MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts

Scalp Ringworm

(Tinea Capitis)

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Nov 2020| Content last modified Nov 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Get the full details
Topic Resources

Ringworm Overview of Ringworm (Tinea) Ringworm is a common fungal infection of your skin or nails. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms. But the rash it causes can be ring-shaped. Therefore the infection has come to be called ringworm... read more is a common fungal infection of your skin or nails. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms. But the rash it causes can be ring-shaped. Therefore the infection has come to be called ringworm. Doctors call these infections "tinea."

What is scalp ringworm?

Scalp ringworm is a fungal infection that causes a scaly rash or patch of hair loss on the scalp.

  • Scalp ringworm is most common in children

  • It spreads easily from person to person

  • It can cause a scalp rash, bald spots, and rarely a painful swelling that leaks pus

  • Treatment includes antifungal medicine taken by mouth and used in a scalp cream and special shampoo

  • It can take a long time to get rid of scalp ringworm

What are the symptoms of scalp ringworm?

Symptoms include:

How do doctors tell if I have scalp ringworm?

Doctors can often tell it's scalp ringworm by looking at it. They'll sometimes pluck a hair from your head and take a small scraping of skin to look at under a microscope. They may look at your scalp with a UV light, because ringworm glows under UV light and other rashes don't.

How do doctors treat scalp ringworm?

Doctors treat scalp ringworm in children with:

  • Antifungal medicine by mouth for 4 to 6 weeks

  • Antifungal cream applied to the child's scalp until the infection is gone

  • Prescription-strength selenium sulfide shampoo to wash the child's hair, at least twice a week

  • For a kerion, corticosteroids by mouth

Children may attend school during treatment.

Doctors treat scalp ringworm in adults with:

  • Antifungal medicine by mouth for 3 to 4 months

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Overdose Toxicity
Overdose of a drug can occur by accident or it can be intentional. Which of the following is the most likely cause of an intentional overdose?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP