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Adeel Arshad

Authored on 24 January 2024 by Adeel Arshad,

Reviewed 24 January 2024 by Dr Ruch Karunadasa.

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal skin condition also known as dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, or tinea. The term "ringworm" is a misnomer because the infection is caused by a fungus rather than a worm. The infection, however, causes a lesion that looks like a worm in the shape of a ring, hence the name.

Ringworm is commonly used to describe tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp) or tinea corporis (ringworm of the body). It is also used to describe tinea infections in other places, such as tinea cruris (ringworm of the groin).

Ringworm can infect both humans and animals. In affected locations, the infection first manifests as discolored, typically scaly patches. These spots are usually red on lighter skin and brown-gray on darker skin.

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris), and scalp ringworm are all connected to ringworm (tinea capitis). Ringworm is frequently transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal.

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Nails
  • Scalp
  • Beard
  • Groin

A red, scaly patch or bump that itches is the tell-tale sign that the infection is ringworm. The bump gradually transforms into a ring- or circle-shaped patch. It could split into multiple rings. The patch's interior is normally transparent or scaly. The outside may be slightly elevated and rough.

Ringworm on the scalp usually begins as a bump or minor ache. Your scalp may become flaky and scaly, and it may feel painful and sore to the touch. You might notice that your hair is falling out in spots.

Treatment of Ringworm

Ringworm Home Remedies

Before researchers invented anti-fungal medications, people used to utilize folk cures for ringworm for many years.

The majority of support for the use of these therapies is anecdotal. There is no scientific evidence to support their use over the OTC anti-fungals.

These treatments include:

  • Coconut oil: Ringworm infections are reduced when people apply coconut oil to their skin. Apply coconut oil one to three times every day if you want to attempt this cure.
  • Turmeric: To prepare an anti-fungal paste, combine turmeric with water. Allow the mixture to dry after applying the paste directly to your skin.
  • Apple cider vinegar: To cure ringworm, some people apply cotton balls soaked in apple cider vinegar to afflicted areas of the skin three times per day.

However, home cures should not be used in place of recognised anti-fungal medications. Instead, talk to your doctor about any home remedy you want to try besides using the proven treatments.


Depending on the severity of your ringworm infection, your doctor may prescribe a variety of treatments.

Fungal infections like jock itch, athlete's foot, as well as body ringworm are all commonly treated with topical drugs such as:

  • Anti-fungal gels
  • Anti-fungal creams
  • Anti-fungal sprays
  • Anti-fungal ointments

Some severe cases may be treated with oral medications.

Ringworm of the scalp or nails may need the use of prescription-strength oral drugs such as fluconazole or terbinafine.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and anti-fungal skin lotions may also be recommended by your doctor. Clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine, and other similar chemicals may be present in these products.

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to prescription and over-the-counter medications, your doctor may advise you to treat the infection at home by:

  • Washing your bedding and clothing daily to help keep your surroundings clean.
  • After bathing, properly drying your skin.
  • Wearing loose clothing in the affected areas
  • Addressing all afflicted areas, as failure to treat tinea pedis might cause a recurrence of tinea cruris

Prevention of Ringworm

The fungi that cause ringworm are found all over the place. However, there are several things you can do to reduce your risks of acquiring ringworm or to prevent it from spreading:

  • Maintain clean and dry skin.
  • After playing with pets, wash your hands with soap and water. Consult your veterinarian if your pets have ringworm.
  • Everyone should wash their hands with soap on a regular basis.
  • Ringworm symptoms should be checked on all members of the family.
  • Combs, hairbrushes, clothing, bed linen, towels, and footwear should not be shared.
  • Anyone suffering from ringworm should avoid scratching afflicted areas, as this raises the chance of the illness spreading.
  • If you participate in sports, keep your equipment and uniform clean and do not share them with other participants.
  • People should avoid wandering around bare feet in their homes. In locker rooms and public showers, wear flip-flops.
  • Clothing should be cleaned in hot water using anti-fungal soap.
  • At least once a day, change your socks and undergarments.
  • Wearing loose clothing and staying cool may help lessen the risk.

Skin consultation £19.99

Skin consultation £19.99

Our simple consultation first process enables you to complete a consultation with a doctor, submitting photos of the affected skin and answering a set of questions that will enable a diagnosis where possible.

Common skin conditions can even include:

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PrivateDoc can help treat your Ringworm

Frequently asked questions about Ringworm

  • Does infection with ringworm make a person immune?

    Because there are so many fungal species that can cause ringworm, infection with one will not make a person immune to future infections.

  • How can doctors tell if I have a ringworm infection?

    Doctors can typically tell by inspecting your rash. They may extract small scrapings from your skin to examine under a microscope. Doctors may also use a UV light to examine your skin for certain types of ringworm. The UV light shines brightly on ringworm but not on other lesions.

  • Is Ringworm Contagious?

    Ringworm can affect and spread to anyone. The infection, however, is quite frequent among children and those who own cats or dogs. Ringworm can infect both cats and dogs and be passed on to humans who come into contact with them.

    Take your pet to your veterinarian for an examination if you suspect they have ringworm.

    If you come into contact with fungus while your skin is soft and wet from prolonged water exposure (macerated), or if you have small skin lesions or abrasions, you are more prone to developing dermatophytosis.

    Taking a public shower or swimming in a public pool might also expose you to infectious fungus.

    You may develop ringworm on your feet if you frequently go barefoot. Those who frequently share objects such as hairbrushes or unwashed clothing are at higher risk of contracting the infection.

  • Can animals transmit Ringworm Infections to Humans?

    Ringworm infection can be transmitted to humans by a variety of animals, most notably kittens and puppies. Although adult dogs and cats rarely show indications of illness, young animals may develop hairless, round, or irregularly shaped patches that itch or do not itch. Animals also exhibit scaling, redness, and crusting.

  • What is the difference between ringworm and eczema?

    Ringworm is similar to another illness known as nummular eczema. Doctors frequently refer to nummular eczema as discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis.

    Both illnesses generate round or coin-shaped lesions on your skin, which is why they are similar. Lesions are frequently itchy and scaly.

    However, ringworm patients typically have fewer ring-like areas than people with nummular eczema. Also, unlike ringworm, nummular eczema usually does not have a clearing (normal-appearing skin) in the middle.

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