Fungus Infection of the Skin

An infection of your skin caused by a fungus is a very common problem. Treatment depends on which part of the body is affected. Types of fungal skin infection include:

  • Athlete's Foot (Tinea pedis). This infection starts between the toes and may involve the entire sole and sides of foot. It is the most common fungal disease. It is made worse by heat, moisture, and friction. To treat, wash your feet 2 to 3 times daily. Dry thoroughly between the toes. Use medicated foot powder or cream as directed on the package. Plain talc, cornstarch, or rice powder may be dusted into socks and shoes to keep the feet dry. Wearing footwear that allows ventilation is also helpful.

  • Ringworm (Tinea corporis and tinea capitis). This infection causes scaly red rings to form on the skin or scalp. For skin sores, apply medicated lotion or cream as directed on the package. For the scalp, medicated shampoo may be used with with other therapies. Ringworm of the scalp or fingernails usually requires using oral medicine for 2 to 4 months.

  • Tinea versicolor. This infection appears as painless, scaly, patchy areas of discolored skin (whitish to light brown). It is more common in the summer and favors oily areas of the skin such as those found at the chest, abdomen, back, pubis, neck, and body folds. It can be treated with medicated shampoo or with medicated topical cream. Oral antifungals may be needed for more active infections. The light and/or dark spots may take time to get better and is not a sign of treatment failure.

Fungal infections may need to be treated for several weeks to be cured. It is important not to treat fungal infections with steroids or combination medicine that contains an antifungal and steroid as these will make the fungal infection worse.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have persistent itching or rawness.

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).