All of the conditions listed above are caused by a fungal infection and are referred to as “tinea.” Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet become very sweaty while wearing damp socks and/or tight-fitting shoes. Jock itch or “tinea cruris” is the same thing but occurs in the groin and ringworm is called “tinea corporis” and can occur anywhere on the body. Tinea capitis is a fungal infection on the scalp.
Tinea is a pink or red skin rash that can form a scaly patch or ring shape around normal skin. It can itch, sting or burn. When it appears on the scalp it can even cause areas of hair loss. It is contagious to others and can also spread to other areas of your body.
Tinea is often diagnosed from its clinical appearance but sometimes your dermatologist will need to take a skin scraping to look under the microscope for evidence of fungal hyphae or to send to a laboratory to identify the fungus by staining a biopsy or by growing it in a culture.
Pharmacologic agents such as topical and oral medications are often used to treat fungal skin infections. In addition, because fungi thrive in damp, warm environments, patients are encouraged to wear moisture-wicking clothing. In addition, it is sometimes also recommended to dry the affected area on the body thoroughly and to use certain over-the-counter topical products that wick away moisture
*This webpage is for informational purposes and is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, medical advice. Any medical concerns should be addressed with a physician.