Ringworm (body)

Ringworm of the body is a fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin. It's characterized by a red circular rash with clearer skin in the middle. It may or may not itch. Ringworm gets its name because of its appearance. There is no actual worm involved.

Also called tinea corporis, ringworm of the body is closely related to athlete's foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris) and ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). Ringworm often spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal.

Antifungal medications are used to treat ringworm. Mild ringworm often responds to antifungal products that you apply to your skin. For more-severe infections, you may need to take antifungal pills for several weeks.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Ringworm typically begins as a flat scaly area on the skin, which may be red and itchy. This patch develops a slightly raised border that expands outward — forming a roughly circular ring. The contours of the ring may be quite irregular, resembling the wavy outline of a snake or a worm.

The interior of the ring may be clear, scaly or marked with a scattering of red bumps. In some people, several rings develop at the same time and may overlap.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have a rash on your skin that doesn't begin to improve within two weeks. You may need prescription medication.

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