Despite its name, ringworm isn’t a worm at all. It’s a type of fungal infection affecting the skin, and often appears as a red, flakey and itchy patch of raised skin. The defining feature of common ringworm is the circular shape and red ring around the affected area. Since spider bites, certain types of eczema, psoriasis, yeast infections and Lyme disease can look nearly identical to ringworm, it’s important to see a doctor right away. If your rash is ringworm, a dermatologist can determine the best medications to clear it up.
Symptoms of Ringworm in Different Areas
While the typical itchy, red-ringed patch is found on the large surfaces of the skin, ringworm can appear differently if it affects specific body parts. Common areas where ringworm looks different are:
- The head and scalp. Ringworm can cause bald spots. Where the hair is lost, there may be scaly skin. It can be mistaken for bad dandruff, and because it is often found in children, can be mistaken for seborrhea, or ‘cradle cap.’
- The feet. Also called ‘athlete’s foot,’ this itchy, burning form of ringworm can cause inflamed skin, peeling between the toes and blistering or oozing.
- The nails. Ringworm of the nails can make toenails thick and yellow. They are often easy to break and can even crumble.
- The groin. Frequently called ‘jock itch,’ it may take a half-moon appearance on the thighs. It is usually itchy and may blister.
- The eye or face. Ringworm on the face isn’t usually ring-shaped. Instead, it may look like clusters of scales, and they may ooze or become crusty.
Seek Treatment for Ringworm
Ringworm won’t go away on its own. If ringworm doesn’t have the classic red ring, your dermatologist will take a scraping off the skin area. This scraping can be examined for signs of the fungus. There are several treatment options, and the one your doctor selects will depend on the locations and severity of the infection.
Any rashes that won’t go away should be examined by a medical dermatologist. Contact Medical Dermatology Specialists today for a consultation and treatment of any skin conditions.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM