Types and Treatments of Fungal Skin Infection | Dermatology

Fungal skin infection

What is a fungal skin infection?

Fungal skin infection is also known as mycosis, and fungal skin infection is a skin disease caused by a fungus. There are millions of species of fungi. They live in dust, on plants, on household surfaces, and on your skin. Sometimes they will cause skin problems like rashes or bumps.

These types of skin diseases are caused by a fungus and most often develop in moist areas of the body, such as the feet or armpits. Some yeast infections are not contagious, and these fungal skin infections are generally not life-threatening.

Different types of fungal skin infections

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)

The athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) may be a mycosis or fungal skin infection that sometimes begins between the toes. It usually occurs in people whose feet are very sweaty when confined to tight shoes.

The signs and symptoms of an athlete’s foot usually include a scaly rash that itches and burns. The athlete’s foot infection can be spread through contaminated floors, towels, or clothing.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot

The skin on the feet, especially between the toes, becomes itchy; it is also a stinging or burning sensation. The skin can also be:

  • Dry
  • In layers
  • Red
  • Scales
  • Cracking

Occasionally, there may be cracks in the skin and melting or crusting, itchy blisters, and swelling. Climbing patterns of the sole and side of the foot may develop. Sometimes bacterial infections can occur along with the condition. When an athlete’s foot is severe and open sores form on the skin, it can cause more damage to bacteria.

Causes of athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal skin infection caused by the same type of fungus that causes ringworm and itching. Wet socks and shoes and hot, humid conditions are conducive to the growth of organisms.

The athlete’s foot becomes contagious and is spread through contact with an infected person or through contaminated surfaces such as towels, floors, and shoes.

Risk factors

Athlete’s feet are at higher risk if you have:

  • Wear wet socks or stockings frequently
  • Share handles, rugs, bedding, clothing, or shoes with people with fungal infections
  • Walk barefoot in public places where the infection is prevalent, such as changing rooms, saunas, swimming pools, religious baths, and showers.


Athlete’s foot infection may result in the following complications

  • Your hand: People who scratch or pick infected parts of their feet can develop an identical infection on one of their hands.
  • Your nails: Fungi associated with an athlete’s foot can also infect the nails, making this area more resistant to treatment.
  • Your groin: Cat itch is often caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. It’s common for the infection to spread from the feet to the groin, so the fungus can travel on your hands or a towel


These tips can help you prevent athlete’s foot or reduce symptoms if a fungal skin infection occurs:

  • Keep your feet dry, especially between the toes. Go barefoot to ventilate your feet as much as possible when at home. Dry between your toes after a shower.
  • Change your socks regularly. If your feet sweat tons, change your socks twice each day.
  • Wear lightweight, well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made of synthetic material like vinyl or rubber.
  • Alternative pairs of shoes. Don’t wear the same pair every day, so your shoes have time to dry after each use.
  • Protect your feet in public places. Wear waterproof sandals or boots in rooms with public pools, showers, and lockers.
  • Treat your feet. Use a dry antifungal, preferably on your feet every day.
  • Don’t share shoes. Sharing the risks of spreading a yeast infection.

Diagnosis of athlete’s foot

  • A doctor diagnoses an athlete’s foot by symptoms. Or a doctor may order a skin test if she’s unsure whether a yeast infection or fungal skin infection is causing your symptoms.
  • The potassium hydroxide test for skin lesions is the most common test for athlete’s feet. A doctor removes a small area of infected skin and puts it in potassium hydroxide. KOH destroys normal cells and leaves fungal cells intact, making them easy to see under a microscope.

Treatment of athlete’s foot

If your athlete’s foot is light, your doctor may suggest using an over-the-counter antifungal ointment, cream, powder, or spray. If your athlete’s foot does not respond, you will need prescription medicine to apply to your feet. Serious infections may require antifungal pills that are taken by mouth.

Jock Itch (tinea cruris)

Jack’s Itch (Tinea cruris) is a fungal infection that causes red, itchy rashes on warm, moist areas of the body. The rash often affects the groin and inner thighs and can be ring-shaped. Jack got its name from itching because it is so common among athletes. It is also common in people who sweat a lot or are overweight.

Jock itch symptoms

Jock itch usually begins with a reddened area of skin within the crease within the groin. It often spreads to the upper thigh in a half-moon shape rash could also be ring-shaped and bordered with a line of small blisters. It may burn or feel itchy, and therefore the skin could also be flaky or scaly.

Jock itch causes

Causes of jock itch include the following:

  • Warmth, skin friction, and moist areas within the groin
  • Different types of clothing and undergarments that trap sweat
  • Infections caused by fungus and yeasts: Candida(yeast), Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton (fungal molds) which lead to a fungal skin infection.
  • Infections by certain types of bacteria

Risk factors

  • Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop cat itch.
  • Weight: Overweight people have more skin folds, which is the best environment for yeast infections, including itching.
  • Excessive sweating: If a person sweats a lot, their skin is suitable for fungal growth.
  • Age: teenagers are more prone to itchiness.
  • Wearing Tight Clothing and Underwear: Tight clothing traps moisture against the skin and creates a prime environment for fungus to grow and cause fungal skin infection.
  • Have a weakened immune system: People with a weakened immune system are more likely to get a fungal infection like cat itch than others.
  • Having diabetes: People with diabetes are prone to skin conditions, including itching.


Ringworm is often painful or itchy, but not in all cases. There is visual evidence that can help detect a yeast infection. In addition to:

  • Swelling of the groin, anal area, and upper thigh, including the genitals
  • Slightly raised patch
  • Defined limits
  • Expanding or spreading, with a clearing in the middle
  • Dry or scaly blisters (occasional dripping or scabbing)
  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • The skin is red or inflamed.
  • Yeast infections often spread in a circle, leaving the normally visible skin in the middle. On the verge of infection, the skin grows, reddens, and flakes.


  • Keep the groin area clean and dry, especially after washing, exercising, or on a hot day.
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid tight synthetic clothing or agile clothing
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Change your underwear every day
  • Change your towels frequently


Your doctor can often diagnose cat itch by looking at the rash. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor may take skin scrapings or samples from the infected area to study under a microscope.

Jock itch treatment

If you don’t treat the itch, it can last for months. But over-the-counter drugs called antifungals usually go away within a few weeks. They are available in creams, powders, and sprays.

  • Keep the area clean and dry. Follow these steps for faster healing:
  • Rinse the area and then pat dry with a clean towel.
  • For the rest of the body other than the infected area using a different towel
  • Lab read the word tag and apply the word as directed.
  • Use it for the recommended time; The infection can come back if it is stopped quickly.
  • Talk to your doctor if you don’t feel well for a few weeks. You may need a badly needed medicine.

Ringworm (tinea corporis)

Also known as ringworm, dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, or tinea, which is a fungal infection of the skin. “Ringworm” is a misnomer because it is a fungus, not a worm, that causes a fungal skin infection. The ulcer caused by this infection resembles a ring-shaped worm – hence the name.

Symptoms of ringworm

Ringworm symptoms by position on the body:

  • Feet (tinea pedis or “athlete’s foot”): Symptoms of ringworm on the feet include redness, swelling, peeling, and itching of the skin between the toes (especially the little and adjacent toes). The sole and heel of the foot are also affected. In severe cases, the skin on the feet can cause blisters.
  • Scalp (tinea capitis): Ringworm on the scalp usually appears as circular, red, scaly, and itchy bald spots. The size of the bald scar increases and multiple scars develop as the infection spreads. Ringworm of the scalp more common in children
  • Groin (tinea cruris or “cat itch”): Ringworm in the groin appears as red, dry, itchy spots, usually in the inner folds of the skin of the thigh.
  • Beard: Symptoms of ringworm on the chin include peeling, itching, red spots on the cheeks, chin, and upper neck. The spots may be covered with scab or pus, and the affected hair may fall out.

Causes of ringworm

Ringworm is an infectious fungal infection caused by simple mold-like parasites that live in cells in the outer layer of the skin. It spreads in the following ways:

  • From human to human: Ringworm is often spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  • Animal to a human: You can get ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm. Ringworm can be transmitted when dogs or cats are petted or dressed. It is also very common in cows.
  • Object to man: Ringworm can be spread by contact with an infected person or animal with clothing, towels, bedding, and freshly touched or rubbed objects or surfaces, such as bedding, combs, and brushes.
  • Soil for man: In rare cases, ringworm can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected soil. Infection often occurs only by prolonged contact with infected soil.

Risk factors

Your body’s risk of getting ringworm is higher if you have:

  • Live in a warm climate
  • Stay in close contact with an infected person or animal.
  • Share clothing, bedding, or towels with people with fungal infections.
  • Participate in skin-to-skin sports such as wrestling.
  • Wear tight or restricted clothing
  • Have a weakened immune system


The infection is not serious and rarely, at any time, spreads below the surface of the skin. However, people with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV or AIDS, may have a difficult time recovering from an infection.

As with other infections and skin conditions, itchy, irritated, or cracked skin can lead to secondary bacterial infections that require treatment with antibiotics.


  • Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Choose shoes that allow the passage of air to the feet.
  • Do not walk barefoot in areas such as locker rooms or outdoor showers.
  • Trim your fingernails and toenails and keep them clean.
  • Change your socks and underwear a minimum of one time a day.
  • Do not share clothes, towels, sheets, or other personal items with people with ringworm.
  • Wash your hands with soap and running water after twiddling with pets.
  • If you suspect your pet has ringworm, take her to the vet. If your pet has ringworm, follow the steps below to prevent the spread of infection.
  • If you are an athlete involved in close contact sports, take a shower immediately after your practice session or game and keep your sports equipment and uniform clean. Do not share sports equipment (helmets, etc.) with other players.


By looking at the affected skin and asking questions about your symptoms your healthcare provider can usually diagnose ringworm. You can also take a small skin scrap to examine under a microscope or send it to a lab for a fungal culture.

Treatment of ringworm

If over-the-counter treatments don’t work, you may need prescription antifungal medications, such as ionic lotion, cream, or ointment that you apply to the affected skin. If your fungal skin infection is particularly severe or widespread, your doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

Tinea versicolor

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin that is very common. The fungus interferes with the normal pigmentation of the skin, resulting in the formation of small pale spots. These patches can be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin and generally affect the trunk and shoulders.

Tinea versicolor symptoms

Signs and symptoms of tinea versicolor:

  • Discolouration of the skin, usually on the back, chest, neck, and upper arm, lighter or darker than normal
  • Mild itching
  • Climbing


Yeast growth on the surface of the skin causes tinea versicolor. If your skin is warm, moist, and oily, the natural yeast available will grow in small colonies. These are responsible for Tinea versicolor.

Risk factors

Several factors increase the chances of developing tinea versicolor. Besides these

  • Hot and humid weather,
  • Excessive sweating (for example, those who sweat a lot or those who do a lot of sports) and
  • Use of oils or cosmetics to clog the pores of the skin.
  • Genes probably play a very important role.

People with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a fungal skin infection, making them more likely to develop tinea versicolor. The immune system can be weakened by certain types of cancer or drugs that suppress the immune system, for example, after an organ transplant.


The main problem with tinea versicolor is skin discolouration, which lasts for weeks after treatment because melanocytes (cells that produce skin colour) need time to recover and properly pigment the skin.

There are no permanent problems with tinea versicolor. Unlike pure superficial infection/colonization, there is no concern for a deep invasion in patients with an intact immune system.


The most effective prevention method is hygiene. Removing excess oil and dirt from the skin can help protect a person from getting this infection.

Over-the-counter antifungal lotions and shampoos provide good ways to prevent it. Similar products can also help control a mild infection. Also, taking a few extra steps to stay dry in hot, humid weather and not getting too much sunlight can help stop the growth of tinea versicolor.


See your doctor if strange coloured patches appear on your skin and you cannot treat them at home. Your doctor will examine your skin and tell you if you have tinea versicolor by looking at the patches. If the diagnosis cannot be made by looking at the skin, your doctor may perform a skin scraping. Skin scraping removes skin cells for analysis by gently scraping them.

A microscope is shown below to see if the cells contain the yeast that causes this condition. Your doctor may perform a potassium hydroxide (KOH) microscopy. During this procedure, your doctor will take a skin sample, place it under a microscope slide with a 20 per cent KOH solution, and look for yeast fungi or hyphae under a microscope.

Tinea versicolor treatment

If your tinea versicolor is severe or does not respond to over-the-counter antifungal medications, you may need prescription medications. Some of these medications are topical preparations that are rubbed on the skin. Others are drugs that you take.


  • Ketoconazole cream, gel, or shampoo (ketoconazole, nizoral, others)
  • Ciclopirox (Loprox, Penlock) cream, gel, or shampoo
  • Fluconazole (Diflucon) tablets or oral solution
  • Itraconazole (Onemel, Sporanox) tablets, capsules, or oral solution
  • 2.5% Selenium Sulfide (Nelson) Ion Lotion or Shampoo

Even after successful treatment, your skin colour will remain uneven for many weeks or months. Also, fungal skin infection can reappear in hot, humid weather. In persistent cases, you may need to take the medication once or twice a month to prevent the recurrence of the fungal skin infection.

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