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Tinea, ringworm, dermatophytosis or dermatophyte infection is a fungal infection of the skin.

The lesion resembles a ring-shaped worm.


Tinea or fungal infections are easy to diagnose. Dermatologists diagnose them by looking at them. However, in some cases, they may do a KOH mount. READ MORE



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All types of tinea are fungal infections. Moreover, fungal infections take time to heal. They require at least 2-4 weeks of treatment.


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Tinea is a fungal infection. There are various types of fungal infections. Depending on the location of the infection, it is named differently. The most common causes of Tinea are improper hygienic conditions, humid climate & coming in contact with an infected person.


Three different types of fungi can cause tinea - Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton.

However, unhygienic habits are humid weather the most common causes of Tinea.

Tinea is highly contagious and it can occur in the following ways:

  • Using dirty clothes
  • Excessive sweating
  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  • From your pets.
  • By touching clothes, towels, combs and brushes that belong to an infected person.
  • From working or standing barefoot in soil that is infected with the fungus that causes ringworm.

Different types of fungi cause ringworm. Moreover, there are different names for tinea depending on which part of the body it affects:

Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot is ringworm infection of the foot. People who go barefoot in public places where the infection can spread, such as locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools suffer from Tinea pedis.

Tinea cruris or jock’s itch refers to ringworm infection around the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. Generally, men and adolescent boys suffer from Jock's itch.
Tinea capitis or scalp ringworm starts as scaling on the scalp. Subsequently, it develops into itchy, scaly bald patches. Moreover, it is very common among children.

Tinea unguium or dermatophytic onychomycosis is ringworm of the nails.

Lastly, Tinea corporis or ringworm of the body appears as patches with the characteristic round ring shape.


Symptoms vary depending on the infection site. However, some of the symptoms are -

  • Patches that develop blisters or pustules
  • Red, itchy, or scaly patches
  • Raised areas of skin called plaques
  • Ring-shaped patches that are redder on the outside edges
  • Patches with edges that are defined and raised
  • Thicker, cracked or discoloured nails

Do & Don't for Getting Tinea

DO: Keep your skin and scalp clean and dry.
DO: Wear flip-flops in locker rooms and public showers.
DO: Change your underwear and socks at least once every day.
DO: Wash your hands with soap after playing with pets.
DO: Wash your clothes
DO: Use your powders, gels and creams.
DON’T: Share clothes or combs with someone who has tinea.
DON’T: Wear dirty gear and uniforms.
DON’T: Sit around in a wet bathing suit.
DON’T: Keep your groin area and feet wet.
DON’T: Wear tight clothing and underwear.

Types of Tinea

1. Tinea pedis:

Tinea pedis is a foot infection. Usually, it is caused by Trichophyton rubrum. It is a dermatophyte and it thrives in humid conditions.

Risk factors:

Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus starts to grow on the feet. The fungus is most commonly found in showers, locker room floors, and also around swimming pools.

Moreover, some of the factors that increase your risk of athlete’s foot are:

  • Being barefoot in locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.
  • Sharing the socks, shoes, or towels of an infected person.
  • Wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes.
  • Not drying your feet and keeping them wet for long.
  • Having sweaty feet.
  • Having an injury on the nails or skin of your foot.

Symptoms of tinea pedis:

There are various possible symptoms of athlete’s foot, which act as warning signs:

  • Itching, stinging and burning between the toes and soles.
  • Blisters on the feet that itch.
  • Cracked or peeling skin between the toes and on the soles.
  • Dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet.
  • Raw skin on the feet.
  • Discoloured, thick, and crumbly toenails.
  • Toenails that pull away from the nail bed.

2. Tinea cruris:

Tinea cruris is an infection of the groin. Usually, it is caused by Trichophyton rubrum and Epidermophyton floccosum. It is also called jock’s itch.
Risk factors:

The fungus that causes tinea cruris prefers moist and warm environments. Moreover, it thrives in areas where skin comes in contact with other skin, such as the groin or between the toes.

Moreover, some of the risk factors are -

  • Tight clothing
  • Using male athletic guards
  • Leaving sweaty equipment in a locker
  • Sharing an infected person's towels, combs, and shoes

Symptoms of tinea cruris:

The fungal infections often spread out in a circle and leave a normal-looking skin in the middle. Moreover, there are visual symptoms which can help you identify a fungal infection. These include:

  • Inflammation on the upper thigh, groin, or anal area
  • Slightly raised patch
  • Sharp borders
  • Expanding or spreading, with clearing in the centre
  • Dry or scaly blisters (occasionally oozing or crusting)
  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • Skin redness or inflammation
  • Painful and itchy skin

3. Tinea capitis:

Tinea capitis, also called ringworm of the scalp, is a skin disorder caused by fungi called dermatophytes. It may also occur on the eyebrows and eyelashes. Usually, the fungi belongs to the genera Trichophyton and Microsporum. Generally, it is seen in children below the age of ten. Moreover, Tinea capitis can be persistent and highly contagious.

Risk factors:

Some of the risk factors are -

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Sharing an infected person's towels and combs


  • Round, scaly lesions on the scalp.
  • Inflammation on the scalp.
  • ‘Black dot’ appearance seen due to hair that has broken off at the scalp.
  • Smooth areas of hair loss.
  • Scarring and permanent hair loss.

4. Tinea versicolor:

The rapid growth of the Malassezia yeast causes tinea versicolor. However, the exact cause of this rapid growth is not known.
Moreover, this condition can occur in people of different ethnicities. Usually, it is more common in teenagers.

Risk factors:

  • In addition, some factors that promote the growth of this yeast on the skin are:
  • Humid weather
  • Excess sweating
  • Oily skin
  • Weak immune system
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Genetics


Tinea versicolor patches are usually visible on the arms, chest, neck, or back. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Discoloured patches of skin - they may be lighter or darker than the remaining skin.
  • The patches may be pink, red, or brown
  • The patches may be scaly, dry and cause itching
  • These patches may disappear in cooler or less humid weather

5. Tinea unguium:

Tinea unguium or onychomycosis is a fungal infection that occurs on the toenails and fingernails. In addition, This may happen in, under, or on the nail. Moreover, the infection occurs when the fungus growth rapidly increases.

Risk factors:

Some risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing tinea unguium are -

  • Having diabetes
  • Having poor circulation
  • Being over age 65
  • Wearing fake nails
  • Swimming in a public swimming pool
  • Having a nail injury
  • Having a skin injury around the nail
  • Keeping fingers or toes wet for an extended time
  • Having a weak immune system
  • Wearing closed shoes like tennis shoes or boots


Some of the symptoms are:

  • Formation of scales under the nail or subungual hyperkeratosis.
  • Appearance of white or yellow streaks on the nail. This is called lateral onychomycosis.
  • Crumbling of the nail tips. This is called distal onychomycosis.
  • Flaking white areas or pits in the nail.
  • Yellow spots at the base of the nail. This is called proximal onychomycosis.
  • Moreover, the entire nail may come off.
  • Odor coming from the infected nail.
  • Lastly, thickening of the nail.

6. Tinea corporis:

Tinea corporis or ringworm of the body is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. Moreover, these fungi survive on a substance called keratin.

Risk factors:

Factors that increase your risk include:

  • Living in damp or humid areas
  • Excessive sweating
  • Participating in contact sports
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Having a weak immune system
  • Sharing clothing, bedding, or towels with others


  • Circular rashes with raised edges
  • Itchy skin
  • Blisters and pus-filled sores near the rings.

Treatments for Tinea

Tinea or fungal infections are easy to diagnose.  Dermatologists diagnose them by looking at them. However, in some cases, they may carry out various tests to diagnose it. Once they diagnose the type of infection as well as the severity, dermatologists decide the course of treatment. 

The treatment consists of two parts: 

  1. Topical creams & and oral medications.
  2. Maintaining personal hygiene & care. 

Dermatologists prescribe  creams, ointments, lotions, gels, shampoos, and powder to the patient. This depends on the site of infection as well as the extent of infection.

They may also prescribe oral antifungal agents. These are for those patients who are unresponsive to topical antifungal creams. Further, they are for those individuals who have extensive fungal injections.  It is important to complete the entire treatment. One must not suddenly stop the medication on initial relief. 

 When you use topical medicines, it is important to keep in mind the golden rule of 2  in mind. 

Rule #1 

The affected area should be cleaned and dried. All moisture needs to be removed before applying the topical medicine.  Put the cream on your fingertip. Then apply it on the boundary of infectious lesions, 2 cms within the boundary, and outside it. Apply the cream on the periphery and drag it into the center, while blending it . 

Rule #2

Do this twice a day, once in the morning and once at night for the stipulated course which is usually 2 weeks. The fungal infection will have complete clearance in that much time. 

However, it is very important to maintain hygiene after the treatment. This will help to prevent it from spreading and worsening. Complete your treatment and maintain personal hygiene to prevent recurrence. 

Timeline for Tinea

Tinea is a type of fungal infection. You will need to use the medicine continuously for at least 2 to 4 weeks to kill the fungus and prevent a recurrence.

Moreover, it is important to follow the hygiene and care instructions followed by the doctor. Fungal infections will recur if one does not take proper precautions. In fact, do not use the steroid containing creams. These provide instant relief. However, they do not treat the fungal infection. As a result, it recurs.

Treat your fungal infection from the right dermatologist. The healing period for you will vary based on the type and location of tinea.

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Do & Don't for Getting Dark Circles

DO: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
DO: Use hats, scarves, and sunglasses.
DO: Eat citrus fruits.

DON’T: Avoid overexposure to the sun.
DON’T: Don't over-exfoliate.
DON’T: Avoid using home remedies.

Do & Don't for Getting Pigmentation

DO: Visit your dermatologist in the initial stages.
DO: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (> SPF 30).
DO: Use sun protection like scarves and hats.
DO: You need to avoid excessive sun exposure.
DO: Carry an umbrella, wear full sleeves clothing or broad-brimmed hats.
DO: Wear SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen with PA++ protection.

DON’T: Overexpose yourself to the sun.
DON’T: Step outdoors without sunscreen.
DON’T: Ignore sunburns as they may lead to skin cancer