- How to Cure Ringworm Fast
A go-to guide on fast ringworm treatment options
First things first: a ringworm infection is not an actual worm that lives in your body. Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes an itchy circular rash. This shape is the reason behind the condition’s name. Ringworm generally causes mild symptoms and will usually go away with antifungal treatment.
We’ve outlined some basic facts about ringworm such as possible causes and symptoms. We’ve also detailed methods to treat ringworm fast. If you are dealing with a current ringworm infection or want even more information, book an online doctor visit on Sesame to talk to a licensed health care provider right away.
Ringworm (tinea corporis) is a contagious fungal skin infection caused by dermatophytes or small parasitic organisms that live on skin cells on the outer layer of your skin.
These mold-like parasites are commonly transmitted via:
Skin-to-skin contact: Direct skin-to-skin contact with a person who has been infected with ringworm can spread the infection.
Object-to-skin contact: Touching an object or surface that an infected person has recently touched can spread the infection. Bedding, towels, clothing, and hairbrushes are common carriers of ringworm. The floors and surfaces of locker rooms are also well-known as ringworm transmission sites.
Animal-to-human contact: Animals can carry a ringworm infection. Petting or touching dogs, cats or cows that have been infected can cause the infection to spread.
In some rare cases, humans can contract a ringworm infection through prolonged contact with heavily infected soil.
You might be at greater risk of contracting ringworm if:
- You live in a warm climate
- You frequently share bedding or clothing with others
- You participate in activities that necessitate skin-to-skin contact (like wrestling or partner dancing)
- Have a weakened immune system
This is not a complete list of all risk factors, though these are among the most common.
Ringworm gets its name from the rash that the infection yields.
Symptoms of a ringworm infection include:
- Itching or burning skin in the infected area
- A red, scaly, ring-shaped rash
- Red streaks on the skin
- Rash with bumps or oozing blisters
- An increase in itchiness during warm weather or at night
- Bald patches on the scalp due to hair loss
Ringworm also frequently occurs on the scalp. Scapular ringworm (tinea capitis) can cause hair loss in the affected area, scaly and inflamed patches of skin, dandruff, brittle hair and tender areas on the scalp.
Ringworm Treatment Options
When it comes to treating a ringworm infection, there are a number of treatment options at your disposal. They are detailed below.
Several over-the-counter antifungal medications can be used for mild to moderate cases of ringworm. Look for topical medications that feature clotrimazole (Lotrimin), miconazole (Cruex) and terbinafine (Lamisil). These antifungal creams are widely available at most pharmacies and can also be used to treat similar fungal infections such as jock itch (tinea cruris) and athlete’s foot. Apply topical medication directly to the affected area of the body. Do not wrap that part of your body, as this can trap moisture and slow the healing process.
While OTC drugs are the most proven and effective way of treating ringworm fast, several alternative therapies can reduce symptoms and speed up healing. These include:
Skin care: Washing the skin regularly with a gentle cleanser and water helps keep the area clean. While this may not cure ringworm, it can help prevent the rash from spreading elsewhere.
Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have antifungal properties. You can apply ACV directly to the infected skin as a topical treatment. Soak a clean washrag or cotton ball in undiluted apple cider and gently brush it over the skin several times a day.
Tea tree oil/ coconut oil: Like ACV, these essential oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Both of these oils are extremely effective at treating fungal skin infections. Apply like you would apple cider vinegar. Dip a cotton ball or washrag in the oil and apply it directly onto the skin several times a day. Coconut oil may need to be warmed before use but do not apply to the skin if it is hot. If you have sensitive skin and are using tea tree oil, it is recommended that you dilute it with some coconut oil before applying it to the skin.
Turmeric: Turmeric has strong antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it can help reduce symptoms of ringworm while speeding up the healing process. Mix fresh ground turmeric or turmeric powder with a small amount of water until it makes a paste. Apply this paste directly to the skin and let it dry. Do not wrap or cover the affected area.
Sometimes, home remedies just aren’t enough to control a severe ringworm infection. If your symptoms do not begin to subside after a few days of treatment, you should talk to a dermatologist to discuss other treatment options. Clinicians can treat a variety of skin conditions such as ringworm, eczema and dermatitis. These providers can prescribe stronger medication than what you will find over the counter.
Prescription antifungal medications include:
- Griseofulvin (commonly supplied as an oral tablet)
In addition to oral medication, a dermatologist may prescribe a medicated shampoo or lotion to apply to the affected area. Take the full course of this treatment, even if symptoms begin to subside. Do not discontinue or alter your dosage without consulting your health care provider first.
While ringworm can cause uncomfortable symptoms, these infections are usually easily treatable. To prevent the spread of ringworm–to other parts of your body and others–wash your bedding and clothes frequently. Put on clean, dry clothes after going to the gym or shower and wear flip-flops in public showers.
If you begin to notice the signs and symptoms of ringworm (like the telltale circular rash), book an online doctor visit with a licensed health care provider on Sesame today. These infections are more easily treated the earlier you catch them, so don’t wait to get started fixing ringworm fast.
- CDC. Treatment for Ringworm. https://www.cdc.gov
- American Academy of Dermatology. Ringworm. https://www.aad.org
- Yee G, Al Aboud AM. Tinea Corporis. https://www.nih.gov