Dermatophytosis: What You Need to Know About This Skin Infection

Dermatophytosis, also known as ringworm or tinea, is a fungal skin infection that is extremely common among people of all ages. It can occur on a person’s hands, feet, scalp, and body. Symptoms typically include red patches of skin that may be itchy, scaly, or painful. Treatment may involve antifungal medications, such as ointment or cream, although some cases may require oral medication.

If you’re dealing with this infection, here’s what you should know.

Causes of Dermatophytosis

Dermatophytosis is caused by fungi that live on the skin, hair, and nails. One of the most common types of fungi is called Trichophyton rubrum and can be transferred through direct contact with an infected person, through contact with contaminated objects such as clothing or towels, or through contact with animals. It’s also possible to contract the infection by walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces like gym showers or swimming pools.

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of dermatophytosis can vary, but often include:

  • Red, ring-shaped lesions on the skin
  • Itching, burning, or scaly skin
  • Hair loss on the scalp
  • Thick, crumbly nails
  • Swelling and tenderness in the affected skin

Diagnosis & Treatment

If your symptoms suggest dermatophytosis, your doctor may perform a physical examination, and may take a skin biopsy or scrapings from the affected area. Treatment usually includes antifungal medications, such as ointments or creams applied to the skin. In more severe cases, oral antifungal medications may be necessary. Your doctor may also recommend a topical steroid to help reduce inflammation.

Preventing Dermatophytosis

The best way to prevent the spread of dermatophytosis is to practice good hygiene, such as showering or bathing regularly, keeping the infected area clean and dry, and not sharing clothing, towels, or other personal items with an infected person. Additionally, people should be mindful not to walk barefoot on contaminated surfaces, such as in public showers or pools.