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Diseases reference index «Tinea corporis»

Tinea corporis is a skin infection due to fungi.

See also:

  • Tinea capitis
  • Tinea cruris (jock itch)
  • Tinea pedis (athlete's foot)


Tinea corporis (often called ringworm of the body) is a common skin disorder, especially among children. However, it may occur in people of all ages. It is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.

Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. The following raise your risk for a fungal infection:

  • Long-term wetness of the skin (such as from sweating)
  • Minor skin and nail injuries
  • Poor hygiene

Tinea corporis is contagious. You can catch the condition if you come into direct contact with someone who is infected, or if you touch contaminated items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Combs
  • Pool surfaces
  • Shower floors and walls

The fungi can also be spread by pets (cats are common carriers).


Symptoms include itching and a ring-shaped, red-colored skin rash. The rash may occur on the arms, legs, face, or other exposed body areas. The border of the rash lesions look scaly.

Exams and Tests

The primary diagnosis is based on how the skin looks.

In some cases, the following tests may be done:

  • KOH (potassium hydroxide) test
  • Skin lesion biopsy


Keep the skin clean and dry. Over-the-counter antifungal creams, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients, are often effective in controlling ringworm.

Severe or chronic infection may need further treatment by your health care provider.

Oral antifungal medications may be used for severe, widespread fungal infections, or an infection that has spread deeper into the skin to the hair follicle. Stronger, prescription topical antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.

Infected pets should also be treated.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Ringworm usually responds to topical medications within 4 weeks. Severe or resistant cases usually respond quickly to antifungal medicines taken by mouth.

Possible Complications

  • Bacterial skin infections, cellulitis
  • Skin disorders such as pyoderma or dermatophytid
  • Spread of tinea to feet, scalp, groin, or nails
  • Whole-body (systemic) side effects of medications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if ringworm does not improve with self-care.


Good general hygiene helps prevent ringworm infections. Avoid contact with infected pets as much as possible.

Clean and dry clothing and household items, such as combs and bathroom surfaces, before you reuse them or another person uses them to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands thoroughly after having contact with any fungal infection, including when treating the infection.

Alternative Names

Fungal infection - body; Infection - fungal - body; Tinea of the body; Tinea circinata; Ringworm - body

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