Toenail Fungus OTC Treatments

What is the Best Over the Counter Toenail Fungal Cream?

Toenail fungus is a common complaint. If the condition is left untreated, the fungus will grow and spread to other toes (or people).

In severe cases, you will feel various degrees of pain and discomfort. In the most severe cases, the toenail will turn black and eventually fall off. This makes it uncomfortable to wear shoes/socks, and it’ll be awkward to walk.

Foot fungus weakens the protein in the nail which causes deformation. Fungal infections are also a primary cause of smelly feet. That’s why a majority of people opt for the best over-the-counter toenail fungus cream to clear up the condition.

If you have foot fungus or notice signs that could be a fungal infection, it’s best practice to treat the condition in the early stages with a specially formulated anti-fungal cream. Don’t risk letting the infection take hold and spreading to your toes and feet.

Why Use Anti-Fungal Toenail Fungus Cream?

One of the advantages of using a cream is that it is so incredibly easy to apply. All that you have to do is rub them into your skin where the infection is and let the ingredients get to work.

Antifungal creams kill fungal cells and provide patients with symptomatic relief. The natural ingredients are effective at killing fungus and preventing the infection from getting any worse.

Active ingredients in fungal creams also help to cool the feet. The soothing agents will reduce irritation and enhance blood circulation which helps to fight the growth of fungus.

Many people will initially develop fungal infections on the skin, either around the toes, the bottom of the feet or both. This fungal condition is classed as an external infection and is easy to treat with an over-the-counter fungal cream.

How Soon Will I See Results?

Treating foot infections with over-the-counter fungal creams can take as little as 14 days to start taking effect.

  • Fact: For fungal growth in the early stages, the average healing time with over-the-counter fungal creams is 2-6 months.

If you leave fungal infections to take root, however, they become internal, which is much more difficult to treat. Healing timeframes can take 12-18 months to clear the condition.

What Happens if I Leave Fungus Untreated?

Canceling out fungal infections with cream before it becomes uncontrollable is recommended. If you leave fungi to grow, it will spread under the skin and toenail.

This not only becomes harder to treat but also takes longer to heal. There is also a higher risk of encountering complications following certain prescription medicines.

In this guide, we explain how effective the best fungal creams, the ingredients you should be looking for in antifungal formulas, and the type of fungal infections each of the creams are best used for treating.

What Are the Types of Anti-Fungal Creams?

Fungal infections can develop in different forms, namely athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, yeast infections, and ringworm. Each of these infections can be treated with specially formulated fungal creams.

Most topical products are suitable for all types of nail fungus infections whereas others are specific to a particular complaint. Because of their natural ingredients, the formulated creams are safer alternatives than chemical-filled ointments and pharmaceutical drugs that can cause nasty side effects.

Check the packaging or label to make sure the fungal cream you are considering contains the active ingredient(s) that will be best suited for your condition.

  • Example: topical creams that contain clotrimazole, miconazole nitrate and terbinafine are best suited for external fungal. However, because they do not penetrate the skin, they will not be effective in the fight to treat internal infections such as deep-rooted toenail fungus.

Some creams also contain natural ingredients, such as menthol or thymol, that help to reduce inflammation.

But don’t worry about ingredients just yet, we will explain exactly what you need to look for to treat your foot condition in this article.

What’s the Best Toenail Fungus Cream?

Okay, you must be dying to know which is the best over-the-counter fungal cream so let’s get straight into this.

Our choice is Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment, simply because it’s an all-in-one treatment that is said to kill 99.9% of all foot fungus.

However, not all fungal creams will work for everyone. As is the case with all medicines, there is no one miracle cure.

Let’s take a look at why Scholl is so effective.

Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment

Topical treatments are a popular and effective way of tackling mild fungal infections. The active ingredients work to inhibit the growth of fungus and repair the nail plate.

Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment is a topical ointment that is scientifically proven to effectively treat mild fungal infections in the early stages of development. The combination of natural ingredients kills the fungus and stops the infection from spreading.

The Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment uses a two-step system. The first step is to kill the fungal infection and prevent it from reaching other areas. The second phase is to nourish the nail until it is restored to good health. This is when you will notice an improvement in appearance.

The manufacturers also claim the treatment can help the infection from reoccurring. However, it should be noted that you need to take good care of your feet once you stop using a treatment.

The product is easy to use. The Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment package comprises five hygienic disposable nail files together with an advanced nail liquid.

Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment Review

What Are the Ingredients?

  • Isopropanol – contains antimicrobial properties that are effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The alcohol content inhibits the growth of fungi and coagulates proteins.
  • Glycerine – absorbs moisture, removes dead cells and increases the thickness of the epidermal layer which strengthens skin.
  • Citric acid – inhibits the growth of fungi.
  • D-Panthenol – provides moisture and nourishment to skin and helps to facilitate the regeneration of the nail.
  • Urea – softens keratin and helps to restore protein in the nails and skin, leaving them healthy and intact.
  • Xanthan gum – a forming agent with properties that help to stop the spread of infections.
  • Sodium benzoate – a preservative used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus

How Long Does It Take to Work?

The length of time it takes for Scholl antifungal cream to clear toenail fungus will depend on the severity of the condition. The treatment is most suitable for mild conditions. The ointment works in two phases.

The first phase kills the fungus and takes about four weeks. The second phase encourages the growth of a new nail so that the fungus grows out and is replaced by a new, healthy nail.

The Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment includes a nail file and an advanced nail liquid. Both items should be used regularly to speed up recovery. Using the nail file to remove keratin debris from underneath the toenail, and filing away the thickness of the nail will gradually improve the appearance and make it easier to apply the nail liquid.

The advanced nail liquid is specially formulated to penetrate the nail and destroy the fungal infection. The active ingredients break the bonds between the nail cells and hydrates the area to soften the nail.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

There is little risk of experiencing any side effects after using Scholl’s treatment. But people with sensitive skin may experience an allergic reaction to the active ingredients. If you do experience any side effects, consult a doctor.

Lamisil Cream

Lamisil is a well-known antifungal prescription medication. It is the first choice that doctors recommend for toenail fungus. However, the oral medication can have unpleasant side effects.

Subsequently, Lamisil Athletes Foot Fungal Cream was developed as an over-the-counter topical treatment for milder complaints. The formulas natural ingredients are designed to reduce symptoms and eliminate infections fast.

  • Tip: The product is designed to be used three to four times per day and is to be applied directly to the affected area. It is recommended that you trim the nail as close as possible to the tip of the toes to gain direct access to the fungus.

The primary focus of Lamisil cream is to target infected regions and penetrate the skin. This helps to prevent the fungus from growing. The product contains many ingredients that are proven, antifungal agents.

Lamisil cream is recommended for athlete’s foot when it occurs between the toes.

What Are the Ingredients?

  • Terbinafine – antifungal properties that are effective at killing fungal infections.
  • Sodium hydroxide – removes discoloration that appears in skin and nails.
  • Benzyl alcohol – soothes itchy feet and removes bad odors.
  • Cetyl palmitate – a naturally occurring lubricant that conditions the surface of the skin so it feels smoother and softer.
  • Stearyl alcohol – used as a disinfectant and proven to be effective against bacteria and fungi.
  • Isopropyl – contains antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of fungi.

Lamisil Cream for toenail fungus

How Quickly Does Lamisil Cream Work?

Reports vary widely on the length of time it takes Lamisil Cream to show signs of working. The average time is a couple of months, although some users have reported improvements after applying the ointment for a couple of weeks.

For athlete’s foot conditions that have matured beyond the mild stage, the treatment can take up to a year to completely eradicate the fungal infection. If you stop using the lotion before you traces of the fungus have entirely gone, the condition will return.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

A negative aspect of using Lamisil Cream is the potential side effects. Although the pharmaceutical industry claim terbinafine is the most effective treatment against athlete’s foot, it is also the treatment that could cause the most complications – albeit the pills are worse than the cream.

The number of people that report adverse side effects is low. Doctors feel the risk outweighs the chances of the treatment being successful. However, some of the side-effects can be rather unpleasant.

  • Can irritate the skin
  • Itching and rashes

If you do experience any side-effects using Lamisil Cream, consult your doctor (or podiatrist).

Dr. Blaine’s Tineacide Antifungal Cream

This is a topical ointment that comes highly recommended by physicians and podiatrists. Clinically proven to kill skin fungus, Tineacide helps to soften hard skin and restrict the growth of fungal infections.

The active ingredients of this fungal cream are built into a formula designed to absorb into the skin and fight fungal elements below the surface. It is therefore potentially suitable for infections that have matured beyond the mild stages.

Furthermore, the formula contains anti-inflammatory properties that target inflamed areas. This helps to soothe any pain you may be experiencing. You can even use this ointment for painful infections in the later stages.

However, if you do have a fungal infection that has developed into a painful condition, you should consult your doctor. You will probably need an alternative treatment that is stronger than over-the-counter antifungal creams.

Dr. Blaine’s Cream is a treatment that is specifically designed to combat onychomycosis, athlete’s foot, and fungal nail infections.

What Are the Ingredients?

  • Miconazole Nitrate – an antifungal agent that prevents the growth of fungi.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf – commonly known as Aloe Vera, this versatile and therapeutic leaf produces amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals that help to nourish skin and stave off fungal infections.
  • Urea – softens keratin and helps to restore protein in the nails and skin, leaving them healthy and intact.
  • Clotrimazole – an azole antifungal agent that works by preventing fungus from growing, spreading and causing the condition to get worse.
  • Lavender Oil – contains antifungal properties that are effective against fungal strains that are common causes of skin and nail infections.
  • Tea Tree Oil – proven to fight bacteria and fungus, the antiviral properties act as a disinfectant and repairs surrounding tissue to aid the healing process.

Dr. Blaine's Tineacide Antifungal Cream

How Quickly Does It Work?

People respond differently to fungal infection treatments so to put a timeline on the healing process is like trying to play darts in the dark. The length of time is taken infections to heal also depends on how advanced the fungi is.

Patients with mild conditions may notice improvements after 4 weeks using Dr. Blaine’s antifungal cream. The recommended dose is twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.

Dr. Blaine’s fungal cream is reasonably potent, and speedy results are not unheard of. However, a more realistic timeframe to follow before you start to notice results in two months to four months. So give the ointment time to work before giving up.

The manufacturer also stresses the cream should not be used to treat fungal infection in children under the age of 12. If you do have a child under the age of 12 that develops a fungal infection, consult a doctor.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

Treating fungal infections with Dr. Blaine’s antifungal cream is a very low risk. There are very few side-effects reported. Some people may be allergic to some of the ingredients and develop a skin irritation, but other than that there is nothing to worry about.

If you do have sensitive skin or have suffered from allergic reactions to creams in the past, you should perform a patch test.

Clotrimazole Antifungal Cream

Clotrimazole is a potent adversary against fungus and is clinically proven to be effective at getting rid of unpleasant foot fungus. Subsequently, the antifungal cream is one of the most popular topical treatments on the market.

The topical antifungal cream is sufficient for mild complaints but can be used alongside other treatments to ease irritation and soften the skin and nails. The formula contains anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe skin that is swollen and sore.

Clotrimazole is effective at treating athlete’s foot, together with a range of other fungal skin infections.

What Are The Ingredients?

  • Clotrimazole – an azole antifungal agent that works by preventing fungus from growing, spreading and causing the condition to get worse.
  • Benzyl alcohol – soothes itchy feet and removes bad odors.
  • Cetostearyl – an alcohol-based disinfectant that works as an effective against bacteria.
  • Cetyl esters wax – a naturally occurring lubricant that conditions the surface of the skin, so it feels smoother and softer.

Clotrimazole cream for toenail fungus

How Quickly Does It Take Clotrimazole To Work?

Clotrimazole is regarded as one of the fastest-working antifungal creams on the market. However, there is little evidence to support the formula works any better than any of the other leading antifungal creams on the market.

The truth is that Clotrimazole cream will work better for one patient than it will another. With a topical cream, effectiveness has contributing factors such as how developed your infection is and whether your skin works naturally with the ingredients of the lotion.

It typically takes two weeks for topical antifungal creams to stop the growth of fungus. It may not necessarily kill the fungus, however. Therefore, you need to continue using antifungal creams until the infected skin has grown out and replaced by a healthy new skin.

Taking good care of your feet will help. Avoid wearing shoes and socks, dry your feet thoroughly when wet and use a pumice stone to shave away dead layers of skin.

The recommended usage is 2 or 3 times a day depending on the severity of the condition and how much grief your feet are giving you. If you have sensitive or irritable skin that itches unbearably, applying Clotrimazole cream three times a day will be more beneficial.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

Patients using Clotrimazole are unlikely to experience any side effects. The worst that can happen is an allergic reaction.

If you are sensitive to allergies, you may want to consult your doctor before using Clotrimazole. It’s also a good idea to apply a small amount of the lotion to a small area of skin before going in full throttle.

Do Creams for Toenail Fungus Have Limitations?

Generally speaking, antifungal creams are only suitable for mild fungal infections. In that sense, creams that are specially formulated for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot do have limitations in situations where the condition is much worse.

The good news is, the manufacturers of these products use antimicrobial properties naturally found in plants. Some of the agents and essential oils have been used to treat fungal infections for thousands of years.

Antifungal creams are therefore a good starting point for patients that have been diagnosed with a fungal infection or suspect you may be infected. Creams can also be used as a supplement to aid prescription treatments.

There is less risk of experiencing side effects after using antifungal creams. However, the American Society of Microbiology did find that some ingredients of these creams can have severe hypersensitivity reactions.

Before you use any type of medication you are unsure about, consult a medical professional, particularly if you have a history of allergies. And always read the packaging. You’ll find a list the ingredients on the outside packaging, so you should avoid any creams you know will react against your skin.

Are Antifungal Creams OK To Use When You Are Pregnant?

If you are pregnant, you should consult a doctor. Some of the active ingredients in the creams have been found to affect the outcome of the pregnancy.

Using antifungal creams on your feet is probably less risky. To air on the side of caution, it is always best practice to check with your doctor first!

How Often Should I Apply the Treatment?

The recommended dosage for the majority of over-the-counter foot creams is twice a day.

Some manufacturers may suggest three times a day if you experience irritability such as burning or itching. Soothing agents in the creams can help relieve irritation.

What Are the Alternatives to Antifungal Creams?

If you have severe toenail fungus, you should consult a doctor to determine the best course of treatment. The nature and severity of your infection will determine the type of treatment you need.

In most instances, antifungal creams will be appropriate. For severe cases, you will almost certainly be prescribed with a heavy-duty antidote. The most common pharmaceuticals are Lamisil and Clotrimazole pills (not the cream).

However, it should be noted that pharmaceutical treatments can have nasty side effects. It is argued by many experts that the best treatment for toenail fungus is laser treatment. However, this is also the most expensive form of treatment.

In some cases, patients suffer from a dead nail which turns black. Sometimes the nail pulls away from the nail bed on its own. Others need to undergo an operation to have the toenail removed.

An operation is only essential if you are experiencing unbearable pain. The dead nail will fall away in its own time.

Natural Home Remedies

The ingredients in antifungal creams are also present in many other types of cosmetics, treatments, foods and general items laying around the house. Therefore, there are anecdotal reports that home remedies can treat foot fungus.

There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of home remedies as a cure for foot fungus. However, it stands to reason that the natural ingredients in these products will work just as effectively as formulated anti-fungal creams.

One of the causes of foot fungus is a weakened immune system. Therefore improving your diet with foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals will also help treat athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.

Make sure you are consuming plenty of the following:

  • Garlic
  • Licorice
  • Lemon Grass
  • Ginger
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Black walnut
  • Peppermint
  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil

Natural Ointments

Everyday household products have also been found to have a positive effect for treating foot fungus.

The following products are effective treatments:

Take Care of Your Feet

Foot fungus is a notoriously difficult condition to cure. Even if you do manage to get rid of the problem, there is a good chance it will return. The best way to prevent fungal infections is to take good care of your feet.

Fungi thrive in dark, damp places. People that wear shoes all day are most susceptible because of the amount of perspiration emitted from your feet. Good foot hygiene is highly important.

The following are likely to be beneficial:

  • Dry your feet thoroughly when wet
  • Wear anti-fungal socks that wick perspiration
  • Let your feet breathe as much as possible
  • Don’t wear other people’s shoes
  • Don’t share towels
  • Use a pumice stone to shave away dead skin
  • Freshen your shoes once a week

In most cases of mild foot fungal infections, an antifungal cream will work. If you have a severe condition speak to a doctor about the best cause of action. They may still recommend an antifungal cream over an oral prescription or surgery.

Here are some treatments that remove toenail fungus permanently.