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Tinea corporis

Fungal infection - body; Infection - fungal - body; Tinea of the body; Tinea circinata; Ringworm - body

Tinea corporis is a skin infection that is caused by fungi. It is also called ringworm.

Related skin fungus infections may appear:

Images

Dermatitis, reaction to tinea
Ringworm, tinea corporis on an infant's leg
Tinea versicolor - close-up
Tinea versicolor - shoulders
Ringworm, tinea on the hand and leg
Tinea versicolor - close-up
Tinea versicolor on the back
Ringworm, tinea manuum on the finger
Ringworm, tinea corporis on the leg
Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)
Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)
Tinea corporis - ear

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Causes

Fungi are germs that can live on the dead tissue of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers. Tinea corporis is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.

Tinea corporis is common in children, but can occur in people of all ages.

Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. A tinea infection is more likely if you:

Tinea corporis can spread easily. You can catch it if you come into direct contact with an area of ringworm on someone's body. You can also get it by touching items that have the fungi on them, such as:

Ringworm can also be spread by pets. (Cats are common carriers.)

Symptoms

The rash begins as a small area of red, raised spots and pimples. The rash slowly becomes ring-shaped, with a red, raised border and a clearer center. The border may look scaly.

The rash may occur on the arms, legs, face, or other exposed body areas.

The area may be itchy.

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider can often diagnose tinea corporis by looking at your skin.

You may also need the following tests:

Treatment

Keep your skin clean and dry.

Use creams that treat fungal infections.

To use this medicine:

Rarely, you may need to take medicine by mouth if your infection is very bad.

A child with ringworm can return to school once treatment has started.

To prevent the infection from spreading:

Infected pets should also be treated.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Ringworm often goes away within 4 weeks when using antifungal creams. The infection may spread to the feet, scalp, groin, or nails. 

Possible Complications

Two complications of ringworm are:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if ringworm does not get better with self-care.

Related Information

Ringworm
Tinea capitis
Jock itch
Athlete's foot
Cellulitis

References

Elewski BE, Hughey LC, Sobera JO, et al. Fungal diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 77.

Hay RJ. Dermatophytosis and other superficial mycoses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 267.

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Review Date: 11/12/2014  

Reviewed By: Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, dermatologist in private practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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