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How Do I Choose the Best Over-the-Counter Ringworm Treatment?

Athlete's foot is a form of ringworm.
Creams for treating ringworm can be found at pharmacies.
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  • Written By: Marlene de Wilde
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2014
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Ringworm is an unsightly, mildly infectious fungal infection of the skin. Over-the-counter ringworm treatment is readily available and comes in the form of anti-fungal drying powder, creams, and lotions. The more effective treatments contain miconazole and clotrimazole. Ringworm is usually harmless but can be persistent, and prescription ringworm treatment in the form of anti-fungal pills may be required if this is the case.

Curing ringworm will depend on where it is on the body. Ringworm, also called tinea, can appear on the scalp, face, and bearded area of the face; in the groin area; and in the nails and toes. The best advice for sufferers of scalp ringworm is to seek medical advice, as over-the-counter ringworm treatment in the form of anti-fungal creams are unable to penetrate into the scalp. The best treatment for ringworm in this case is doctor-prescribed anti-fungal tablets containing griseofulvin, as well as the use of a shampoo containing selenium sulfide.

Treatments for ringworm on the skin, the groin area (also known as jock itch), and on the toes (athlete's foot) include topical applications of miconazole and clotrimazole, which are both effective anti-fungal agents, as well as creams containing terbinafine and griseofulvin. The best advice is to consult a pharmacist or doctor, who will base his diagnosis on where the ringworm is.

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Treating ringworm can be difficult to cure in that it spreads easily. Symptoms include itchy, scaly patches of skin, usually in the shape of a ring. Scratching at the skin causes the infection to spread. The symptoms do not appear immediately, so the sufferer may be unaware that he should be receiving treatment for a certain part of his body while he is treating another part. This can give the impression that the infection is untreatable, as it keeps appearing on different parts of the body.

Applying an over-the-counter ringworm treatment should be accompanied by other treatment strategies. Keeping the infection clean is vital, and frequent hand washing after contact ensures the containment of the fungus to one area of the body. It is also important to wash sheets and blankets every day, so as to prevent further infection.

An over-the-counter ringworm treatment needs about two weeks of application, twice a day. Any ringworm persisting after this time should be checked by a doctor, as stronger medication may be required. During the examination, a sample may be taken from the infected area to determine what kind of fungus is causing the problem, and a suitable prescription ringworm treatment given.

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Discuss this Article

discographer
Post 3

Iodine is another over-the-counter product that can be used for ringworm. But it's kind of risky because iodine can cause burns if it's kept on the skin for too long.

SteamLouis
Post 2

I don't want to sound like I was paid to promote this product, so I won't say the brand. But there is a very cheap anti-fungal, jock itch ointment at the pharmacy that is very effective against ringworm. It cleared mine up in about four days. It was recommended to me by the pharmacist. I don't have insurance right now so the only option I had for ringworm treatment was over-the-counter medications. I'm so glad this ointment worked.

My friend also told me some home remedies for ringworm like garlic but why deal with garlic when there are cheaper ointments that work.

SarahGen
Post 1

My mom is using a topical treatment right now for ringworm on the toes. It looks like a bottle of nail polish and she applies it on her nails daily. I will have to ask her about the active medication but I think it's miconazole.

She is happy with this treatment though, she was telling me yesterday that it's working. My mom has been dealing with this ringworm infection for several months now and this is the only over-the-counter treatment that has worked so far.

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