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What is Skin Fungus?

Athlete's foot thrives in moist areas such a between the toes.
Ringworm is a fungus that creates a ring of red, flaky skin.
A cream for treating skin fungus.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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When a fungal infection affects the skin, it is called skin fungus. There are different types, and they may be hard to recognize because they resemble other types of infections and conditions. For example, a fungal infection can cause flaky, itchy, reddened skin. Since these symptoms can be present with skin allergies and other forms of irritation, a doctor's help is often needed to determine whether or not a person has skin fungus.

The organisms that lead to fungal infections are often found on a person's skin under normal conditions. Usually, they don't cause problems. Sometimes, however, certain conditions on the skin or a person's weakened immune system allows the fungus to thrive and grow out of control. When this happens, an infection occurs. Skin fungal infections can occur on any part of the body.

One of the most common types of skin fungal infections is called athlete's foot (tinea pedis). This infection often appears on the bottoms of the feet and between the toes. It can also affect the sides of a person's foot, causing itching, burning, redness and flaking. The skin between the toes becomes whitish and very moist as well; it can be rubbed off easily. Athlete's foot thrives in warm, damp conditions, such as inside shoes.

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Jock itch (tinea cruris) is another common skin infection, and it leads to the same sort of symptoms found in athlete's foot. The skin itches, burns and appears red; it may also flake and peel. However, the difference is that jock itch occurs in the groin area; it can affect a person's testicles, pubic area and inner thighs. Like athlete's foot, this type of fungal infection thrives where it is warm and moist. For this reason, those who sweat a lot or exercise and do not change their workout clothes immediately may be more prone to it.

Ringworm (tinea corpora) is yet another type of skin fungus. Though its name makes it seems as if it is caused by a worm or some type of parasite, it's caused by a fungal infection. The fungus is microscopic and creates a ring of red, flaky skin. The ring is typically raised a bit off the skin's surface and is itchy. Ringworm can affect any part of the body and may actually form on several parts of the body at the same time; it may start out very small and grow as a gradually enlarging circle.

Another type of skin fungus is called candidiasis. It causes itchy, brownish discoloration on the underarms and beneath a woman's breasts. It may also affect the corners of a person's mouth and the area around the rectum. This skin fungus is caused by the same type of fungal infection that leads to vaginal yeast infections in women.

Tinea versicolor is another type of skin fungus. It causes a change in the color of the skin. For example, it may cause skin patches that are either lighter or darker than normal. The patches have scaly flakes around the edges. This infection does cause itching, but it is usually more mild than with other types of fungal infections.

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Discuss this Article

anon353647
Post 12

Use Canesten or Trosyd cream.

anon351995
Post 11

I have had itching on my upper thighs for two weeks. I tried applying the drying powders but it's not working. Now I've started shedding skin, which has scared me a little bit. The area does not show any blisters, but is red, and it seems to be spreading. Can anybody tell me the treatment to get rid of this?

anon349244
Post 10

I have clear bumps, mostly in little patches on my chin and right below my mouth. They are also located in a few places on my neck, but nowhere else on my body. I have tried to remove these bumps by shaving my face, and by using hydrocortisone and antibacterial soap, but to no avail. I have had this rash or fungus for about a month, but my doctor says it is a fungus. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

anon333471
Post 9

I have been suffering from excessive dry skin on the palm of my hands. It tends to form layers and then starts to peel. It is very itchy and at times, some water comes out. I have had this for the past 33 years and have taken allopathic and homeopathic treatments but to no avail. I have to keep using vaseline or neospirin tube to keep the dryness off. I use mustard oil also to keep my hands moist. What am I suffering from? Please guide me.

anon333078
Post 8

I have a fungus on my skin that gets dark and itchy when I do not put lotion on it and it spread all over my upper body and was I trying to figure out if anyone had the same thing and how to treat it?

anon318238
Post 7

I have a condition on my face. It looks inflamed and there are small bumps mostly at the hair root.

The bumps usually itch a lot. Initially I thought it was a fungal infections, but now I'm not sure. It more looks like small bumps than boils.

anon314018
Post 6

Fungus and bacteria are competitors. If you use too many antibacterial products, the fungus on your skin has lost its competitor and can thrive better.

Try not to use too much moisturiser if your skin is dry. Instead, drink more water and use fat based cream to reduce evaporation. Drinking more water is the best solution, but will take a while to show any effects.

anon310443
Post 5

I recently began working at a franchise pizza restaurant, often making large amounts of dough that contain a lot of yeast. After only one week, I have a skin rash on my face, neck, upper chest, and arms. The rash looks like red welts (not pimples) and itches.

How can I prevent and/or treat this skin problem? I am getting married soon. Please help!

anon288317
Post 4

I have it on my body, but I keep taking showers and trying to keep myself clean. What can I use to get rid of it?

StreamFinder
Post 3

Thanks for this article -- my daughter had been experiencing skin discoloration on the bottom of her breasts and the arms, and we had no idea what was going on.

Who knew that it could be caused by a common skin discoloration fungus! I'm so glad that I found this article, it definitely cleared my mind and I'm sure my daughter will be relieved to know that it's not something more serious.

But now knowing this, how do you prevent getting skin fungus spots like that? And how should she go about treating it?

CopperPipe
Post 2

Is there a type of skin fungus that primarily affects the face? I tend to get a really bad rash every time after I shave, and it's almost like I get pimples, but I don't have any acne anywhere else on my body, so I don't think that it's a normal skin problem.

I always use a clean razor, and I never share my shaving equipment with anybody else, but still maybe one out of every three times I shave I get this nasty rash. Do you think it could be caused by a skin fungus of the face, or is something else at work?

pharmchick78
Post 1

Skin fungus and infections can be a total pain, so it's good to know some tips on how to avoid them.

The first, and most important tip for avoiding fungal infections of the skin is to maintain proper skin hygiene. Keep your skin clean, and above all, dry. If you need to wear extra deodorant or use talcum powder or baby powder to keep your skin dry, then by all means, go for it!

You should also remember to wear appropriately fitting clothing, preferably of natural, breathable materials. Many people contract a skin fungus from wearing synthetic materials that cut off all the air flow to their skin. Just like you can get mold in the shower if you don't air it out, your skin can get fungus if it doesn't get the appropriate air circulation.

Finally, be smart about sharing. Don't share towels and clothes, especially ones that you sweat in (i.e., gym clothes).

Also, make sure you wipe down exercise equipment before getting on after someone else, and always wear flip flops in locker rooms to avoid getting athletes foot.

Finally, if you do get a fungus on your skin, be sure to treat it immediately. Those things can grow out of control quickly, so treating it fast if key.

If it does start to get out of hand, then contact your doctor immediately -- some skin fungus is contagious, and you don't want to be spreading it around to other people.

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