Clotrimazole (Canesten dermatological powder)

How does it work?

Canesten dermatological powder contains the active ingredient clotrimazole, which is an antifungal medicine used to treat infections with fungi and yeasts.

Clotrimazole kills fungi and yeasts by interfering with their cell membranes. It works by stopping the fungi from producing a substance called ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membranes. The disruption in production of ergosterol causes holes to appear in the fungal cell membrane.

The cell membranes of fungi are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering the cells and stop the contents of the cells from leaking out. As clotrimazole causes holes to appear in the cell membranes, essential constituents of the fungal cells can leak out. This kills the fungi and treats the infection.

Canesten dermatological powder is used to treat a wide range of skin infections caused by fungi. These include infections with dermatophytes such as tinea, eg ringworm (tinea corporis), athlete's foot (tinea pedis), and jock itch (tinea cruris) and infections with yeasts such as candida, eg fungal nappy rash or sweat rash.

Canesten dermatological powder should be used in conjunction with Canesten 1% cream or Canesten dermatological spray. The powder should be sprinkled onto the affected area(s) of skin two to three times daily after using the cream or spray. The powder can also be dusted into clothes or shoes in contact with the affected area.

Treatment should be continued for at least one month for dermatophyte infections and at least two weeks for candidal infections. Ask your pharmacist for further advice on treating your particular infection.

The powder can also be used to help prevent the infection returning, particularly in skin folds or areas where sweating is a problem, as fungal infections often thrive in these environments.

What is it used for?

In conjunction with Canesten 1% cream or Canesten dermatological spray to treat skin infections caused by yeasts (eg Candida), dermatophytes (eg Trichophyton), moulds and other fungi, such as the following:

  • Athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
  • Fungal infection of the groin, ie jock itch (tinea cruris).
  • Ringworm (tinea corporis).
  • Fungal nappy rash caused by infection with Candida albicans.
  • Sweat rash caused by infection with Candida albicans.


  • Consult your doctor before using this medicine if you are unsure of the cause of your infection, or you have not had it before.
  • Canesten dermatological powder is for external use only.
  • The powder should not be used on its own to treat an infection. It should be used in conjunction with Canesten 1% cream or Canesten dermatological spray to clear an infection up. However, it can be used on its own to prevent an infection coming back, in particular athlete's foot.
  • If symptoms persist despite treatment, seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

Not to be used in

  • Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine when used during pregnancy has not been specifically studied. However, it has been used by a large number of women during pregnancy without any apparant harmful effects. As with all medicines, you should consult your doctor or midwife before using this medicine during pregnancy.
  • This medicine is not significantly absorbed into the bloodstream from the skin and it is highly unlikely that any of the medicine will pass into breast milk. However, as with all medicines, you should seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding. If you do use this medicine while breastfeeding you should not apply it to the breasts before giving a feed, to avoid it being accidentally ingested by the nursing infant.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Irritation in area of use.
  • Burning sensation.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

This medicine is not known to affect other medicines.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

For treating fungal skin infections:

Canesten 1% cream Canesten dermatological sprayCanesten solution
Care clotrimazole cream 1%

For treating athlete's foot:

Canesten AF creamCanesten AF powderCanesten AF spray

For treating vaginal thrush:

Canesten 10% VC Canesten 100mg/200mg pessaries Canesten 500mg pessary
Canesten combi pessary and cream Canesten cream combi internal and external creams Canesten internal cream
Canesten thrush cream