Ringworm Treatment Recommendations Online

Ringworm (tinea corporis) is a fungal infection of the skin caused by dermatophyte organisms. While non-lethal, the infection can become irritating and uncomfortable for those affected. Several species of fungi can cause the infection, and there are a variety of over the counter available ringworm treatments to choose from.

After a quick scan of “ringworm treatment” using Google search, there are a number of different creams, lotions, and shampoos that can be used to treat the infection each with their own active ingredients and recommended treatment times. So where do you start? After browsing through several sources, there are a few main ingredients that are commonly cited as effective treatments for tinea.

HealthTap Recommendations

HealthTap is an online forum where physicians provide feedback to common questions regarding health and wellness. Users are able to post their inquiries, upload pictures, speak with certified M.D.s and get treatment information all from the comfort of your own home. There is no need for scheduling an appointment or taking time out of your day to meet face to face (unless of course you prefer that).

So what are physicians on HealthTap recommending for ringworm treatment? A quick search of “how to treat ringworm” brings up several top answers with a few common recommendations.

The top three responses that state a specific topical antifungal treatment recommend to use terbinafine, clotrimazole, and Lamisil (active ingredients can be either terbinafine or clotrimazole). These ringworm treatments are from two different classes of compounds – “allylamines” and “azoles.” General information can be found here:

Mayo Clinic – Terbinafine (Topical Route)
Mayo Clinic – Betamethasone and Clotrimazole (Topical Route)

Both treatments act to prevent the spread of the fungus by different methods. Each of them interacts with a specific part of fungal growth: Terbinafine (and similar allylamines) interfere with “squalene epoxidase” which in turn affects “ergosterol” synthesis. Ergosterol is an important component that makes up the fungal cell wall, therefore, interfering with this will disrupt the fungi’s ability to grow.

Clotrimazole (and similar azoles) also interfere with “ergosterol” synthesis more directly by binding to certain lipids and affecting the permeability of the cell wall.

It’s important to note that “ergosterol” is a component found only in fungi and protozoa – meaning that these antifungal treatments should primarily be targeting only the ringworm infection. In general, ergosterol serves a similar function in these organisms that sterol does in humans for our cells.


Since these treatments target a cell component that is present is a variety of fungal organisms, terbinafine and clotrimazole may be marketed as an antifungal cream for multiple ringworm infections including athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris), and tinea versicolor. Although these compounds target all fungi in a general sense, additional ingredients may make certain treatments more effective against specific infections.


Quora Recommendations

Quora is another online forum where users can log in and ask questions related to any topic. Anyone can ask and answer questions, and users’ responses are subsequently “upvoted” based on how effectively the question was answered.

A quick search seems to indicate that most responses recommend the use of “imidazole derivatives” – including miconazole, clotrimazole, and ketoconazole and another compound known as tolnaftate. In general, tolnaftate acts in a similar manner to the previously described terbinafine method. More information can be found here:

Mayo Clinic: Tolnaftate

Griseofulvin is also cited by several Quora users as a possible treatment, however, this is only available by prescription. It’s marketed under several brand names including Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG, S-Fulvin, and Grisovin-FP. Consult your doctor concerning possible side effects and the best treatment course. It is available as an oral therapeutic, and it has been cited to be ineffective as a topical lotion.

Mayo Clinic: Griseofulvin (Oral Route)


Dr. Greene Recommendations

Dr. Greene in responding to a Q&A inquiry cites miconazole (Tinactin) and clotrimazole (Lotrimin) as effective antifungal therapies for ringworm treatment. He also quotes topical creams as a first line of treatment with more persistent infections requiring prescribed oral therapy.

Treatments usually require several weeks of constant application in order for symptoms to disappear. As commonly known, infections of the nails and hair (tinea unguium and tinea capitis) should be treated more aggressively as these sites of infection are typically more difficult to reach.


Overall, the azole class of compounds and terbinafine are cited as the main active ingredients that are most effective for treating ringworm. Fortunately, both treatments are available over the counter in ready to use lotions and creams.

For persistent ringworm infections, however, consult your physician for the best treatment method for removal. Depending on the size of the affected area, oral therapy may be recommended in place of topical creams or lotions. Your doctor may also prescribe more concentrated solutions for effective removal.

For information on treatments available over the counter for ringworm, see Tinea Ringworm Treatment for a complete list of creams.