After 11 hours of research evaluating 45 products, we picked Family Care Clotrimazole Anti Fungal Cream as our top choice.
The average person spends anywhere from 6-12 hours per day wearing shoes and socks. Not just comfortable shoes for use at the office, but running shoes, gym shoes, and shoes to work around the house. All that time with your feet trapped can drastically increase your risk of tinea pedis.
More commonly known as "athlete's foot".
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection on your feet, usually beginning between your toes and spreading to your toenails and hands. Thankfully, it's not too difficult to figure out how to get rid of athlete's foot. Most topical athlete's foot treatment creams have a 70% success rate and will work within a couple of weeks.
But which is the best?
With so many creams and unguents available in supermarkets, grocery stores, and over the counter at pharmacies, you're likely overwhelmed by the large variety of options to choose from.
But don't worry, we've done the work for you! We have researched just about every athlete's foot cream available to find the most effective products on the market.
Below are our top six recommendations to cure your athlete's foot. Now, happy reading!
• Cheap and available in every pharmacy and supermarket
• Effective; undecylenic acid stops the fungal growth in its tracks
• Strong formula, useful for many infections, efficient penetration
Inexpensive, available everywhere, effective, reliable, softens callouses, absorbed into the skin quickly, gets rid of infections on the microbial level, combats serious infections efficiently, and prevents the spread of infection.
Leaves a greasy film on your skin, and regular application is required.
Details: This cream is one you'll find in EVERY supermarket, grocery store, pharmacy, and even in many convenience stores. It's one of the most widely available brands—for good reason, thanks to its efficiency. It's designed to completely clear up your athlete's foot over the course of four weeks.
The cream contains undecylenic acid, a fatty acid that counteracts the fungal infection on a microbial level. The fatty acid disrupts the fungal cells, killing them off and preventing their spread. It also hinders the production of the enzyme that allows the fungi to reproduce and worsen the infection.
The product is medicated with a glycerin base (which can interact negatively with some users' skin), and it's highly effective when applied at least twice a day. It can be used while wearing shoes and socks, though some people find the greasy texture a bit annoying. However, there's no strong smell, so it won't bother you as you apply it. The cream will protect your hands and prevent the fungal infection from spreading to your toes and fingernails.
Price: At $18 for a 6-pack, this is one of the most cost-effective options on the list. It's pricier than our top-rated pick and not quite as effective, but it's a medicated cream that gets the job done every time.
• Tea tree oil makes short work of bacterial and fungal infections
• Can be used to treat jock itch, body odor, acne, nail fungus, athlete's foot, and more
• Natural ingredients protect and nourish your skin
Antifungal and antibacterial soap that's useful for treating ALL fungal infections. Additionally, it's easily applied, leaves no greasy residue, absorbs quickly into your skin, effective, amazing range of natural ingredients, reduced risk of skin irritation, and features a cooling and soothing formula.
You have to use a lot per application.
Details: This is a totally new approach to treating your athlete's foot. Instead of using a greasy ointment or thick cream, this antibacterial and antifungal soap is light and airy. It absorbs quickly into your skin, killing off the fungi causing your athlete's foot. It also contains natural ingredients like Vitamin E to protect your skin and lock the moisture in place.
The Vitamins A and C in the cream are amazing for your skin, and the essential oils (eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree) will help to kill off the fungi causing the infection. It's great for those who are incessantly scratching their feet! The formula is also cooling and soothing, helping to deal with the itchiness and heat common with athlete's foot.
The soap is designed to be used for more than just athlete's foot—it can treat jock itch, toenail fungus, dry and chapped skin, ringworm, bad armpit odor, bacterial skin infections, and acne infections. It's made without parabens, petroleum products, silicone, and any artificial dyes or chemicals. It not be as fast-acting as a medicated cream, but it gets the job done naturally.
Be warned: it's thinner than your average cream, so you will end up applying more every time. This means you'll go through the bottle of antibacterial soap quicker than other products.
Price: At $15, this is a very well-priced product. You get 9 fluid ounces per bottle, and it should last you for weeks of daily use. It can be used as an antibacterial soap/hand sanitizer or to treat your athlete's foot infection. So overall, this is an effective, versatile product.
• An all-natural approach to treating athlete's foot
• Antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties
• Soft, soothing, and highly effective
Homeopathic, contains essential oils, no artificial or chemical ingredients, great for your skin health, soothes infected and cracked skin, no greasy residue left behind, and suitable for use anywhere.
Some risk of allergic reactions, and it's a bit pricey.
Details: Worried about the athlete's foot infection spreading to your toenails or hands? Use this lotion to help you treat and combat the infection! The essential oils (tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender) will fight the fungi causing the infection, preventing them from spreading and speeding up healing. Thanks to its all-natural ingredients, you have a homeopathic approach to treating your athlete's foot.
The formula is designed to soothe inflamed skin, preventing itching and pain. The essential oils also kill off the odors and leave your feet smelling beautiful. Application is easy and won't leave behind a greasy residue, so it's great for use just before wearing shoes. The beeswax and olive oil will infuse your skin with a protective layer that will reduce dryness and further infection.
There are no artificial or chemical ingredients to irritate your skin. However, this has two drawbacks: the natural ingredients may cause allergic reactions, and it's not as quick-acting as medicated/OTC athlete's foot creams.
Price: At $35, this is the priciest of the athlete's foot creams on our list. It's worth it if you want a homeopathic remedy for your infection, but prepare to pay high prices. (Note: the manufacturer offers a 180-day Money Back Guarantee, so you can get a full refund if the cream doesn't work to your satisfaction.)
• Combat bad smells and athlete's foot the natural way
• All organic and natural ingredients; GMO, soy, paraben, and phthalate-free
• Everything you need to care for your feet
Organic ingredients, highly effective, smells beautiful, moisturizing, odor-killing, GMO-free, no phthalates or parabens, soothing, great for dry skin, and protect your feet from bacteria.
Not suitable for SERIOUS infections.
Details: If you've got a serious case of athlete's foot, you may be better off with medicated cream. However, for a minor fungal infection, this cream does an amazing job of curbing fungal growth. Thanks to its coconut oil and tea tree oil content, you can kill off bacteria and fungus, preventing bad smells as well as reducing the risk of infections.
The cream contains 10 organic and natural ingredients, including lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil. It's fully non-GMO, soy-free, and contains no phthalates or parabens. The essential oils give it a beautifully fresh smell, and it's highly effective as a moisturizer to prevent skin dryness and cracked skin.
The cream is absorbed into your skin effectively, providing long-lasting coverage. It's amazing to use as a foot massage cream, and the nutrients in the cream will improve your skin health. If you have thick calluses, it can be used to soften them.
Price: The price tag on this organic cream is a bit high: a little over $16 for a 4-ounce jar. However, given its effectiveness against fungal infections and bacterial odors, you'll find it's a useful cream to have handy!
• A great product for dry and cracked feet; hydrating and anti-fungal
• Protect your feet from infection and dry skin
• Soothing, unscented, and hypoallergenic
Ideal for athletes, fast-acting, moisturizing, concentrated dose, great for sensitive skin, protects the skin, locks in moisture, heals dry/cracked skin, and works great as an overnight cream.
Not as effective as medicated creams.
• Highly effective cream for most fungal infections
• One of the best-priced options for treating athlete's foot
• Easy to apply, doesn't leave greasy film on your fingers
Great value, excellent effectiveness, versatile, medicated, comes in a pack of five, fragrance-free, no greasy texture, and it's great for toenails and skin between the toes.
Generic brand, and it takes a bit longer to treat than some products.
Details: This product is made with Clotrimazole, a fungistatic agent that disrupts the membrane development of fungal cells rather than killing off the fungi (fungicide). This means it has a slower treatment time than other medications (Terbinafine, for example). However, it's faster-acting than Tolnaftate, and has a higher success rate. It's effective not just for athlete's foot, but can be used for jock itch, ringworm, and most other fungal infections.
The 1% concentration of Clotrimazole is the same as you get from brand name creams like Lotrimin, but this 5-pack of generic (store brand) anti-fungal cream is far cheaper.
Applying the cream is easy: simply squeeze the tube and apply the cream to your toenails and the skin between your toes. It doesn't leave a greasy film on your hands or feet, and there's no nasty fragrance. The risk of skin irritation is low, so it's good for those with sensitivity to medicated creams. All in all, the best choice for dealing with your athlete's foot!
Price: At just over $8 for a 5-pack of cream, this is one of the best-priced products on our list. Add in its high effectiveness, and you've got an awesome option for treating your fungal infection.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
The medical term for athlete’s foot is tinia pedis. It’s a very common skin infection that affects the feet and can spread to other parts of the body. Although generally not serious, the symptoms are unpleasant and bothersome.
It’s caused by fungi that thrive in warm and moist environments. The heat and humidity in and around the feet when wearing shoes, provide a fertile breeding ground for the fungi that cause athlete’s foot. The areas between the toes are particularly favorable for fungus growth.
Who Gets Athlete’s Foot?
The term “athlete’s foot” contributes to the mistaken belief that the condition only afflicts athletes. In fact, it is estimated that athlete’s foot affects 15% of the world’s population, or about 785 million people.
While anyone can get athlete’s foot, some are more prone than others. Adults are more likely to get athlete’s foot than children. Men are more susceptible than women. Persons with weakened immune systems due to cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes are more vulnerable than most. Individuals with hyperhydrosis (excessively active sweat glands) run an increased probability of infection and recurrence. Also, persons who have had athletes foot stand a much higher chance of getting it again.
What are the Signs of Athlete’s Foot?
Athletes foot is caused by different species of fungi, primarily Trichophyton, Epidermophyton and Microsporum. The symptoms are divided into four groups of classification. The characteristics depend largely on which fungus caused the infection. Some symptoms may differ in severity according to skin types. All forms of athlete’s foot share a common trait: itching.
Toe Web Infection
Also called an interdigital infection which means infection between the fingers or toes. It’s the most common form of athlete’s foot. The area between the fourth and fifth (pinkie) toes is the most commonly affected. There may be redness and a burning sensation on the affected area along with scaling or peeling.
It gets its name from the rash that covers the soles and sides of a foot. Initially, there may be dryness and slight irritation on the affected area. As the condition progresses, the skin around the heel may thicken and eventually peel or crack. This type of athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, which needs separate treatment.
This kind of athlete’s foot is marked by the appearance of fuel-filled blisters. The blisters typically develop on the soles or between the toes. If scratched, the tiny blisters will easily break. Ruptured blisters may get infected with bacteria. A secondary outbreak of blisters can occur on the fingers, arms or chest. The symptoms worsen during summer.
Athlete’s foot of this sort is the least common. It’s characterized by open sores that are vulnerable to bacterial infection. The exposed lesions may emit a smelly discharge. There may be pain, swelling and redness on the affected area.
What are the Complications of Athlete’s Foot?
When complications arise, athlete’s foot becomes more serious and harder to treat.
The primary complication of athlete’s foot is the infection that results from vigorous scratching, and cracked skin. Signs of bacterial infection from athlete’s foot involve swelling, pain and tenderness on the affected area, and visible pus on the wound or wounds. In severe cases, fever occurs.
Toenail fungal infections often develop alongside athlete’s foot because the types of fungi that bring about both are the same. Visible indications of a toenail fungal infection include discoloration and thickening of one or more nails.
Infections from athlete’s foot need the immediate attention of a medical practitioner.
How can you get Athlete’s Foot?
It’s very easy to fall victim to athlete’s foot. That’s because there are so many ways to acquire and transmit the disease. The fungi that produce athlete’s foot are related to other fungi that cause ringworm and jock itch.
These fungi flourish in warm and wet locations. They are present in public swimming pools, locker rooms and gym showers, among other places. When these fungi come into contact with an ideal human host, athlete’s foot begins.
Athlete’s foot can be contracted through direct contact with an infected person. It can be transferred from skin to skin. Such as, when shaking hands, playing contact sports or touching any infected part of the body.
Athlete’s foot can be contracted indirectly through an infected individual’s personal items and belongings. An infected person’s clothing, shoes, socks, towels and bedsheets can pass on athlete’s foot fungi to others that come into contact with them.
Who are at Risk for Athlete’s Foot?
As the fungi that cause it are easy to acquire, anybody can be afflicted by athlete’s foot. However, there are habits that greatly increase the chances of getting athlete’s foot:
How to Prevent Athlete’s Foot
Observe the following measures to keep your feet fungus-free and avoid getting athlete’s foot:
How to Cure Athlete’s Foot
If you get athlete’s foot, there are a number of ways to treat it.
Home and Natural Remedies:
Tea Tree Oil - The oil is derived from the leaves of the tea tree that commonly grows in Australia. It is said to have antibacterial and antifungal features. Tea tree oil shouldn’t be applied to skin undiluted. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to olive oil or baby oil and rub gently on the feet. It can also be added to warm water then used as a footbath to kill fungi and protect other areas of the feet from infection.
Garlic - The medicinal and therapeutic benefits of garlic have been well documented. In scientific studies, it was found that garlic releases sulfur compounds when crushed, chopped or chewed. These compounds contain active antifungal properties. Make a foot soak by mixing three to four cloves of crushed garlic in a basin of warm water. Immerse the feet in the mixture for 30 minutes twice daily.
Ginger - Like garlic, ginger possesses powerful antifungal characteristics. Finely chop a medium-sized ginger and boil it in water for about 20 minutes. Wait for it to cool then apply the liquid directly to the feet to fight off infection. Let stay for at least 30 minutes to allow the liquid to seep through the skin. Do this once a day and make a fresh batch each time. This mixture also helps neutralize odors from oozing blisters.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Iodine – Both ingredients are used to disinfect cuts, scrapes and wounds. Their antiseptic qualities are enhanced when used together as a solution. A hydrogen peroxide and iodine solution has been found to eliminate 16 different kinds of fungi. Mix 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and ½ teaspoon iodine in a bucket of water. Soak the feet in the mixture for 15-20 minutes daily.
Over-The-Counter Medication: A Few Things to Consider
Athlete’s foot pharmaceutical treatment options can be confusing. Here are a few pointers on what attributes a medication should have in order to be effective.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. Make sure the active ingredients are antifungal. Antifungal medicines work by killing fungal cells and preventing fungal cells from reproducing. The most common antifungals for athlete’s foot are clotrimazole, econazole, terbinafine and ketoconazole. Nearly all antifungal medicines are generic, non-prescription brands. Remember that when using over-the-counter medication to self-treat, read the package label information thoroughly.
Athlete’s foot causes considerable damage to the skin. It produces dryness, scaling, cracking, peeling, irritation and pain. Athlete’s foot medication should have ingredients that soothe the skin. Look for skin-relieving ingredients like aloe vera, sea kelp or a combination of two or more vitamins.
Athlete’s foot generates swelling and redness. An effective athlete’s foot treatment should contain an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce swelling, as well as relieve pain and itching.
Method of Application
Athlete’s foot treatments come in many forms and can be applied in several ways. There are soaps, ointments, creams, powder sprays and liquid sprays. Choosing which one depends entirely on your lifestyle. When at work at the office, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take off your shoes at various times of the day to apply athlete’s foot cream. While a liquid or powder spray would be best for this situation, sprays are typically less efficient than creams or ointments.