Ringworm is a disease caused by a fungus (not by a worm!). The infection is superficial with the fungus surviving on keratin – the protein that makes up skin cells. The reason for the name “ringworm” is the appearance of a ring or circle on the skin.
Ringworm starts as a scaly path of skin that advances outwards in a circle with a reddish, raised, wavy “wormlike” edge and a lighter colored central area. The patch becomes itchy and dry and sometimes is associated with a burning sensation. The infection can occur on any part of the body ((Tinea Corporis) as well as on the groin (a condition known as jock itch), scalp (causing dandruff like flaking and hair loss in some instances), beard (known colloquially as barber’s itch), feet (athlete’s foot) and thighs.
The fungus that causes ringworm flourishes in warm, damp, dark and airless conditions so it is important to keep infected areas dry and well-ventilated at all time, allowing the skin to “breathe” as much as possible. If you would like to see more ringworm images head over to our page on skin fungus pictures.
Ringworm is contracted through direct contact with an infected person or animal. Many are infected through their pet or by sharing hairbrushes, towels, socks or underwear with infected people. Here are more answers to the question how do you get ringworm. A diagnosis is normally done on inspection but a health professional can also take a scraping and analyze this in a laboratory.
Cure for ringworm
The condition responds well to topical antifungal medications in the form of creams, lotions and powders. Many people experience positive results by using natural ringworm cures. Read this Naturasil review for an example. Lotrimin cream is another popular ringworm cure and is available without prescription. Follow the product instructions carefully and continue to treat for the entire treatment course (usually 1-2 weeks) even if all visible signs of the ringworm lesion have disappeared. Recurrent infections are common and you want to make sure you thoroughly eliminate all infections fungal spores from your skin.
If you suffer from a very severe outbreak, and particularly if your scalp is infected, oral antifungal medication may be needed. However most people with ringworm cure the infection using topical and natural treatments. For more details read the ringworm cures reviewed in the left sidebar.
There are a few rules of thumb to preventing the infection in the first place:
- Keep your skin dry at all times. If you are prone to sweating shake an antifungal powder into skin folds, crevices, between your toes and other at-risk parts of the body.
- Change your socks and underwear regularly, washing them on the hot cycle to remove any fungal contamination.
- Wear loose fitting clothing and avoid wearing synthetic materials that can restrict airflow and trap moisture from perspiration.
- If you have athlete’s foot, treat this promptly. See more on toe fungus treatment.
- Avoid touching animals if you notice hairless patches on their skin. Even if there is no sign of infection, it’s a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly after handling animals or soil. Consider using an antifungal soap for this.
- Don’t share hats, combs, hairbrushes, towels, underwear or socks with other people.
- Avoid touching contaminated surfaces such as public shower rooms or bathroom floors (essentially any surface that is damp and used by many people).
- Wear protective footwear when using public facilities.