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How can I tell the difference between pityriasis rosea and ringworm?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Pityriasis rosea and ringworm are easily confused, but there are important differences between these two skin conditions. Both cause pink, flaky patches on the skin. Pityriasis rosea can occur on various parts of the body but most commonly appears on the chest or back. Ringworm, meanwhile, can crop up anywhere on the body, including the scalp and fingernails. Pityriasis rosea usually forms large, pink ovals, though sometimes the patches resemble Christmas trees. Ringworm, as the name implies, forms rings with healthy-looking skin in the center. Doctors treat ringworm with anti-fungal medications, which will not have any effect on pityriasis rosea. Pityriasis rosea usually goes away on its own. However, your doctor may recommend medicine containing corticosteroids to relieve itching and eliminate the rash.

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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.