The term ringworm infection can actually be misleading because most people are forced to believe that the condition is caused by some kind of worms. But in fact, it is a common infectious condition that affects the top layers of the skin, nails and scalp. What causes ringworm on skin? Ringworm is caused by a class of fungi known as dermatophytes. These fungi thrive on keratin, a protein that is found on the skin of humans and animals. Ringworm, also referred to as tinea corporis, gets its name because it causes the development of the characteristic red circular rash with clear skin in the middle. Although ringworm fungal infection mostly affects the arms and legs, it can appear almost anywhere on the body. Ringworm on face is possible.
One question that many people have, is ringworm contagious? Yes, Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread directly from one person to another. It can also spread by sharing stuff like clothing, towels, etc with the infected person. Although not very common, you can also get ringworm infection by touching an infected dog or cat. Ringworm is not a serious condition and can easily be treated. Mild ringworm infections are usually treated with anti-fungal topical medications while more severe cases are treated with anti-fungal pills that need to be taken for several weeks. Plenty of safe and natural remedies are available for getting rid of ringworm, which we will discuss later in this article.
Signs and Symptoms of Ringworm
The following are the common signs and symptoms associated with human ringworm infection of the scalp:
- Small patches of scaly skin on the scalp that may feel tender or painful
- Loss of hair on or near the patches
- Large inflamed sores on the scalp from which pus may ooze out
- Fever and swollen lymph nodes
The common signs and symptoms associated with ringworm infection of the skin are:
- Rashes that have a ring-like appearance. The skin outside of the ring may be red and swollen but appears fine in the middle.
- Rings may appear slightly raised.
- When there are many rings, they will merge together.
- Itchiness, especially under the rash.
The common symptoms associated with ringworm infection of the groin are:
- Itchiness in and around the groin area
- The affected area becomes red and inflamed
- The skin on the inner thighs may become dry, scaly and flaky
- Wearing tight clothes, walking, running, or exercising makes the symptoms worse
Home Remedies for Ringworm
Ringworm fungal infection may spread to other parts of the body if not treated properly. The following ringworm home treatments are found to be safe and effective for treating the infection. The best thing about these remedies is that they are natural and produces no side effects. However, before you try any kind of treatment method, make sure to consult your doctor first. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may sometimes require medical attention. Now let’s have a look at some of the home remedies for ringworm:
- Garlic for ringworm treatment
Garlic has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and hence is one of the best remedy for various kinds of fungal infections, including ringworm. These properties of garlic can be attributed to the presence of chemical compounds such as ajoene and allicin in it. . According to a study, topical ajoene cream is more effective than leading over-the-counter medicated creams for treating athlete’s foot.
To use garlic as natural remedy for ringworm, just peel some fresh garlic cloves, make a paste and then apply the paste on the affected area. Leave it on for about 1 to 2 hours and then rinse with warm water. If you want, you can apply an adhesive bandage or medical tape over the paste. Do this 2 or 3 times a day for about 3 weeks.
- Apple Cider Vinegar for baby ringworm treatment
Just like garlic, apple cider vinegar is also known to have anti-fungal properties that can help cure ringworm infection. The vinegar contains acetic acid that helps treat many skin disorders including ringworm. When it is applied directly on the affected area, it creates an acidic environment which is not favorable for the ringworm causing fungi to thrive. Apple cider vinegar is non-toxic and can be used safely on pets and children. Regular use of apple cider vinegar can help eliminate the fungi completely.
First clean the infected area. Dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the affected area. Repeat this three to five times a day until the infection disappears. Another option is to soak a small piece of cloth in a bowl containing apple cider vinegar and then apply it to the infected area two times a day for at least half an hour.
- Tea Tree Oil for treating ringworm fungal infection
Tea tree oil, extracted from tea tree or Melaleuca alternifolia is an excellent anti-fungal and antiseptic agent. It is widely used for treating fungal infections and also other other types of skin diseases. It is also used as an ingredient in many cosmetic products such as hair oils and shampoos.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and apply it onto the infected area. Do this three to four times a day until the infection is completely gone. Another option is to add half a teaspoon of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water and apply this solution on the infected area.
- Coconut Oil for treating ringworm
Coconut oil has healing properties that are very effective in getting rid of ringworm and other fungal infections. The oil contains lauric acid, which is a powerful anti-fungal agent. Coconut oil, in addition to removing the infection also offers a soothing effect to the skin. It is mostly used in treating ringworm infections of the scalp.
Apply a small amount of the coconut oil directly onto the affected area and massage gently for a few minutes. Repeat this three to four times a day. You can also apply the oil just before you go to bed and leave it on overnight. Do this every day for a couple of weeks until there is no trace of the infection.
- Turmeric – ayurvedic treatment of ringworm
In spite of being a commonly used spice in numerous cuisines of the world, turmeric also has medicinal properties and is widely used in traditional Indian medicine. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it effective in inhibiting the growth and spread of ringworm infection.
Prepare a paste by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of water. Apply this paste on the infected areas, leave it on for about 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water and mild soap. You need to use soap because turmeric will leave stains on the skin. Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day until the infection disappears. Instead of using turmeric powder, you can also crush the fresh roots of turmeric and make a paste with water.
- Lemongrass as ringworm remedy
Lemongrass is an effective remedy for ringworm because of its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The herb has the ability to heal wounds as well as prevent infections. It also helps relieve itching.
Grind few lemongrass leaves along with buttermilk to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area, leave it on for about 20 minutes and then wash off. You can also apply lemongrass oil or lemongrass teabags on the infected area.
Another effective remedy is to drink lemongrass tea. For making the tea, add lemongrass teabags to boiling water and steep for a few minutes. Drink at least 3 cups of this tea daily to get the desired results. Take care not to throw away the used teabags as they can be applied on the ringworm infected area.
- Licorice for cure on ringworm
Licorice root has anti-fungal properties that helps in getting rid of fungal infections, including ringworm. The herb is found contain around 25 substances that exhibit strong anti-fungal effects. It is effective in reducing itchiness and in eliminating ringworm infection completely.
Add 4 or 5 teaspoons of licorice root powder to a cup of boiling water and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain the solution and allow it to cool. Dip a cotton ball in this solution and dab it on the infected area. Repeat this thrice a day until the infection is eliminated completely.
- A Combination of Jojoba Oil and Lavender Oil for treating ringworm
Both jojoba oil and lavender oil have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and so can be used to treat ringworm. These oils are gentle on the skin and can be safely used even on babies. They also provide moisturizing, soothing and healing effect on the skin. Although lavender oil by itself is a great remedy for ringworm, combining it with jojoba oil will provide more effective results.
Take a small bowl and add equal amounts of jojoba oil and lavender oil. Combine well and dip a cotton ball into the mixture. Apply the cotton ball on the affected area and rub gently. Repeat 3 or 4 times daily until the infection is gone.
- Aloe Vera as ringworm cure
Well known for its ability to heal sunburns, aloe vera is a herb that can help cure countless skin problems, including ringworm. The thick gooey gel that oozes out of the aloe leaves have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, which accounts for the healing effects of the plant.
Cut off a portion of the aloe vera leaf. Collect the gel that comes out of the leaves and apply it directly onto the affected area. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash off. Repeat this treatment 3 or 4 times a day till the infection is healed.
- Healing ringworm with Raw Papaya
Another effective way to heal ringworm is to use raw papaya because it contains enzymes such as papain and chymopapain that can help inhibit the growth of ringworm. In addition to fighting off the fungi responsible for the infection, these enzymes also reduce inflammation and provide relief from itching.
Grind raw papaya to make a paste. Apply the paste directly on the ringworm infection. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and the rinse with warm water. Do this two to three times per day until the ringworm has disappeared.
The above mentioned are some of the natural remedies that work effectively to ward off ringworm infection. You can prevent ringworm by keeping yourself and the environment around you hygienic. Avoid sharing personal care items with others. Keep your skin clean and dry, and make sure to keep your hair and scalp clean by shampooing regularly. When going to the public pools and gyms, take care to wear appropriate footwear. If you are infected with ringworm, make sure to visit a doctor before undergoing any treatment, even if you are using natural remedies.