animal, bedding, or clothing.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include irritation and burning between the toes with scaling and odor that proceed. The reason fungal infections occur on the feet is because fungus thrives in warm and humid climates. Ringworm also occurs on areas of the body that are moist such as below the armpit. Ringworm presents as ring shaped, scaly region with central clearing.
Fortunately, these minor conditions can be treated with over the counter products. Before going through the best active ingredients, it is important to go over what form of treatment is best. For instance, there are advertisements all over television for creams, sprays, powders and solutions. So which one is most effective? The best forms of treatment are actually creams and powders because they are rubbed into the skin unlike sprays and solutions. For lesions that are leaking fluid it is best to treat with an astringent like aluminum salt before antifungal treatment. This dries out the lesion so that antifungal treatment will be more effective.
One group of ingredients to look for that treats both ringworm and athlete’s foot are clotrimazole 1% and miconazole nitrate 2%. A common brand containing these ingredients is Lotrimin cream or powder. Another active ingredient that treats both conditions is butenafine which is commonly included in Lotrimin ultra. Lastly, tolnaftate which is in Tinactin, is used to treat both conditions and is the only compound approved for treat and preventing future fungal infections. All of these treatments should last around 2-4 weeks.
It is important to combine these over the counter treatments with nonpharmacological treatments. Nonpharmacological treatment includes keeping the affected area clean and dry, avoiding contact with infected individuals or pets, and not sharing bedding.
If you have any questions regarding more information on the best products to choose, contact a pharmacist at your local Fruth pharmacy.