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Uses of Antifungal Creams

You can use antifungal creams to treat several fungal infections of the skin, including ringworm, athlete's foot, jock itch and yeast infections. Each antifungal cream contains one or more active ingredients, and each fungal infection responds best to a different medication. Knowing which cream to use for a specific fungal infection will help you get rid of it quickly and efficiently.

Treatment of Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin characterized by a red circle with healthy looking skin in the middle. Ringworm that occurs on the scalp is called tinea capitis; when it occurs anywhere else on the body it is called tinea corporis. Mold-like fungi called dermatophytes cause ringworm. You can come into contact with these dermatophytes by touching infected humans, animals, objects or soil. Your body will usually clear a ringworm infection within two weeks, and topical antifungal creams can help. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should treat ringworm with a fungal cream that contains one of the following active ingredients: butenafine, terbinafine, oxiconazole, ciclopirox, econazole or miconazole.

Treatment of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot, also called tinea pedis, occurs in the moist areas between the toes and usually causes itching, stinging and burning. This fungal infection occurs more commonly in men, especially those who frequently wear damp socks or tight-fitting shoes. The infection tends to spread in public places, such as pools or gym locker rooms, where people walk around barefoot. If you suspect you have athlete's foot, you should treat it with an antifungal cream or spray containing one of these active ingredients: terbinafine, miconazole or clotrimazole.

Treatment of Jock Itch

Jock itch is another fungal infection similar to ringworm. It occurs in the skin of the inner thighs, genitals and buttocks. Also known as tinea cruris, jock itch causes a red, itchy and often ring-shaped rash. Like ring worm, dermatophytes cause jock itch. These dermatophytes normally live on your skin, and keeping your skin clean and dry controls them. When the skin of the thighs, genitals and buttocks become moist and warm for extended periods of time, jock itch is likely to occur. The condition gets its name from the fact that it most frequently occurs in athlete's who spend much of their time hot and sweating. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should treat jock itch with a fungal cream that contains naftifine, terbinafine, miconazole, clotrimazole, econazole or oxiconazole.

Treatment of Yeast Infections

All yeast infections belong to a general class of diseases called cutaneous candidiasis. A yeast-like fungus called candida causes yeast infections, and it grows in moist, warm areas, including the groin, armpits, fingernails, mouth and the vagina. Candidiasis of the mouth, also called thrush, occurs more frequently in people whose immune systems are compromised and can be an indication of a more serious disease, such as AIDS. The symptoms of yeast infections include rashes, patches that ooze fluid, itching, burning, pimples, swelling, pus and pain. Thrush is indicated by painful white patches on the tongue and the insides of the cheeks. Vaginal yeast infections often occur with a white or yellow vaginal discharge, burning, itching and redness in the skin around the vagina. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should treat a yeast infection with an antifungal cream that contains butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, or terconazole.