What is Ringworm or Tinea?


Ringworm – once thought to be an actual worm lurking beneath the skin – is a common fungal infection of the skin. The expression ringworm is often written as ring worm or ringworms by mistake. It is a superficial fungal infection of the skin or scalp (hair). Ringworm is often used as synonym to Tinea. (Tinea is sometimes written ‘tinia’ by mistake.) However, tinea is the medical expression of nearly all fungal infections on the skin, hair or nail area.

So, now what is ringworm really?

Nowadays, in some literature the expression ringworm is used for all types of tineas. Here, on this site I will use the term ringworm only for Tinea corporis and Tinea capitis. Yes, for body ringworm and scalp ringworm. Ringworm is often written as ‘ring worm’ by mistake.

View a few body ringworms pictures

What causes ringworm?

Causes of ringworm are a group of mould type skin fungi, called dermatophytes, which invade the dead outer layer of the skin, called keratin. They require keratin for nutrition to survive. Ringworm infection never becomes deep and invasive, remains always superficial on the outer skin layer.

The main genera are:

In different parts of the world, different species causes ringworm. For example in New Zealand Trichophyton rubrum is the most common cause of ringworm. Microsporum canis is the usual cause of ringworm transmitted from different pets and farmyard animals.

Read about ringworm symptoms….

How do you get ringworm?

Fungi thrives in warm, moist and dark environments, as any warm climate, communal bath, shower floor and wall, swimming pools, locker rooms or skin folds. You are most likely getting ringworm infection at those places.

More about ringworm:

Is ringworm contagious?

Ringworm symptoms

What does ringworm look like? /Ringworms pictures

How to treat ringworm? /Cure for ringworm

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