Tinea Skin Infections
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Tinea Skin Infections,

Tinea is a general term used to describe fungal infections of the skin.  Most types of tinea skin infections are caused by dermatophytes.  Dermatophytes are a group of three types of fungi that commonly cause skin diseases in humans and animals.  The three types of dermatophyte fungi are: Microsporum, Epidermophyton, and Trichophyton.   It is normal for your body to host various types of fungi and bacteria, and many are beneficial to the body and do not cause any harm.  However, when infectious bacteria or fungi (such as dermatophytes) rapidly reproduce in the body, they can form many different types of infections.

Some common types of tinea infections include:

Tinea Cruris

Tinea cruris, more commonly known as jock itch, affects the upper, inner thighs and can sometimes spread to the groin and/or pubic area.  Although jock itch most often occurs in males, it may also occur in females.  The most common dermatophytes that cause jock itch are Trichophyton rubrum, Epidermophyton floccosum, and less commonly Trichophyton mentagrophytes.  These dermatophytes flourish in warm, moist environments.  Tinea cruris can be triggered by friction from tight clothing, or by extended periods of wetness (i.e. from sweating) in the groin area.  Jock itch is also contagious and can be spread through human-to-human skin contact, or through the sharing of unwashed clothing items. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Itching (pruritis) of the groin, thighs and/or anus
  • Red (erythema), raised, scaly patches on the skin that may blister

Treatment for tinea cruris can include: self-care by keeping the skin dry and clean, avoiding clothing that may rub the area, and topical antifungal or drying powders.  Severe infections, frequently recurring infections, or those lasting more than two weeks may require stronger antifungal medications.

Tinea Pedis

Tinea pedis, also known as athlete's foot, most commonly affects the feet and the folds of skin in-between the toes.  The most common dermatophyte to cause athlete's foot is Trichophyton rubrum, and less frequently Trichophyton mentagrophytes or Epidermophyton floccosum.  These dermatophytes flourish in warm, moist environments.  Tinea pedis can be triggered by keeping the feet wet for extended periods of time, or by excessive sweating in closed shoes.  Athlete's foot is also contagious and can be spread through direct contact with shoes, socks, and shower or pool surfaces.

Common symptoms include:

  • Cracked, peeling, and flaking skin in-between the toes or fingers, and/or on heels of feet and palms of hands
  • Red (erythema), scaling and itching (pruritis) skin that may burn, sting or blister
  • Macerated skin (skin that is constantly kept wet and has softened and whitened)

Treatment for tinea pedis can include antifungal powders or creams and self-care by: keeping the feet dry and clean - especially between the toes, regular washing and drying of the feet, and wearing clean socks and shoes.  Severe infections, frequently recurring infections, or those lasting more than two to four weeks may require stronger antifungal medications.

Tinea Corporis

Tinea corporis, more commonly known as ringworm, can occur anywhere on the skin, except for the scalp, groin, palms, and soles. Although ringworm most often affects children, it can affect people of any age.  The most common dermatophytes to cause tinea corporis are Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum canis, and Epidermophyton floccosumn.  These dermatophytes flourish in warm, moist environments.  Tinea corporis can be triggered by frequent wetness, such as that from excessive sweating.  Ringworm is also contagious and can be spread through contact with humans, animals, or inanimate objects.

Common symptoms include:

  • Itching (pruritis) skin
  • Ring-shaped, red-coloured skin rashes with scaly-looking borders

Treatment for tinea corporis can include antifungal powders or creams and self-care by keeping the skin dry and clean.  Severe or persistent infections may require stronger antifungal medications.

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