Ringworm is a fungal infection which can affect nails, scalp, feet or any other part of your body. It is known as ringworm because of the characteristic red ring which appears on the affected part of skin. Initially a rash is formed on the skin area which is infected by ringworm. As this rash goes on expanding, a ring is visible at its center. Ringworm can also lead to more than one patch, which might further overlap. The affected area often reddens and starts itching.
Over the Counter Medicines for Ringworm
There are many over the counter ringworm treatment options that you can use to treat this skin problem. Antifungal products are effective in this case, as ringworm is primarily a fungal infection.
Miconazole is an antifungal agent with antibacterial properties which helps in controlling the growth of fungi. When applied twice a day, it relieves itching, scaling and irritation caused due to ringworm and other fungal infections. It has minimal side effects like burning, stinging and flaking of affected skin.
Ketoconazole is a very common over the counter treatment for scalp ringworm, which is available in form of gel or foam-based cream. Ketoconazole based gels make effective anti-dandruff shampoo and treatment for scalp ringworm. You can use a ketoconazole shampoo twice or thrice a week, for a few weeks to get the results. It controls scaling, itching and flaking of scalp, caused due to dandruff. Ketoconazole creams slow down the growth of the fungi which causes infection, when applied over the affected skin.
Clotrimazole is a popular antifungal medication available over-the-counter, which is effective in treating ringworm. Clotrimazole works against the growing fungi and slowly clears up the infection. Applying it over the skin, twice a day, should provide relief from ringworm. It might lead to minor side effects like redness, blistering or skin irritation.
Terbinafine is an antifungal medicine commonly used to treat fungal infections, like ringworm. This over-the-counter ringworm medication is available in form of tablets and topical ointments. It works by weakening the cell membrane which holds the fungal cells. You need to apply terbinafine topical medication twice a day, for 2-4 weeks, to treat ringworm. Remember that oral dosage might lead to side effects like diarrhea, abdominal pain and the topical ointment might cause itching.
Tolnaftate is an effective topical cream for curing the lesions covered with hardened crust caused due to ringworm. After removing the crust using tolnaftate, the antifungal agents are more effective on this area. Tolnaftate and terbinafine can also be used in combination for treating this fungal infection.
Some fungal infections might not respond to the above-mentioned medications. If the infection has penetrated the affected area, oral or topical over-the-counter medications will fail to cure it. Moreover, a large patch of ringworm can be serious and needs a prescription treatment. If you don't see any improvement in the skin infection after using a medication which is available over the counter, for about 2 weeks, you must consult a dermatologist. While using any topical ringworm treatment available over the counter, you must clean the infected area before applying it. Remember, ringworm is a contagious skin disease and hence, make sure that the infected area doesn't come in contact with anyone, as this might spread the infection to others.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.