Can I use Lotrimin for seborrheic dermatitis?

Lotrimin is a popular over-the-counter brand of medication used to treat fungal infections of the skin, such as athlete’s foot. It contains antifungal agents like clotrimazole and betenafine, which helps to kill the fungus that causes the infection. Lotrimin is available in cream, powder and spray form.

Even though Lotrimin is not marketed as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, Lotrimin AF cream, which contains clotrimazole, is an excellent antifungal choice for SD. Applying the cream twice a day for 2 weeks will usually improve your condition significantly. 

Let’s take a deep dive:

What is Lotrimin?

Lotrimin is a brand of anti-fungal medication. It’s manufactured by Bayer and comes in a range of formulations including as a cream, powder spray, powder, and liquid spray. Depending on which product you’re looking at, it may contain butenafine, miconazole or clotrimazole.

Lotrimin is marketed as an anti-fungal treatment for jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. However, we can also use the Lotrimin AF cream to treat seborrheic dermatitis. Lotrimin AF contains clotrimazole and is safe to use during pregnancy, nursing, and for children and the elderly.

Lotrimin AF Antifungal Cream - 1.05 oz

Is Lotrimin AF an antifungal?

Lotrimin AF cream contains the active antifungal compound, clotrimazole. There is a lot of evidence that clotrimazole is effective against Malassezia, the yeast that plays a vital role in seborrheic dermatitis. Lab and animal studies show that clotrimazole 1% was an effective agent against Malassezia furfur.

A double-blind human study comparing clotrimazole to benzoic and salicylic acid found that clotrimazole was as effective and was better tolerated when used to treat pityriasis versicolor. This condition is caused by the same yeast that causes seborrheic dermatitis, Malassezia furfur. The same study showed that Malassezia had a constant and persistent sensitivity to clotrimazole, suggesting that it can be used to treat relapses.

Other studies found that clotrimazole was as good as topical steroids. 

Is Lotrimin an antibiotic?

Lotrimin is squarely an antifungal medication. It has no antibacterial properties at all and cannot be used as an antibiotic.

Is Lotrimin effective for seborrheic dermatitis?

Lotrimin AF cream is very effective for seborrheic dermatitis. If there was only one treatment you can use on your SD, choose an anti-fungal cream. And Lotrimin AF is as good as any.

Of all the anti-fungal creams available, ketoconazole has the most evidence for seborrheic dermatitis and is also the most effective. However, it’s prescription only in the U.S and many other countries.

Miconazole and clotrimazole tie for second best and are both easily available. Of the two, I like clotrimazole as I use it as a broad-spectrum anti-fungal for my seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis versicolor and also candida infections.

How do you use Lotrimin for seborrheic dermatitis?

To use Lotrimin, clean and dry the area to be treated. Apply the cream to the affected area, usually twice a day or as directed by your doctor. For best results, it should be applied after bathing or showering.

Apply enough medication to cover the affected area and some of the surrounding skin. Don’t wrap, cover or bandage the area. Don’t apply Lotrimin in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Once absorbed (it takes a few minutes), you can apply your regular moisturizer or other serums and creams on top.

The length of treatment depends on how quickly you’re clearing Malassezia. I’ve always found obvious improvement within 2-3 days of regular use. In general, use the cream for at least 2 weeks.

It should go without saying, but please don’t use the spray formulations on your face. It will get into your eyes. The powder formulation doesn’t work too. If you’re using Lotrimin, stick with the cream option. It’s the only one that contains clotrimazole.

Can I apply Lotrimin on my scalp?

There is no reason why Lotrimin wouldn’t work on your scalp. However, it’s messy to apply creams on the scalp unless you’re bald. You can, however, apply Lotrimin to areas of the hairline that is affected by seborrheic dermatitis.

For SD of the scalp, use an anti-fungal shampoo like ketoconazole 1% shampoo or Head & Shoulders.

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Can seborrheic dermatitis come back after antifungal treatment?

Unfortunately, seborrheic dermatitis often recurs even after successful treatment. Malassezia is a permanent resident on the surface of our skin and the factors that led to seborrheic dermatitis in the first place can’t be easily addressed by topical creams alone.

On recurrence, I’ve found that using Lotrimin is just as effective as before. There is no need to alternate antifungals as it looks like Malassezia doesn’t build a resistance against the drug.

However, if you are serious about preventing SD from recurring, you’ll need to make some serious lifestyle and diet changes.

What are the side effects of Lotrimin?

Occassionally, you may get irritation and a burning sensation, especially when your SD is in the inflammed phase. Rarely, you may also get an allergic reaction. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own.

Is Lotrimin safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers?

Lotrimin is classified as a pregnancy category B drug. This means that animal studies did not demonstrate a risk to the fetus but there are no good safety studies done in pregnant women.

Even though that sounds scary, most drugs are in Category B as there are not many safety studies done in pregnant women. Doctors are generally happy to prescribe Category B drugs to expecting moms as they are safe enough.

To wrap up

Lotrimin is a good clotrimazole brand and is very effective for seborrheic dermatitis. However, if you find the price a bit steep, any other clotrimazole cream should work just as well.

2 thoughts on “Can I use Lotrimin for seborrheic dermatitis?”

  1. Pingback: What is the best antifungal cream for seborrheic dermatitis? - Madame Well

  2. Pingback: Malassezia and seborrheic dermatitis: Getting to know the yeast

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