What is Ringworm?
Ringworm, despite its name is not a worm and has nothing to do with worms. It is in fact a fungal infection. The reason for its name is due to what it looks like. That is, it appears as a round circle or ring on the skin of the patient.
Very closely related to Ringworm is a condition known as Jock Itch where there is a fungal infection in the groin.
A common name for ringworm is tinea.
Depending upon whereabouts on your body the ringworm appears will determine it’s precise name, for example if the ringworm appears on the head or scalp.
It’s known as tinea capitis, if it is on the body, then it is known as tinea corporis and if the ringworm is found on the feet, then it is known as tinea pedis or more commonly athletes foot.
Ringworm is mostly found in children; however, it can be caught by anybody of any age.
The ringworm looks like a round ring shaped patch on the skin which will be red and silvery with scales. It can also be quite itchy.
The ring spreads outwards and eventually the centre will heal and look like normal skin, leaving a red ring.
Scalp and head ringworm infections can cause baldness at the point where the ringworm is.
What causes Ringworm?
The fungal spores which cause ringworm are around all of us everyday. They are found in the soil, on other people and also on a variety of animals. Usually, they enter through a break in the skin where they are then able to infect the patient.
The environment where ringworm thrives best is in warm damp areas. So in places where you sweat a lot are absolutely perfect for the fungal spores to thrive.
There are a number of ways that ringworm can infect you. It can be passed to you from other people or animals very easily due to its high contagious level.
Any high levels of contact from either pets or from working livestock on farms can pass on ringworm to people very easily.
When it comes to person to person contamination, it usually happens when people share combs, or unwashed clothes.
Unwashed surfaces in swimming pools are also very good places to catch ringworm.
Ringworm is very easy to diagnose.
Usually, the characteristics of ringworm i.e. the round red scaly ring are enough just on their own.
However, doctors could also take a scraping off the affected skin or in the case of head or scalp ringworm a hair off the patient. And then look at it under a microscope where confirmation of the diagnosis can be carried out.
What is the Treatment of Ringworm?
Depending upon whether or not you’re suffering from head or scalp ringworm or whether you’re suffering from ringworm on your skin. This will determine what type of treatment you will receive.
If you can catch the condition early enough, then you should be able to purchase an anti fungal cream from your pharmacist which should cure your skin ringworm or in the case of head/scalp ringworm, an oral anti fungal medication.
However, if the cream or oral medication doesn’t appear to be eradicating the ringworm. Then a trip to your doctor will be required.
He will then probably prescribe a slightly different anti fungal medicine with different active ingredients.
If the ringworm is very inflamed and/or irritated. Then the doctor may also prescribe a topical corticosteroid in order to soothe these symptoms.
This is commonly the case when an area of eczema is infected by ringworm.
For all patients who are suffering from ringworm, it is very important to have a strict routine in order to deal with it. That includes keeping the affected area dry and cleanDon’t share towels and wash bedding and night clothes regularly (ideally once a day).
- Wash the affected area gently but thoroughly every day
- Change your socks and underwear daily
- Avoid scratching and touching the irritated area
It is possible that the ringworm could move from one affected area to the other. Also the broken skin caused by scratching the ringworm, could lead to other infections as the skin is broken.
Ringworm is a very common contagious condition caused by a fungus and not by worms. With the correct treatment and care, in the vast majority of cases, will just be uncomfortable and inconvenient.
However, it is important to remember that if you are in any doubt, then visit your doctor.
Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Ringworm
Ringworm Remedy 1. Garlic
Garlic is a bit of a wonder food. When ingested, garlic is known as a natural remedy for a host of health concerns.
Garlic has been known to lessen the severity and duration of the common cold, naturally reduce blood pressure, and lower bad cholesterol among many other benefits.
But garlic can also be used topically as a natural treatment for ringworm, which makes it the first in our list of home remedies for ringworm.
It’s the naturally occurring chemical compounds allicin and ajoene that are found in garlic whose antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it a powerhouse against skin infections like ringworm.
In fact, one study found a topical ajoene cream more effective in treating athlete’s foot than a leading over-the-counter medicated cream.
[1. Ledezma E, Marcano K, Jorquera A, et al. Efficacy of ajoene in the treatment of tinea pedis: A double-blind and comparative study with terbinafine. J Am Acad Dermatol 2000;43:829-32.]
How to Use Garlic for Ringworm
We recommend starting with fresh garlic cloves. To use, simply make a paste of crushed or mince garlic and apply it to the affected area.
You may add olive oil to the crushed garlic to get the desired consistency. With the paste covering the affected area in a thin layer, we suggest covering the area in an adhesive bandage or gauze and medical tape.
Once covered, leave the paste in place for 1-2 hours. Once the treatment time is up, rinse with warm water to remove.
For best results, treat the ringworm-affected area with this fresh garlic paste up to two or three times a day for up to two weeks.
Limit each treatment to two hours at maximum as longer skin exposure to garlic can result in localized skin irritation similar to that of a burn.
Discontinue use if you experience redness, swelling, or discomfort.
For added internal benefit, you can also include more garlic in your regular diet or supplement with a garlic extract or garlic softgel.
Ringworm Remedy 2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Like garlic, apple cider vinegar (now increasingly referred to as ACV and a home remedy powerhouse) is known to have numerous health benefits.
It has become a staple in most natural remedy medicine cabinets. We always keep a bottle of organic, raw apple cider vinegar with the mother on hand.
Most of the health benefits of ACV are attributed to the acetic acid in the vinegar, which is known to effectively treat a range of skin concerns including ringworm due to its anti-fungal properties.
How to Use ACV for Ringworm
To use ACV to treat mild cases of ringworm, first test the ACV on a small area of your skin that is not infected.
The reason for this “patch test” is that ACV is very acidic and has been known to cause redness and irritation in some skin types, but you won’t know if you skin is sensitive to the vinegar unless you’ve tested it.
If you find your skin tolerates the ACV, we suggest applying a damp cloth, cotton ball, or sponge gauze soaked with apple cider vinegar to ringworm-infected skin at least twice a day for 30-minutes each application.
While applying ACV to a ringworm infection may cause a slight stinging sensation at first that with dull with time and exposure, if you find that the treatment is too harsh, you can dilute the ACV with some water.
You may begin to see results of your apple cider vinegar ringworm treatment as early as the first two weeks.
But we suggest continuing twice daily treatments for at least another week after symptoms have disappeared to protect against reoccurrence.
Ringworm Remedy 3. Tea Tree Oil
As it has been employed for decades by the Australians, this oil is a favorite ingredient for several cosmetics including shampoos and hair oils.
In addition, it has a lengthy history of helping to treat cuts, burns, and infections.
You can use this twice per day by making use of a remedy that contains as much as 50% of tea tree oil (dilute the rest with water).
An improvement should be seen by you after approximately four weeks.
Ringworm Remedy 4. Turmeric
This seasoning actually has some pretty great natural antibiotic qualities.
Making use of a juice extractor, apply fresh turmeric juice onto the areas that are affected until you see the problem go away.
Ringworm Remedy 5. Vinegar and Salt
Form a paste of vinegar and salt and apply it directly onto the ringworm. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
Those who have used this approach to handle ringworm say it tends to take about 7 days or so for the illness to dissipate.
Ringworm Remedy 6. Aloe Vera
Most well-known for managing sunburns, aloe vera is an all natural remedy for ringworm and countless other skin problems.
Apply the juice straight to the afflicted skin till the illness disappears.
Ringworm Remedy 7. Colloidal Silver
An antibiotic that is completely natural and destroys hundreds of dangerous microorganisms. Colloidal silver could be used topically to eliminate ringworm.
Basically spray or rub (depending on whether you have a gel or a liquid) colloidal silver onto the fungal infection twice a day until it is completely gone.
Ringworm Remedy 8. Lavender Oil
Moving down the list of available home treatments for ringworm, lavender oil is yet another compound with powerful anti-fungal effects.
Studies have shown how the oil doesn’t simply stop fungi from developing.
But it actually kills fungal infections including ringworm, athlete’s foot, and Candidiasis.
Ringworm Remedy 9. Lemongrass Tea
Drink a glass of lemongrass tea 3 times per day. You should also apply the used tea bags directly to the areas that are affected while you’re drinking your delicious tea.
Ringworm Remedy 10. Olive Leaf
As the last home remedy on our list olive-leaf infusion has antifungal qualities and aids to boost the body’s immune system.
Take this one 3 times per day (250 mg) until the problem subsides.
NOTE: This article is for information purposes only. For medical advice seek a doctor or gp immediately.