Contrary to its name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms.
Ringworm, also known as tinea infection, is a contagious fungal infection that breeds on the topmost layer of your skin. The infection is characterized by a red or silvery ring-like rash with a clear center. The rash is usually inflamed, itchy, and scaly. Ringworm spreads outward in progression, causing a single patch or several overlapping patches to develop on your skin.
Ringworm can affect different parts of the body and is characterized according to the area it infests:
- Tinea Corporis – on the body
- Tinea Capitis – on the scalp
- Tinea Pedis – on the foot, also known as “athlete’s foot“
- Tinea Cruris – on the groin, also known as “jock itch“
Though the condition is not serious, unlike eczema or psoriasis, having ringworm can be a cause of embarrassment, especially if the rash appears on your head or face.
- Causes of Ringworm
- Symptoms of Ringworm
- Preventing Ringworm
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ringworm
- Method 1: Use Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 2: Use Garlic
- Method 3: Use Clear Nail Paint
- Method 4: Use Bleach
- Method 5: Use Tea Tree Oil
- Method 6: Use Rubbing Alcohol
- Method 7: Use Black Walnut
Causes of Ringworm
Ringworm is an infection caused by a type of fungi called dermatophytes. Fungi live and thrive on keratin, a type of insoluble protein present in your hair, skin, and nails. It is for this reason that ringworm rashes usually occur on your skin, scalp, or nails.
Fungi are resilient tiny spores that can survive on the skin, in the soil, and on any household object. Any warm and humid area is perfect for fungus to thrive and multiply rapidly.
As ringworm infection is highly contagious, it can spread through the following ways.
- Skin-to-skin contact in humans, especially in children as they are usually in close proximity of schools and playgrounds
- Human-to-animal contact, from infected pets (dogs or cats)
- Human-to-infected object contact, sharing objects such as towels, clothing, bed linen, combs, or brushes with an infected person
- Human-to-soil contact—the infection can spread if a person has been exposed to infected soil for too long
Symptoms of Ringworm
Primary symptoms of ringworm infestation include:
- Ring-like scaly rash on the skin
- Severe itching on the rash
- The rash may have distinct edges or have small bumps such as blisters
- The center of the rash may be clear or can have scattered red bumps
- Pus-filled sores may also develop around the ring
Maintaining personal hygiene is important to avoid infection.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Change your undergarments and socks every day.
- Keep your skin clean and dry.
- Avoid wearing fitted clothes, especially if you live in a warmer climate.
- Don’t share personal items such as clothing, sports equipment, towels, or bed linen.
- Always wear footwear in places such as locker rooms, showers, and public bathing areas.
- Avoid touching animals that look scruffy or have bald spots on their coats. If your pet shows any signs of infection, talk to your vet for right diagnosis and treatment.
- If already infected, avoid scratching the rash to prevent it from spreading further.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ringworm
Getting rid of ringworm isn’t too hard. There are a number of home remedies that can provide relief from itching and pain in no time.
Read on to learn how to get rid of ringworm with home remedies.
Note: if there is no improvement after 2 weeks of using any of the remedies, consult your doctor. Depending on the severity of the infection, your doctor may prescribe you an antifungal medication.
Method 1: Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar always tops the charts when it comes to natural health remedies. Even in the case of ringworm, apple cider vinegar works effectively because of its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Apple cider vinegar can be used for topical application or taken orally.
Note: As apple cider vinegar is highly acidic in nature, it might burn when applied. If you can’t bear the burning, dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water, and then apply on the ringworm.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Apple Cider Vinegar on the rash
- Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and dab it over the ringworm.
- Let it dry by itself.
- You can also follow it with applying some coconut oil or castor oil to soothe the burning sensation. Coconut oil and castor oil are antifungal and have healing properties.
- You can also take 1 tablespoon of vinegar mixed with 1 glass of water orally twice a day.
Apply apple cider vinegar 2 to 3 times daily. You should get immediate relief from the itching.
Regular application of apple cider vinegar will cure the infection completely in 4 to 5 days.
Method 2: Use Garlic
Garlic serves as an excellent herbal cure for treating an array of fungal infections. Garlic contains an antifungal compound called ajoene that fights against the pathogens that cause ringworm.
Adding honey and olive oil, both antibacterial, will increase garlic’s potency for curing the infection and healing the skin.
Things you’ll need:
- Crushed garlic (antifungal) – 2 teaspoons
- Honey (antibacterial and soothes skin) – 2 teaspoons
- Olive oil (heals skin) – 1 teaspoon
Step 1. Mix crushed garlic, honey, and olive oil
- Pour 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic in a bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of honey to the garlic.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
Step 2. Apply the mix on the rash and cover with bandage
- Apply the mix on the affected area.
- Cover the rash with the bandage and leave it for 1 hour. The garlic will burn on the skin but hold on. The burning should subside after 30 minutes.
- Remove the bandage and rinse the rash with lukewarm water.
Use this remedy thrice a day to cure ringworm in 1 week.
Method 3: Use Clear Nail Paint
No kidding! Your clear nail paint can cure ringworm and prevent it from spreading too. This remedy follows a simple science. The nail paint acts as an asphyxiator, cutting off the oxygen supply to the fungus. No breathing = no living!
Single-Step Treatment: Apply clear nail paint on the rash
- Use a clean brush to apply clear nail paint on the rash.
- Let the nail paint stay on your skin for 8 hours, then rinse with water.
- Pat dry and repeat the application. Always use a clean brush to apply the nail paint.
Clear nail polish remedy will cure the ringworm in 1 week.
Method 4: Use Bleach
You can also use diluted bleach to cure ringworm. Use standard bleach that contains 6% hypochlorite.
Do not use bleach that contains sodium hydroxide as it is super harsh on normal skin and will wreck havoc on inflamed skin. Also, do not use bleach remedy on sensitive skin, on the scalp, or near your eyes.
Note: Do a patch test to check your skin’s sensitivity toward the bleach. If you see any allergic reaction, abort the treatment and try another remedy.
Step 1. Mix bleach in warm distilled water
- Pour 2 cups of distilled water in a bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup of bleach to the water and stir.
Step 2. Apply the solution on the ringworm once every day
- Soak a cotton ball with the bleach solution.
- Dab it over the rash.
- Leave the bleach on the rash for 6 to 7 hours or overnight.
- Wash it off with a mild shampoo or an antifungal soap.
Apply every day to cure the ringworm in 7 to 10 days.
Method 5: Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil acts as a powerful germicide to kill the fungus causing ringworm. Tea tree oil is non-toxic and can be applied directly over the rash.
Tea tree oil is also used as a toenail fungus remedy.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Tea Tree essential oil on the rash thrice daily
- Pour some tea tree essential oil over a cotton ball.
- Apply the oil over the rash and let it dry. You don’t need to wash it off.
- If applying the oil directly on the rash is causing any discomfort, you can dilute it with some coconut oil or olive oil. Mix ¼ teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of olive/coconut oil.
Applying tea tree oil thrice every day will cure the infection in 2 weeks.
Method 6: Use Rubbing Alcohol
Popular as a cleaning agent, rubbing alcohol can also be used as a health remedy to treat ringworm. Rubbing alcohol kills fungus and disinfects the area. It instantly relieves the itch and also prevents the infection from spreading.
It may sting or burn the infected area, but it will dry out the infection completely.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply rubbing alcohol on the rash twice daily
- Pour out some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
- Apply the rubbing alcohol over the ringworm.
- Allow the alcohol to dry by keeping the area uncovered.
Use it twice a day to get immediate relief from itching. However, continue using the remedy to cure the infection completely in 2 weeks.
Method 7: Use Black Walnut
Black walnut has been used as a traditional medicine to treat intestinal problems and open wounds, and also as an effective laxative. Black walnut hulls contain a compound called juglone that is antiviral and antibacterial and can be used externally to treat ringworm and internally to treat intestinal parasites.
However, do take a patch test to check for any allergic reaction. Please note that the black walnut remedy is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
You can either peel the outer hull (green in color) of a black walnut and rub its inside on the rash, or apply its tincture form for convenience.
Use the remedy twice every day to cure the infection completely in 2 weeks.
- As keeping yourself dry is very important to avoid spreading infection, allow your body to air-dry after taking a shower.
- You can also use iodine tincture thrice a day to get rid of ringworm.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used like rubbing alcohol to treat ringworm.