Top 20 Skin Conditions – Number 19

Tinea (of nails, skin or scalp)

Tinea is a fungal infection of the nails, skin or scalp. There is a variety of fungi living on the human body at any given moment. Most are harmless but a few variations can turn into infections prompting medical attention. Below are the three most common forms of tinea we see at our office:

Tinea Versicolor is a fungus of the skin known to cause skin discoloration in the neck, back and chest of those infected. Non-contagious, Tinea Versicolor occurs in areas prone to excessive sweating and is often said to be worse during the hotter months of Summer. While Tinea Versicolor is easily treated with antifungal medications, pigment changes in the skin may last for a few months once treatment has concluded. (photo)

Tinea Capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp, often referred to as ringworm of the scalp. Characterized by one or more patches of hair loss, inflammation, itching and feeling scaly to the touch, it is caused by the fungi dermatophytes and is easily transmittable. Treated by oral antifungal medications, often combined with medicated shampoos to decrease the spread of the fungus, Tinea Capitis is most common in young children. (photo)

Onychomycosis is tinea of the nail. Diagnosed more often in toenails as opposed to fingernails. Onychomycosis can be identified by changes in the nail such as brittleness, lack of shine, distortion of shape, yellow or white streaks in the nail, and crumbling of nail edges to name a few. Your dermatologist can diagnose a nail fungus by appearance but will sometimes request a scraping or culture for verification. Contrary to popular belief, over the counter anti-fungal medicines and creams do not often treat onychomycosis successfully. Your dermatologist will recommend a treatment plan which may last up to 3 months while the new nail is growing. (photo)

For more information on a form of tinea or to contact one of our dermatologists, please send us an email here.

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