Font Size

Ringworm on Scalp

Ringworm on Scalp Overview

Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is a very common infection among children throughout the world. It is not caused by a worm but by a fungus infection and is named for the ring-like or circular appearance of the infection on the skin. Fungal organisms known as dermatophytes superficially infect certain types of tissue found in hair, skin, and nails. The different types of fungal infections are named based on location and may differ in how they are treated. Certain dermatophytes forms the crusty, scaly patches commonly associated with scalp ringworm.

  • In the United States, an estimated 3%-8% of the population is affected by scalp ringworm. Some people (mostly adults) can be carriers of the organism and spread it to others in the household without having symptoms. In other countries, an estimated 9.6% of people are affected, and nearly 40% can be carriers.
  • Children 4-14 years of age are most likely to develop ringworm of the scalp, although it can occasionally appear in adults and may occur in younger children.
  • Scalp ringworm occurs most frequently in urban areas among people with poor hygiene, low incomes living in overcrowded quarters, or living in warm, damp climates.
  • This disease tends to be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes, AIDS, or cancer.
  • Ringworm found on the body differs from scalp ringworm and is caused by a separate organism.
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Ringworm on Scalp

Impetigo Impetigo is a common type of skin infection. If you pick at sores or scratch itchy bites, you may cause bacteria to enter your skin and cause impetigo. Ba...learn more >>
Onychomycosis Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. Onychomycosis causes fingernails or toenails to thicken, discolor, disfigure, and split. At ...learn more >>
Ringworm on Body
Ringworm on Body Ringworm (or tinea corporis) is a common fungal infection resulting from dermatophytes. Symptoms and signs include lesions on the trunk, legs, arms, neck, and f...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Ringworm on Scalp:

Ringworm on Scalp - Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your scalp ringworm?

From WebMD

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Tinea Capitis »

Tinea capitis is a disease caused by superficial fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes, with a propensity for attacking hair shafts and follicles.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary