Tinea is a rash that is caused by a fungus growing on the skin. Tinea can be treated with a medicine on your skin or medicines taken orally.
Tinea makes the skin itchy and red, causing it to crack, split and peel. It is known by many other names. If the rash is circular, it can be called ringworm. It is also called athlete’s foot and jock itch, depending on where it is.
You can also get tinea on your head and on your toenails and fingernails.
Types of tinea medicines
There is plenty you can do to help. It is important to keep the area dry. It can help to wearing clothing made of natural fibres that ‘breathe’.
Most people will be able to heal their tinea with medications that you put on the skin. These could be creams, ointments and gels. These contain an antifungal medicine and sometimes a steroid-type medicine. You can get most of these over the counter from your pharmacist.
Some people will also need oral medications. They might be needed if the tinea is widespread, if the treatment to the skin hasn’t worked, if it is on the head, if it is in the nails or if it keeps coming back. You need a prescription from your doctor to get these.
Important information about tinea medication
All medicines can have side effects.
Before using tinea medicines you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about:
- the side effects of your tinea medicines
- their benefits
- what to do if you miss a dose
- what to do if you experience side effects
Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you feel unwell when taking your medicines. Do not stop or change your medicines without talking to your doctor.
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Last reviewed: August 2019