Skip to main content

Ringworm, or tinea corporis, is a common skin infection on the body caused by a fungus. This fungus can cause skin infections on different parts of the body and has a different name depending on where it is found. On the scalp, it’s known as tinea capitis. Athletes’ foot is also known as tinea pedis. Jock itch is known as tinea cruris.

What does it look like?

Ringworm isn’t caused by a worm. Its name has more to do with how the rash appears. Ringworm is a red, round, dry, and scaly rash, with some area in the center without the rash. This rash is often itchy.

How do I get ringworm?

The most common way ringworm is spread is by person-to-person contact, meaning touching ringworm that is on someone else. You can also get ringworm from cats and dogs that have it. Less commonly, the fungus that causes ringworm can be spread in the environment – such as contaminated soil or public showers.

What to do.

In mild cases, ringworm can be treated at home with over-the-counter antifungal medications, such as clotrimazole, also known as lotrimin (make sure to use as directed). Also, make sure to keep the area clean and dry.

If over-the-counter medications do not work, or if you are unsure, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to make a diagnosis just by looking at the rash. Sometimes, your doctor may need to take a skin scraping to look at under a microscope. Your doctor will likely prescribe a medicated antifungal lotion to rub on the rash. In some cases, the rash may need antifungal pills taken by mouth.