Ringworm is actually a fungal infection that usually presents itself as a red and itchy patch which may progress and form into a ring resembling a worm, hence the name ringworm. Inside the ring may be clear, scaly or blistered skin. Different cases may present one patch or several overlapping patches. There are different types of ringworm infections where the signs and symptoms may somehow vary.
Types of Ringworm
Have a look at the different types of ringworm below. This may help you identify your exact problem, so you know what you are dealing with.
Ringworm of the scalp (Tinea capitis)
Ringworm of the scalp may be characterized by small patches of scaly skin on the scalp which are usually sore and is associated with bald spots. This ringworm symptom may also include an itchy scalp. For severe cases, small and pus-filled sores on the scalp may appear. Severe cases may also involve crusting of the scalp. This must not be confused with dandruff because the latter does not cause hair loss. This type of ringworm commonly affects children, mostly those in the adolescent stage.
Ringworm of the face (Tinea faciale)
This type of ringworm does not involve the beard area. Ring-like representation of the fungal infection on the face is rare. Ringworm of the face usually just manifests as red and scaly patches with indefinite edges.
Ringworm of the bearded area (Tinea barbae)
Ringworm of the bearded area in the face and neck is commonly known as the barber’s itch during the time when men went to have their daily shaves from a barber. This type of ringworm presents itself with distinct crusting and swelling of the infected area, which usually comes with itching and causes the beard to come off.
Ringworm of the hands (Tinea manus)
This type of ringworm affects the hands, particularly the palms and the areas between fingers. It is commonly accompanied by the ringworm of the feet. These ringworm symptoms are characterized by the thickening of the affected areas usually on one hand only. This thickening is called hyperkeratosis.
Ringworm of the nails (Tinea unguium)
This type of fungal infection is more commonly known as fungal nails and medically termed as onychomycosis. A fungal infection on the fingernails and more often on the toenails is characterized by the discolored, thick and crumbly nails. Discoloration of the nails will turn it into whitish, yellowish, green or even black. The nails may also become brittle resulting to the falling off of the affected nails. This type of ringworm also manifests sore and irritated skin around the nails.
Ringworm of the body (Tinea corporis)
When ringworm infects the skin on the body, it usually manifests the typical ringworm signs which includes the circular or ring like red patches where the rings appear and feel partially raised. The ringworm symptoms of this type may be irritated or itchy. This ring-like patch may progress into bigger patches, grow in number, and even sometimes merge together. In severe cases, blisters and pus-filled sores may also manifest around the rings.
Ringworm of the groin (Tinea cruris)
The ringworm of the groin is more commonly known as jock itch. It usually appears as reddish-brown sores, but does not necessarily form a ring-like pattern. It may spread from the folds of the groin to the thighs making it look flaky or scaly, and to the bottom area. These ringworm symptoms include itchiness and redness of the affected area. Jock itch is usually accompanied with the ringworm of the feet because of the risk of transferring the fungus from the feet to the groin.
Ringworm of the feet (Tinea pedis)
This fungal infection of the feet is more commonly known as Athlete’s foot. This type of fungal infection is considered a very common infection and the most persistent among the other tinea infections. This type of infection may cause several symptoms as well. These ringworm symptoms include the itchy, red, dry, scaly rash more common on the toe webs between the 4th and 5th toes. There are cases where it presents as the moccasin distribution where the skin of the heels and soles of the feet become thickened or scaly. For severe instances, the affected areas become cracked, blistered and inflamed. The skin will also experience a stinging or burning sensation.