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How do I Choose the Best over-The-Counter Antifungal?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are numerous over-the-counter antifungal medications from which you can choose to treat a range of fungal conditions. You may choose the best product by selecting one with an active ingredient that is well known for its antifungal properties. You may also review the labels of the products you are considering to make sure they are intended for treating the type of fungal condition you have. Additionally, you may seek to protect your health by choosing a product that is likely to cause the fewest side effects.

One of the most important things to consider when you are trying to choose the best over-the-counter antifungal is the active ingredient that will fight the fungus. You may feel most comfortable using a product that contains a well-known antifungal that is considered safe for over-the-counter use. For example, you may prefer an antifungal that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or terbinafine as its active ingredient. Medications that contain econazole or ketoconazole may also prove helpful.

You may also consider using a preparation that contains herbal remedies. Instead of a medication, this type of preparation usually contains an herb that is well known for having antifungal properties. For example, you may find some antifungal preparations that include such herbal ingredients as tea tree oil or camphor. It is important to note, however, that scientific evidence of the effectiveness of some herbal-based products may be lacking. If you use one for the recommended period and do not notice improvement, you may do well to switch to a different treatment.

When you are trying to choose the best over-the-counter antifungal, carefully reading the labels of the products you are considering may prove helpful. You may find that some products are labeled for use against certain types of fungal conditions and may prove ineffective against others. For example, you may speculate that an antifungal treatment intended for jock itch may work just as well on a fungal condition that affects your nails. Unfortunately, however, this may not be the case. You may get the best results from an over-the-counter antifungal if you use it exactly as its label instructs.

It is important to keep in mind that even over-the-counter treatments can cause side effects. You may protect your health by choosing the product that is associated with the fewest side effects. Additionally, if you experience side effects while using an over-the-counter antifungal or develop an allergic reaction to one, you may do well to discontinue using it and seek a doctor’s advice.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon966991 — On Aug 23, 2014

This article in no way helps someone choose an anti-fungal. It is so incredibly vague it just describes what the packaging could say. This post should be, "Read the Name and Instructions for Products".

By MrsPramm — On May 26, 2013

I just want to point out that there's no reason to pay for a more expensive brand name if you know which chemical you need to treat your infection.

Over the counter products are all roughly the same and the active ingredient is usually the only thing that matters. If you pay more for something that contains the exact same amount of that ingredient then you're essentially paying for the packaging.

By Ana1234 — On May 26, 2013

@pleonasm - Honestly, I wouldn't bother for a standard fungal infection. It's very rare that they are difficult to diagnose if you've got a few pictures handy of different types (and the internet provides these pictures nicely).

Not to mention there are plenty of all-purpose anti-fungals that will take care of most of your problems.

If it persists I would definitely take myself along to the doctor, but if it looks like ringworm and feels like ringworm, and you've been in contact with pets that have ringworm recently, I would say just go and buy over the counter already.

It is almost certainly going to be much cheaper, no matter how much the prescription is, when you add up the doctor fee and everything.

By pleonasm — On May 25, 2013

Unless you absolutely know what you're treating, the first thing I would do is go to a doctor and find out. It's all very well to find the best treatment for ringworm, but if you're using it to treat a different kind of infection then it's not going to do very much.

If you go to the doctor they'll probably be able to write you a prescription, which will be more powerful and probably cost around the same. It's definitely something to consider.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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