ABC Medical Center > Ringworm (head or scalp)

What is Ringworm (head or scalp)?

12:47 - 13 February , 2024


It is an infectious and contagious skin condition caused by a fungus that attacks the scalp and hair, causing it to break, weaken, and fall, producing itching and baldness.

Ringworm of the head or scalp, also called tinea capitis, is caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live between the outer layers of the skin, the dead tissues of the hair and nails. They tend to spread in warm and humid places. Among the most common causes are:

  • Lack of hygiene, that is, not washing your hair regularly.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Having microlesions on the skin or scalp.

It can be serious and cause permanent hair loss if not treated in time. Generally, it occurs in young children, but it can also appear at any age, with the most common forms of infection being the following:

  • Direct contact with an infected person.
  • Direct contact with infected animals.
  • Direct contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

Ringworm infection occurs more regularly in daycare centers and schools, so you must be aware of its appearance, especially if you have school-age children.

Signs and symptoms Ringworm (head or scalp)

  • Baldness.
  • Fragile and brittle hair.
  • Hair loss.
  • Itch.
  • Peeling of the skin.
  • Pain and sensitivity in the scalp.
  • Inflammation in the areas where hair fell out.
  • Spots that expand progressively.
  • Grayish or reddened areas.
  • Areas of the scalp with small black dots where hair has fallen out.

The main risks and complications of ringworm of the head or scalp include severe inflammation in the infected area, known as kerion, which generates pus until it turns into a thick yellow scab that can leave deep scars and permanent hair loss on affected places.

Diagnosis and treatment Ringworm (head or scalp)

The doctor, after analyzing the symptoms and clinical history, will perform a thorough review of the affected areas and take a hair or skin sample to be analyzed in the laboratory and confirm the diagnosis.

Ringworm (head or scalp) treatment consists of:

  • Oral antifungal medications.
  • Shampoos or medicated lotions.
  • After 30 to 60 days, hair usually grows in bald areas without scarring, unless the infection has become complicated.

In ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department, we provide you with health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological conditions, both chronic-degenerative and acute, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • López Escobar García PM, Raya AC, Maldonado SC, et al. Tiña del cuero cabelludo por Microsporum canis en una mujer adulta. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2006;34(5):239-241.

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