Ringworm (Tinea)

What Is It?

Published: March, 2019

Ringworm, also called tinea, is a skin infection caused by fungi, microscopic organisms that are similar to yeast and molds. It does not have any relation to worms, but is called "ringworm" because the infection can produce ring-shaped patches on the skin that have red, wormlike edges.

Although ringworm can affect almost any area of the body, it favors places that are warm, dark and moist, such as skin in the groin area, the spaces between the toes and the deep skin folds of obese people. People can catch ringworm in several different ways, including:

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »