Ringworm is not caused by a worm, but by a family of fungi called dermatophytes. Such superficial fungal skin infections are called Tinea infections. They typically include symptoms like itchy, raised patches on skin having circular rash with clearer skin in its center. Tinea can affect any part of the body, including the face, neck, groin, torso, back, feet etc. In some cases, people develop Tinea Versicolor which is also a yeast infection that causes intense skin discoloration or patchiness on the skin.
Tinea Versicolor: Symptoms
Tinea Versicolor is characterized by following symptoms:
- Patches on the skin that may be red, pink, white, brown or, in general, lighter or darker skin surrounding the healthy skin.
- These patches do not tan like the rest of the healthy skin
- Ringworm skin discoloration is typically seen on neck, chest, back, arms etc.
In many patients suffering from Jock’s Itch- a Tinea infection affecting the groin area- the skin in the groin and on the thighs turns patchy, dark, or, in some cases, bluish black. Itchiness is also another symptom here, although the ringworm has been cured.Naturally, many patients do not wish to see a doctor for tinea versicolor, as most are under the impression that they would be recommended drastic cosmetic treatments for restoring the skin color.
However, there are many home remedies which a patient can resort to, to relieve skin discoloration arising from ringworm infections.
Let us study these home remedies:
Home remedies for ringworm related skin discoloration
- Use some Lamisil on the ringworm skin discoloration. This will ensure removing all the fungus and also restore the skin’s color.
- Depending on where the skin’s discoloration is located, you could use some low grade bleaching agent creams. Many products containing bleach are readily available these days and can be used safely, provided one performs an allergy patch test prior to use. If no reaction occurs, you can easily apply the lotion or cream to the discolored skin.
- Kojic acid is a proven whitening agent and can be used for treating skin discoloration arising from ringworm infections.
- Selenium Sulfide based shampoos as well as lotions with Ketoconazole or Tolnaftate can also help reduce fungal skin discoloration on the face, beard and neck.
- Some patients have seen good results with cosmetics such as foundations, concealer creams, compact powders or mineral makeup in hiding such blemishes.
Preventing further complications
It is important to follow some precautions to ensure that the Tinea Versicolor does not return:
- Avoid excess sun exposure.
- Take all medication as asked by the doctor. This includes oral and topical anti fungal medicines.
- Avoid sharing clothes, combs, hair brushes, and other personal items with family members to prevent spread of Tinea.
- Tinea Versicolor is most common in people living in humid areas as well as those with oily skin. So, one must avoid wearing very tight clothes. Also avoid using oil based cosmetics or skin care products.
- Use sunscreen everyday with at least 30++ SPF.
- Wear light cotton clothes which will not chaff the skin.
Skin discoloration from ringworm often returns despite these remedies and precautions. If this occurs, it is best to seek dermatological help. The doctor can diagnose if the discoloration is indeed a result of a fungus or some other problem including changes in melanin, blood vessel, or are caused by bacterial organisms. Tinea Versicolor is diagnosed by observing the patchiness under UV light. In case of recurrent Tinea versicolor, oral anti fungal medicines is the best line of treatment. These medicines do come with side effects, so do be in touch with the doctor if you start to feel uneasy.