Tinea corporis is a skin infection due to fungi.
Fungal infection - body; Infection - fungal - body; Tinea of the body; Tinea circinata; Ringworm - body
Tinea corporis (often called ringworm of the body) is a common skin disorder, especially among children. However, it may occur in people of all ages. It is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.
Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. The following raise your risk for a fungal infection:
- Long-term wetness of the skin (such as from sweating)
- Minor skin and nail injuries
- Poor hygiene
Tinea corporis is contagious. You can catch the condition if you come into direct contact with someone who is infected, or if you touch contaminated items such as:
- Pool surfaces
- Shower floors and walls
The fungi can also be spread by pets (cats are common carriers).
Symptoms include itching and a ring-shaped, red-colored skin rash. The rash may occur on the arms, legs, face, or other exposed body areas. The border of the rash lesions look scaly.
Exams and Tests
The primary diagnosis is based on how the skin looks.
In some cases, the following tests may be done:
Keep the skin clean and dry. Over-the-counter antifungal creams, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients, are often effective in controlling ringworm.
Severe or chronic infection may need further treatment by your health care provider.
Oral antifungal medications may be used for severe, widespread fungal infections, or an infection that has spread deeper into the skin to the hair follicle. Stronger, prescription topical antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.
Infected pets should also be treated.
Ringworm usually responds to topical medications within 4 weeks. Severe or resistant cases usually respond quickly to antifungal medicines taken by mouth.
- Bacterial skin infections, cellulitis
- Skin disorders such as pyoderma or dermatophytid
- Spread of tinea to feet, scalp, groin, or nails
- Whole-body (systemic) side effects of medications
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if ringworm does not improve with self-care.
Good general hygiene helps prevent ringworm infections. Avoid contact with infected pets as much as possible.
Clean and dry clothing and household items, such as combs and bathroom surfaces, before you reuse them or another person uses them to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands thoroughly after having contact with any fungal infection, including when treating the infection.
Andrews MD, Burns M. Common tinea infections in children. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:1415-1420.
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.