What are the Symptoms of Ringworm?

A man hand with symptoms of ringworm


Ringworm can show different signs and symptoms depending on the individual.
The symptoms can also depend on the body part that is affected. There are several common signs and symptoms that can be associated with ringworm and an individual affected by it can show just one or several signs or symptoms.


Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Silvery or red, scaly, crusted, ring-shaped rash on the skin
  • Red and itchy mold-like patches
  • Several rings that may overlap
  • Patches of the skin that develop oozing or blisters
  • Bald patches on the scalp
  • Scaling in the scalp
  • Thickened, cracked, or discolored nails
  • Cracked or peeling rashes
  • Large, round patches
  • Raised patches of various sizes
  • Patches with a brown or red center
  • Ring-like scaly or dry patches with contours resembling the wavy outline of a worm or snake
  • Blister-like lesions
  • Severe itchiness on the infected areas
  • Heightened sensitivity or pain on the infected areas

The Different Types of Ringworm and its Symptoms:

  • Tinea corporis or ringworm of the body

Tinea Corporis refers to the ringworm of the arms, legs, and torso. The symptoms may appear as a rash on the chest, back, and stomach and these symptoms may worsen and spread to other parts rapidly if not given immediate medical attention and treatment. Different fungi cause this type of ringworm in different parts of the world. This type of ringworm usually originates in the nails or feet and spreads to other parts of the body.

Main Symptoms

  • itchy, red, circular rash in the shape of a ring that may look like a bullseye or a target
  • Round spots
  • Red ring of scaly skin that grows outward as infection spreads
  • The skin may be inflamed and red on the outside of the ring but looks fine in the middle
  • Itchiness under rash
  • Rings feel slightly raised
  • Small bumps that look like blisters
  • Cluster of red bumps
  • Rash with edges that are red and scaly or crusted and moist

Severe Symptoms

  • Acute – itchy, red patches that may be filled with blisters and pus and spread rapidly
  • Chronic – slightly inflamed rashes that spread more slowly and tend to appear in body folds
    • Rings that multiply and merge together
  • Tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp

Tinea Capitis occurs in the hair and on the scalp. This type of infection usually affects children between 3 and 7 years old. The hair can be infected by different types of skin fungi which may especially come from contact with house pets and animals.

Main Symptoms

  • Patchy hair loss
  • Small patches of scaly skin on the scalp, which can be sore
  • An itchy scalp
  • Brittle hair
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
  • Painful scalp
  • Low-grade fever
  • Matted hair
  • Yellow crusts
  • Black dots of hair that are broken off at the scalp and has a scaly surface
  • A smooth spot where hair has fallen off

Severe Symptoms

  • Crusting on the scalp
  • Bald patches (if the hair is affected)
  • Small, pus-filled sores on the scalp called legions
  • An intensely inflamed mass that looks like abscess
  • Tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot

Tinea Pedis is more commonly known as athlete’s foot and this is the most common type of ringworm in human skin yet the most difficult to treat as well. Athlete’s foot usually affects the skin between the toes or on the bottom of the feet. This can easily spread around the foot and to your toenails. Athlete’s are prone to this type of ringworm because of their intense sweat, walking through common areas barefoot, keeping the feet wet for longer periods, and wearing closed shoes most of the time.

Main Symptoms

  • The main symptom of athlete’s foot or ringworm on the feet is a dry, itchy, flaky, and red rash that can usually be found in the spaces between your toes.
  • white, soggy, cracked
  • Soreness on the feet
  • moist, peeling skin in between the toes
  • Dry soles that are not inflamed
  • Round dry patches on the top of the feet
  • Dry scaling on the soles of the feet that is patchy and fine
  • Blisters on the sides of the feet

Severe Symptoms

  • Cracked skin in the affected area
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Blisters which may crust or ooze
  • Painful split on the skin which may be coupled with an unpleasant smell
  • A stinging or burning sensation in the skin
  • Scaling patterns between the toes, around the sole, and on the side of the foot

Athlete’s foot and jock itch frequently occur at the same time.

  • Tinea cruris or ringworm of the groin

This type of ringworm is also called Jock itch. Tinea Cruris appears on the groin, inner thighs, buttocks, and skin fold. The rash does not occur on the genitals. This commonly occurs in adult men.

Main Symptoms

  • Red-brown sores which may have pus-filled sores or blisters around the edge
  • Redness and itchiness in and around the groin area, such as your inner thighs and bottom (the genitals are not usually affected)
  • Flaky and scaly skin on your inner thighs
  • The affected area becomes red and may give a burning sensation
  • The edges of the rash are very noticeable and may be scaly or have bumps that look like blisters
  • Tinea manuum or ringworm of the hand

Tinea Manuum is an infection that occurs on the palms or on the hands. This type of ringworm is contracted through contact with soil, animals, or human beings that have been infected by ringworm. People who are most like to be affected by this type of ringworm are those who have hand dermatitis, those who sweat intensely, and those who often engage themselves in manual labor.

Main Symptoms

  • Dryness on the palm
  • Peeling on the palm
  • An inflamed rash that is often with raised borders
  • A blistered rash with clear sticky fluid on the edges of the fingers or palm
  • Mild itching on the palm
  • Rash that is dry, scaly, and thickened, just like athlete’s foot
  • Skin between the fingers are moist and have open sores
    • Rash on the back of the hand that is scaly and red that have edges with bumps that look like blisters
  • Tinea barbae or ringworm of the beard

Tinea Barbae is a ringworm that can only be seen in men. It affects a beard, a mustache, or a goatee. It can appear either on the face or on the neck. This type of ringworm used to be caused by unsanitary practices done by barbers but nowadays, it is common among farmers because of their direct contact with farm animals and soil which are easily affected by ringworm.

Main Symptoms

  • Breaking off of facial hair
  • Itching
  • Facial hair that can be easily pulled out
  • Marked crusting and swelling
  • Red lumpy areas around the face
  • tinea faciei or ringworm of the face

Tinea Faciei appears on the face, ears, or both. The rash is rarely ring-shaped but ringworm on the face can bring about red scaly patches with blurry edges. It is not a common type of ringworm but can be easily contracted just by contact with several sources that are infected by ringworm such as house pets, cattle, ringworm of the feet, and ringworm of the nail.

Main Symptoms

  • Rash with a border that may not be very noticeable
  • Red, oval or round, scaly patch

Severe Symptoms

  • Rash gets aggravated when exposed to the sun
  • Tinea Unguium or ringworm of the nails

Tinea Unguium refers to the fungal infection of the fingernails or toenails. This type of ringworm is caused by either trichophyton interdigitale or trichophyton rubrum which are both types of skin fungi. Toenails are more prone to contracting ringworm. Fungal nail infections can affect only a part or all of the nail, which includes the nail bed, nail plate, and root of the nail. People who have a high risk of contracting ringworm of the nails are men, people who have diabetes, older adults, people with the peripheral vascular disease, or anyone with a weakened immune system.

Main Symptoms

  • Hard nails
  • Whitish thickening of the nails
  • Brittle nails
  • Nails that have an irregular shape
  • Yellow, brown, white, black, green or discolored nails
  • The skin around the nail may be irritated and sore

Severe Symptoms

  • Falling off of the nail


As mentioned earlier, there are several signs and symptoms of ringworm and several of them or only one of them may appear on an individual. The signs and symptoms really depend on an individual and his / her immune system.

Ringworm can affect different parts of the body aside from the skin and the signs and symptoms differ for every part of the body that is affected.

The signs and symptoms of ringworm usually start showing after four to ten days from initial infection. For scalp infection, the signs are only visible after around ten days from initial infection.

If you start noticing the signs and symptoms of ringworm, immediately seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. Do not self-diagnose. There are some other cases of skin infection that display similar symptoms of ringworm and only a doctor can do a proper diagnosis.