Tinea corporis often has large ring-like, scaly lesions.
Tinea corporis often has large ring-like, scaly lesions.

Graphic content

Please click to view.

This image displays red, scaly, raised lesions of tinea corporis; these particular lesions are not in their usual ring-shaped form.
This image displays red, scaly, raised lesions of tinea corporis; these particular lesions are not in their usual ring-shaped form.
Often, tinea infections (a type of fungal infection of the skin) will have a curving edge.
Often, tinea infections (a type of fungal infection of the skin) will have a curving edge.
This image displays a red, scaly, ring-like lesion typical of tinea corporis.
This image displays a red, scaly, ring-like lesion typical of tinea corporis.
This image displays ring-like, red, scaly lesions that are slightly elevated, typical of tinea corporis (fungal skin infection).
This image displays ring-like, red, scaly lesions that are slightly elevated, typical of tinea corporis (fungal skin infection).
The scale in tinea corporis is often very fine and seen at the outer edge of the areas of involvement.
The scale in tinea corporis is often very fine and seen at the outer edge of the areas of involvement.
This image displays the red, circular lesions typical of tinea corporis (ringworm).
This image displays the red, circular lesions typical of tinea corporis (ringworm).
This image displays the common round shape of tinea corporis that has been covered with a bandage, thus causing it to appear red and moist.
This image displays the common round shape of tinea corporis that has been covered with a bandage, thus causing it to appear red and moist.

Graphic content

Please click to view.

This image displays scaly, red skin areas forming rings typical of the fungal infection of the skin known as tinea corporis.
This image displays scaly, red skin areas forming rings typical of the fungal infection of the skin known as tinea corporis.
This early patch of ringworm (tinea) on the leg has the typical circular shape.
This early patch of ringworm (tinea) on the leg has the typical circular shape.
This image displays a large, subtle circle of tinea (ringworm) with a red, bumpy border, as well as another smaller circle of infection near the hairline on the picture's right.
This image displays a large, subtle circle of tinea (ringworm) with a red, bumpy border, as well as another smaller circle of infection near the hairline on the picture's right.
This image displays tinea manuum (hand fungus) with fine, white scaling and tinea corporis (body ringworm) with a circular lesion above the inner wrist.
This image displays tinea manuum (hand fungus) with fine, white scaling and tinea corporis (body ringworm) with a circular lesion above the inner wrist.
Sometimes tinea corporis (
Sometimes tinea corporis ("ringworm") involves broad areas of skin, as seen here. Typically there will be a scaly raised edge.

Images of Ringworm (Tinea Corporis) (13)

Tinea corporis often has large ring-like, scaly lesions.

Graphic content

This image displays red, scaly, raised lesions of tinea corporis; these particular lesions are not in their usual ring-shaped form.
Often, tinea infections (a type of fungal infection of the skin) will have a curving edge.
This image displays a red, scaly, ring-like lesion typical of tinea corporis.
This image displays ring-like, red, scaly lesions that are slightly elevated, typical of tinea corporis (fungal skin infection).
The scale in tinea corporis is often very fine and seen at the outer edge of the areas of involvement.
This image displays the red, circular lesions typical of tinea corporis (ringworm).
This image displays the common round shape of tinea corporis that has been covered with a bandage, thus causing it to appear red and moist.

Graphic content

This image displays scaly, red skin areas forming rings typical of the fungal infection of the skin known as tinea corporis.
This early patch of ringworm (tinea) on the leg has the typical circular shape.
This image displays a large, subtle circle of tinea (ringworm) with a red, bumpy border, as well as another smaller circle of infection near the hairline on the picture's right.
This image displays tinea manuum (hand fungus) with fine, white scaling and tinea corporis (body ringworm) with a circular lesion above the inner wrist.
Sometimes tinea corporis (

Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)

Tinea infections are fungal infections of the skin; they are often called ringworm, though there is no worm involved, because the infection can look like a ring-shaped rash on the skin. Ringworm infections are spread by contact with infected people, animals, or objects (eg, towels and locker room floors).

The most common kind of ringworm is called tinea corporis (ringworm of the body). It can be found on any area of skin on the body but usually appears on exposed regions, such as the face, hands, and arms. Athletes who have skin-to-skin contact with others are frequently affected by ringworm. There are special names for ringworm infections on other parts of the body. For example, if the rash affects the feet it is called athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and if it affects the groin it is called jock itch (tinea cruris). Write-ups for these specific areas are discussed separately.

Who's At Risk?

Ringworm can occur in anyone, though people more likely to develop ringworm include children, people with other tinea infections, athletes involved in contact sports, people with immune deficiencies, and people in contact with animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and cattle.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common locations for ringworm include the following:

  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Trunk (chest, abdomen, back)

Ringworm appears as red ring-shaped patches with a raised scaly border ranging from 1 to 10 cm. The central area may be clear of any redness. The border of the affected skin may contain blisters, bumps, or scabs.

Ringworm may cause itching or burning, especially in people with weak immune systems.

Take a picture of your skin condition with Aysa

Symptom checkers like Aysa can help narrow down possible skin conditions by analyzing a skin photo.

Self-Care Guidelines

If you suspect that you have ringworm, you might try one of the following over-the-counter antifungal creams or lotions:

  • Terbinafine
  • Clotrimazole
  • Miconazole

Apply the cream to each lesion and to the normal-appearing skin 2 cm beyond the border of the affected skin for at least 2 weeks until the areas are completely clear of lesions. Because ringworm is very contagious, avoid contact sports until lesions have been treated for a minimum of 48 hours. Do not share towels, hats, or clothing with others until the lesions are healed.

Since people often have ringworm infections on more than one body part, examine yourself for other infections, such as on the face (tinea faciei), in the beard area (tinea barbae), in the groin area (tinea cruris, jock itch), or on the feet (tinea pedis, athlete’s foot).

Make sure that any household pets are evaluated by a veterinarian to be certain that they do not have a dermatophyte infection. If the veterinarian discovers an infection, the animal should be treated.

Advertisement

Treatments

In order to confirm the diagnosis of ringworm, your physician might scrape some surface skin material (scales) onto a slide and examine it under a microscope. This procedure, called a KOH (potassium hydroxide) preparation, allows the doctor to look for tell-tale signs of fungal infection.

Once the diagnosis of ringworm has been confirmed, your physician will probably start treatment with an antifungal medication. Most ringworm infections can be treated with topical creams and lotions, including:

  • Terbinafine
  • Clotrimazole
  • Miconazole
  • Econazole
  • Oxiconazole
  • Ciclopirox
  • Ketoconazole
  • Sulconazole
  • Naftifine
  • Butenafine

Rarely, more extensive infections or those not improving with topical antifungal medications may require 3–4 weeks of treatment with oral antifungal pills, including:

  • Terbinafine
  • Itraconazole
  • Griseofulvin
  • Fluconazole
  • Ketoconazole

The infection should go away within 4–6 weeks after using effective treatment.

Visit Urgency

If large areas of the body are affected or if the lesions do not improve after 1–2 weeks of applying over-the-counter antifungal creams, see your doctor for an evaluation.

Advertisement

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.1174-1185. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. pp.1997-1998, 2239-2243. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.