Dermatologists and Skin Care

Do you have Ringworm - The Do's and Don’Ts

Written by Dr. Ashwini V Swamy and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Do you have Ringworm - The Do's and Don’Ts


Tinea or ringworm is a fungal infection caused by a group of fungus known as dermatophytes.

The name 'ringworm' is a misnomer and they are not caused by worms. The name is due to the ring-like appearance of the rash.

What Are the Sites Commonly Affected by Ringworm?

It can involve any body site from head to toe including nails. Depending on the body site involved, different terminologies are used.

  • Scalp - Tinea capitis.
  • Face - Tinea faciei.
  • Beard area - Tinea barbae.
  • Trunk, arms, and legs - Tinea corporis.
  • Groin (thigh folds) - Tinea cruris (Jock itch).
  • Hands - Tinea manuum.
  • Foot - Tinea pedis (Athlete's foot).
  • Nails - Tinea unguium.

How Does It Look and What Are the Symptoms?

It appears as a red rash with scales which is round in shape. You can observe a lot of red bumps (boils) at the edges and the center will be clear without much redness or scales. As the disease progresses, there will be many such rings forming a large patch of redness, studded with boils, small bumps, and scales.

Tinea is intensely itchy. Tinea on the scalp can be painful when there are many boils together forming an entity called kerion which is more common in children than adults.

Tinea (Ringworm): Crucial Do’s

1. Wear dry loose cotton clothes. Try to find inner garments which are 100 % pure cotton. Make use of fans or air conditioners at night to keep the affected part well ventilated.

2. Take bath twice a day. Always use lukewarm water. Avoid using very hot water. Hot water favors fungal growth on the body. Wash the affected parts with cold water once you are done taking bath. Always use a fresh dry towel to wipe off water from the body. Make sure skin folds are totally dry before wearing clothes.

3. Use antifungal dusting powders for your skin folds such as underarms, thigh folds, below breasts, and between the toes.

4. Wash your clothes, towel, and bedspread in hot water and dry them in good sunlight.

5. Eat healthy food, keep your body weight ideal for your height because being overweight or undernourished leads to reduced immunity which increases the chances of acquiring a fungal infection.

6. If you are diabetic, check your blood sugar level frequently and make sure your blood sugars are within the normal range because uncontrolled blood sugar is a risk factor for fungal infection.

7. Ask if any of your family members have a similar fungal infection. If so, encourage them to take treatment.

8. Check your pet animals for rashes. If there are any, take them to a veterinary doctor for treatment. Dogs and cats are also the sources of infection.

9. Always complete the full course of medications prescribed by your dermatologist. Incomplete treatment results in recurrence of fungal infection which is more resistant to treatment.

Tinea (Ringworm): Crucial Don’Ts

1. Do not scratch. Scratching makes the rash worse. Ask your dermatologist to prescribe anti-itching medicine.

2. Do not wear synthetic clothes, tight-fitting jeans which do not allow air to flow through them and do not wear wet inner clothes. Do not wear inners while at home, just allow air to flow freely through the affected part.

3. Do not share your personal items such as clothes, towel, soap, or comb with your family members or friends.

4. Do not use over-the-counter (OTC) medications for ringworm. Most of these OTC creams contain steroid in them, which gives faster relief from itching but they make the ringworm spread to a larger area and also make the routine treatment insufficient.

5. Do not use home remedies such as garlic paste to get rid of ringworm. This could burn your skin and leave a permanent scar.

Proper and timely medications from a dermatologist and these skin care measures would provide faster relief from symptoms, speedy recovery and less chance of recurrence.

For more information consult a ringworm specialist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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