How does tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) affect the body?

The mold-like fungus which causes tinea capitis, more commonly known as scalp ringworm, survives by taking nutrients from the scalp. This causes those reddish patches on your skin that itch so much. Hair loss occurs because the fungus gets into your hair shaft and weakens it, which causes hair to break off. If scalp ringworm isn't treated, you can develop a painful scalp inflammation called kerion. This is when the scalp sores will ooze pus and crust over, and hair will fall out. This serious reaction can cause permanent hair loss and scars.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The term "tinea capitis" refers to a fungal infection of the scalp and/or scalp hairs, but the same fungus that causes tinea capitis can lead to infections in other body parts as well. For example, tinea pedis is athlete's foot, or a fungal infection that may cause an itchy, red, blistering rash on the feet. If the infection spreads to the toenails, it is called tinea unguium, characterized by the yellowing and thickening of the nails. Tinea can also caused an itchy, red rash in the groin area called tinea cruris, or, more commonly, "jock itch." Consult your doctor for more information about tinea infections.

Continue Learning about Fungal Infections

What is fungus?
A fungus is a type of organism that lives in soil, water, on plants and in the air. Mold is a common...
More Answers
Are there any alternative treatments for vaginal fungal infections?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
There are alternative treatments that may help vaginal fungal infections. Some women have found succ...
More Answers
Are fungal infections contagious?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Certain kind of fungal infections are contagious, particularly superficial fungal infections. For th...
More Answers
Sizing Up Athlete's Foot
Sizing Up Athlete's Foot

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.