Clotrimazole for skin infections

  • Used for skin infections caused by fungi.
  • Continue to use clotrimazole for a week or so after all signs of your infection have gone.
  • If your infection does not improve, see your doctor.
Type of medicine Antifungal
Used for Fungal infections
Also called Canesten®
Canesten® AF Dual Action
Canesten® HC (clotrimazole with hydrocortisone)
Available as Cream, spray and topical solution

Clotrimazole is used to treat fungal infections of the skin. The most common fungi to cause skin infections are the tinea group of fungi. For example, tinea pedis ('athlete's foot') is a common fungal infection of the toes and feet. Clotrimazole works by killing the fungus causing the infection.

Clotrimazole is available as a cream, spray or topical solution (a liquid which is applied directly on to the skin). The cream is most frequently used but, where large areas of skin are infected or where the area being treated is quite hairy, a spray or topical solution may be more suitable. Sometimes clotrimazole is combined with a mild steroid cream called hydrocortisone, which helps to reduce any inflammation caused by the infection.

Clotrimazole can also be used to treat vaginal thrush. There is a separate information leaflet called 'Clotrimazole for vaginal thrush' which gives information about this.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using clotrimazole make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
  • If you are using any other preparations, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about how to use the preparation you have been given and any possible side-effects from using it.
  • Use clotrimazole preparations exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.
  • Unless you have been told otherwise, apply clotrimazole two or three times a day to the infected area.
  • Wash and dry your hands well both before and after using clotrimazole. This will help to stop the infection from spreading.
  • Try to avoid getting clotrimazole into your eyes or mouth. If this does happen, wipe the cream away and then wash the area with water.
  • Continue to use clotrimazole for 1-2 weeks after all signs of your infection have gone. This is to make sure your infection does not return.
  • You should see an improvement in your condition after a few days. If your condition does not seem to be getting any better after about a week, book an appointment to see your doctor for advice.

Clotrimazole is unlikely to cause any unwanted symptoms, although it may cause mild irritation, redness or a burning sensation when you first use it. If the irritation becomes severe, or if you experience any other symptoms, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Last Checked:
Document ID:
1408 (v25)
The Information Standard - certified member