How To Treat Skin Fungal Infections

Reviewed on 4/27/2021

Skin fungal infections are skin diseases caused by fungus, including yeast (Candida), seborrhoeic dermatitis, and ringworm. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription topical antifungal products.
Skin fungal infections are skin diseases caused by fungus, including yeast (Candida), seborrhoeic dermatitis, and ringworm. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription topical antifungal products.

Skin fungal infections are skin diseases caused by fungus, such as mold or mildew.

The most common types of fungus that affect the skin include:

General steps to take to treat and prevent skin fungal infections include: 

  • Keep affected skin clean and dry
  • Ensure you dry thoroughly between the toes and in the skin folds; use a hair dryer if needed
  • Do not share towels
  • Clean the shower or bath using bleach
  • Wash socks, towels, and bathmats at a temperature of at least 140°F (60°C)

Fungal spores can survive for long periods. Once the infection has gone away, steps you can take to reduce the chance of reinfection include: 

  • Keep skin clean and dry
  • Dry off completely after showering or bathing
  • Athletes involved in close contact sports should shower immediately after practice and keep sports gear clean
  • Athletes should not share sports gear with others
  • Don’t go barefoot in locker rooms or public showers
  • Wear loose shoes that allow air to circulate freely around the feet
  • Keep fingernails and toenails clean and trimmed short
  • Do not share clothing, towels, sheets, or personal items with an infected person
  • Wash hands with soap and water after playing with pets
    • If you suspect your pet has ringworm, take them to a veterinarian
    • Vacuum areas the pet occupies
    • Disinfect surfaces and thoroughly launder pet bedding

Medical treatment for skin fungal infections includes: 

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription topical antifungal products
  • Extensive or recurrent infections may require systemic (oral) antifungal therapy

What Are Symptoms of Skin Fungal Infections?

Symptoms of a yeast infection on the skin may include:

  • Skin inflammation
  • Itchy skin 
  • Moist skin 
  • Skin peeling or cracks in the skin
  • Red and white skin
  • Small superficial papules and pustules
  • Secondary bacterial infection that may cause an unpleasant odor

Dermatophyte infections (ringworm) affect the skin, fingernails, and toenails. Symptoms of dermatophyte infections appear within 4 days to 2 weeks after coming into contact with the fungi that cause ringworm.

Symptoms of dermatophyte infections include:

  • Ring-shaped rash
  • Skin redness
  • Scaly, cracked skin
  • Skin swelling
  • Itching
  • Hair loss/bald spot
  • Blisters
  • Deep fungal infections

What Causes Skin Fungal Infections?

Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. Most people have a small amount of Candida on or in the body, but when it grows out of control it can develop into an infection. 

Risk factors for developing a yeast infection include: 

Ringworm is a skin condition caused by dermatophytes, a type of fungus that lives on the dead outer layer of skin. The condition is called “ringworm” because it can cause a circular rash shaped like a ring. There is no worm involved. 

How Are Skin Fungal Infections Diagnosed?

To diagnose a yeast infection, a doctor will perform a physical exam. 

Tests that may be used to help diagnose a yeast infection include:

  • Swab of the vagina, penis, or skin for bacterial culture
  • Skin scraping to culture fungi
  • Skin biopsy if the skin condition is unusual or does not respond to treatment

Dermatophyte infections (ringworm) can often be diagnosed with a physical examination of the affected skin. Tests that may be indicated to diagnose ringworm include:

Skin scraping to be examined under a microscope or sent to a laboratory for a fungal culture

Ultraviolet light — can only diagnose two species: Microsporum canis and audouinii 

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Reviewed on 4/27/2021
References
https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/ringworm/index.html

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/dermatophyte-tinea-infections?search=fungal%20skin%20infection&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/fungal-skin-infections/

https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html