Ringworm, or tinea corporis, is a fungal infection of the skin that is not caused by worms. Ringworm often starts as an itchy, reddish, ring-shaped rash that can be anywhere on your body. You can easily treat a mild case of ringworm at home with antifungal lotions or creams. More severe cases may require a doctor’s visit and prescription medication. By recognizing the symptoms of ringworm early and treating the infection at home, you may be able to avoid more involved medical treatment.

Cause of Ringworm 

Although anyone can get ringworm, certain people are more prone to developing the infection. You are more likely to develop ringworm if you:

  • Are younger than 15 years of age
  • Reside in a humid, damp, or crowded place
  • Come into close contact with a person or animal infected with ringworm
  • Share clothing, bedding, or towels with a person who has ringworm
  • Take part in sports that include skin-to-skin contact such as wrestling
  • Wear tight clothing
  • Have a weakened immune system

How to Identify Ringworm

In most cases, ringworm starts as a flat and scaly patch of skin. As the infection progresses, the scaly patches my grow in size.


  • Scaly skin may have raised border that expands outward as the infection spreads on your skin. The patch will form a roughly circular ring, hence the name ringworm.
  •  basic contours of the scaly or infected patch will be circular, but may also appear to be wavy like the outline of a snake or worm. You may also have several rings that interconnect with one another.
  • See if you have any patchy and itchy areas in your groin or on your feet that are not circular in shape. These areas may both be signs of ringworm more commonly known as jock itch and athlete’s foot.
  • Check the color of the border and see if it is a darker red than the inside of the patch. This is often a good indication of a ringworm infection.
  • ringworm of the scalp often starts as a small sore that looks like a pimple. 


One of the most common symptoms of ringworm is severe itching and discomfort on your skin, especially near patches or sores. If you have itching and/ or discomfort with any of the other symptoms, chances are you have ringworm and should get a diagnosis.



In most cases, your doctor can diagnose ringworm by examining it. However, you may need some testing to confirm a diagnosis. This can also help your doctor develop the best treatment plan for you.See if your doctor scrapes off some skin flakes. She’ll look at these under a microscope to identify the fungus and diagnose your ringworm.. 

Treat Ringworm

Anti fungal cream or lotion if your ringworm is severe. Prescription antifungals are more powerful than over the counter options and may be more effective at treating your ringworm.Follow dosing instructions if your doctor gives you a prescription antifungal.


Oral antifungals. Your doctor may also prescribe an oral treatment for ringworm. These pills are often used for more severe cases of ringworm and may be used in conjunction with creams or lotions.

  • Take oral antifungals for 8-10 weeks and follow the dosing instructions. The most common medications are terbinafine, itraconazole, griseofulvin, and fluconazole.
  • Be aware that oral antifungals may have the following side effects: diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and headache.

Antifunal Shampoo with an antifungal product. For scalp ringworm, you may take an oral antifungal and shampoo with an antifungal product. This may be easier and more effective at curing scalp ringworm