Anti-Fungal Creams: Combating a Common Gym Hazard

By Matt Samansky

Supplement Review Editor

Every once in a while, an athlete will experience the discomfort of a fungal infection. It’s not always pleasant to talk about, but it’s often a reality of life in the gym. Whether it be athlete’s foot, jock itch, or ringworm, fungal infections are seemingly inevitable no matter how many showers you take each day. I know what you’re thinking; “Matt, I thought you reviewed dietary supplements!!” Well as Vince McMahon famously said “It’s time to shake things up a bit!”

Wrestling references aside, let’s talk about fungal infections. Various forms of tinea infections (pedis/cruris/corporis) are born in warm, moist environments such as locker rooms, showers, pools, and exercise rooms. Bacteria latch on to barbells, dumbbells, floor mats and other gym equipment before spreading through excessive perspiration. Fungal infections, specifically ringworm, were virtually unavoidable for me as I spent years wrestling on “questionable” surfaces. I have tried every remedy for the issue and have brought the best to you below.

Upon my initial diagnosis of ringworm, my wrestling coach pointed me in the direction of terbinafine, or Lamisil, a product made famous by their commercials featuring a tiny germ invading a toenail.


Lamisil would be my least favorite of the anti-fungal remedies as I feel it is the least powerful in attacking the infection. Having said that, my experience with Lamisil starts and finishes at the topical version. My research has led me to believe the oral medication is far more effective, but cannot speak to that.

Next is a medication that I have found does not get it’s just recognition; clotrimazole. Generally sold as a cream, lotion, powder, or solution it is applied to the infected area of the skin. Although I cannot speak to it’s efficacy, some dermatologists prescribe oral medication in the form of a lozenge. In my extensive research of the oral medication, it is generally less effective as it does not make direct contact with the infected area. Most effective when utilized multiple times throughout the day, clotrimazole has been found to cure symptoms of itching, redness, swelling, and irritation associated with tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) and corporis (ringworm). In my experience, the best version of clotrimazole comes in the form of a cream. It is easily applied and dissolves quickly within a few seconds of rubbing it in. My preferred brand of the drug is by Major ®, who sells the OTC product for $8 at your local pharmacy.

Finally, we have butenafine, more commonly known by it’s street name Lotrimin Ultra. Stronger than clotrimazole, butenafine needs only to be applied once or twice daily to protect against further drying out or irritation of the skin. Speaking from experience, DO NOT apply more than twice per day. The infection will dissipate, but the area will grow more irritated and even become painful. I don’t know about you, but I will sacrifice the speed of curing my infection for a pain-free remedy. If you adhere to applying Lotrimin Ultra once/twice daily as recommended, however, you should not experience these side-effects.

Butenafine can be found in almost any drug-store for $10-$13 depending on the brand purchased. The brand name version is a much smaller size, but you will find it is not necessary over as long of a time period as other topical medications.

As a bonus, I must share a non-medical over the counter remedy I have found to be the best; Selsun Blue shampoo. Composed of a selenium sulfide solution, Selsun Blue is most effective when applied to the skin in a dry environment. However I would be remiss if I did not warn you of the irritation associated with utilizing Selsun Blue. Selenium sulfide is a very powerful concoction that will almost surely cause redness and tenderness of the skin.

Did you enjoy the change from reviewing dietary supplements to skin-care supplements?  Would you welcome more analyses like this one? Shoot me a Facebook post, tweet, email, etc. and let me know!

Editor’s Note: As with any of the supplement reviews found on, this review is not an endorsement nor does it replace the guidance of a medical professional.  This and all reviews found on are solely the opinion of the reviewer.