Ringworm is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which thrive on the skin’s surface. The most common fungal species responsible for ringworm infections include Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. These fungi are highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, animal, or contaminated objects. In this post, we will discuss 10 best home remedies to cure ringworm.
Causes and Risk Factors
Several factors increase the risk of developing ringworm, including:
- Poor hygiene: Lack of proper hygiene practices, such as not washing hands regularly or sharing personal items like towels or clothing, can increase the chances of ringworm transmission.
- Weakened immune system: Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, are more susceptible to ringworm infections.
- Warm and humid environments: Fungi thrive in warm and moist conditions, making places like public swimming pools, locker rooms, and saunas potential hotspots for ringworm transmission.
- Close contact with infected individuals or animals: Direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or contact with animals carrying the fungi, such as cats, dogs, or farm animals, can lead to ringworm transmission.
Symptoms of Ringworm
The symptoms of ringworm can vary depending on the affected area of the body. However, the most common signs and symptoms include:
- Red, scaly, or itchy patches on the skin: Ringworm typically appears as red, circular or ring-shaped patches with raised, scaly edges. The affected area may be itchy, and the itching can worsen if left untreated.
- Blister-like lesions that ooze or crust: In some cases, ringworm can develop into blister-like lesions filled with fluid that may break open and form crusts. This can be more common in severe or untreated cases.
- Hair loss in affected areas (in cases of scalp ringworm): If ringworm affects the scalp, it can cause patches of hair loss. These areas may be itchy and scaly, and the hair may break off close to the scalp’s surface, leaving bald spots.
- Brittle or discoloured nails (in cases of nail ringworm): Nail ringworm, also known as onychomycosis, can cause changes in the appearance of the nails. Affected nails may become thickened, brittle, discoloured (yellow or white), or crumbly. In severe cases, the nails may separate from the nail bed.
Diagnosis of Ringworm
To diagnose ringworm, a healthcare professional will typically perform the following:
- Physical examination of the affected area: The healthcare provider will visually inspect the skin, scalp, or nails to look for characteristic signs of ringworm, such as red, circular rashes or nail abnormalities.
- Skin scraping for microscopic examination: In some cases, the healthcare provider may scrape off a small sample of the affected skin, hair, or nail and examine it under a microscope. This helps confirm the presence of fungi.
- Wood’s lamp examination: A Wood’s lamp is a special type of ultraviolet light that can help detect certain types of fungi. The healthcare provider may use a Wood’s lamp to examine the affected area. Some types of fungi will fluoresce under the light, aiding in the diagnosis.
- Fungal culture: In cases where the diagnosis is unclear or when identifying the specific fungal species is necessary, the healthcare provider may take a sample from the affected area and send it to a laboratory for fungal culture. This test allows for the growth and identification of the fungus causing the infection.
Traditional Treatment Options
Traditional treatment options for ringworm typically involve the use of antifungal medications. The specific treatment depends on the location and severity of the infection. Common treatment options include:
- Topical antifungal medications: Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, lotions, and powders containing ingredients such as clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine, or ketoconazole are often used for mild cases of ringworm. These medications should be applied to the affected area as directed until the infection clears.
- Oral antifungal medications: In cases of severe or widespread ringworm infections, or when topical treatments are not effective, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. Commonly prescribed oral antifungal medications include terbinafine, itraconazole, and fluconazole. These medications are taken orally for a specified duration as prescribed by the healthcare provider.
- Antifungal shampoos: If ringworm affects the scalp, antifungal shampoos containing ingredients such as selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or ciclopirox may be recommended. These shampoos should be used as directed, allowing the medication to remain on the scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
- Treating secondary infections: In cases where ringworm leads to secondary bacterial infections due to scratching or broken skin, the healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection in addition to the antifungal treatment.
It is important to follow the prescribed treatment regimen consistently and complete the full course of medication, even if the symptoms improve before the treatment period ends. This helps ensure the complete eradication of the fungal infection and prevents its recurrence.
10 Best Home Remedies to Cure Ringworm
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar possesses antifungal properties that can help fight off the ringworm infection. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and apply it directly to the affected area using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing with water. Repeat this process twice a day until the infection clears up.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a potent natural antifungal agent. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil. Apply the mixture to the affected area using a cotton ball or swab. Leave it on for a few hours before rinsing. Repeat this process two to three times daily until the infection disappears.
- Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, a compound known for its antifungal properties. Crush a few garlic cloves to extract the juice and apply it directly to the affected area. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off. Repeat this process twice daily until the symptoms subside.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has soothing and healing properties that can help relieve itching and promote skin recovery. Apply fresh aloe vera gel directly to the affected area and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse with water and repeat this process three times a day until the infection improves.
- Turmeric: Turmeric possesses natural antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Make a paste by mixing turmeric powder with water and apply it directly to the affected area. Leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing. Repeat this process twice daily until the infection clears.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which has antifungal properties. Apply virgin coconut oil to the affected area and massage it gently. Leave it on for several hours or overnight. Repeat this process twice daily until the infection subsides.
- Oregano Oil: Oregano oil is a powerful antifungal agent. Dilute a few drops of oregano oil with a carrier oil and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing. Repeat this process twice daily until the infection disappears.
- Lemongrass Oil: Lemongrass oil has antifungal properties that can help fight the ringworm infection. Mix a few drops of lemongrass oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to the affected area. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off. Repeat this process twice daily until the symptoms improve.
- Vinegar Soak: Vinegar creates an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of fungi. Mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water in a basin or tub. Soak the affected area in the solution for 15-20 minutes. Pat dry and repeat this process once or twice daily until the infection resolves.
- Honey: Honey has natural antifungal properties and can help soothe the affected area. Apply raw honey directly to the ringworm rash and cover it with a clean bandage. Leave it on for a few hours before rinsing. Repeat this process twice daily until the infection clears.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can be effectively treated with both traditional medications and natural home remedies. While the traditional treatment options are widely available, these ten home remedies provide additional options for individuals seeking natural alternatives. However, it is important to note that severe or persistent cases of ringworm should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. With proper care and treatment, ringworm can be successfully cured, allowing individuals to regain healthy and clear skin.