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Tinea Corporis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

What is tinea corporis?

Tinea corporis, or ringworm, is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It usually affects the skin on your face, chest, or limbs. Tinea corporis is most common in children and athletes.

What increases my risk for tinea corporis?

Tinea corporis can be spread through skin-to-skin contact with a person who has ringworm. You can also get it by touching or using items that have been used by a person with ringworm. Items include towels, clothes, and bed linens. In schools and daycare, these items may be sleep mats or stuffed animals. In public places, you may get tinea corporis by touching pool or gym surfaces, wrestling mats, and shower stalls. You may also get tinea corporis if you touch an infected pet.

What are the signs and symptoms of tinea corporis?

Tinea corporis may begin as 1 or more flat, red patches. As the infection grows, it spreads out in a circle or ring, leaving normal-looking skin in the middle. At the edge of the ring, the skin is red and raised. It may be either dry and scaly, or moist and crusty. The infected skin may itch. Although the infection looks like you have a worm under your skin, there is no worm.

How is tinea corporis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may be able to tell you have tinea corporis by looking at your skin. He may gently scrape off some of your skin and look at the sample through a microscope. This will help him know the type of fungus that is causing your infection.

How is tinea corporis treated?

Tinea corporis is usually treated with antifungal medicine. It may be given as a cream or pill. Take the medicine until it is gone, even if it looks like your infection is gone sooner.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I prevent the spread of tinea corporis?

  • Wash all items that come into contact with infected skin. Wash all towels, clothes, and bedding in hot water. Use laundry soap. Clean shower stalls, mats, and floors with a germ-killing or fungus-killing cleaner.
  • Do not share personal items. Do not share towels, brushes, combs, or hair accessories.
  • Keep your skin, hair, and nails clean and dry. Bathe every day, and dry your skin before you put medicine on the infected area. Wash your hands often. Do not scratch your sores. This may cause the infection to spread.
  • Do not participate in contact sports , such as wrestling, for 72 hours after starting treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider before you participate in contact sports.
  • Have infected pets treated by a veterinarian. A patch of missing fur is a sign of infection in a pet. Wear gloves and long sleeves if you handle an infected animal. Always wash your hands after handling the animal. Vacuum your home to remove infected fur or skin flakes. Disinfect surfaces and bedding that your animal comes into contact with.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • Your rash continues to spread after 7 days of treatment.
  • Your rash is not gone in 2 weeks.
  • The area around your sore becomes red, warm, tender, swollen, or smells bad.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.