Man Scratching Beard

What Is It

Despite the name, ringworm is a skin disease caused by a fungal infection. You can get ringworm from skin-to-skin contact, contaminated gym floors, and household items like clothes, bed linen, and towels.

Ringworm lives off dead skin tissue, prevalent in the scalp, feet, groin area, and sometimes, in men’s beards.

Symptoms

If the ringworm infection is on your skin, you will notice a flat area that feels scaly. The edges of the ringworm patch will feel slightly raised above the surrounding skin. The edges will feel lifted and a bit bumpy.

The infected area will look like a poorly-drawn circle, as the name suggests. The skin inside the ring might look somewhat translucent or come with raised red spots. It will also itch quite a lot.

Types

Face 

Also called tinea faciei, this fungal ringworm infection appears on the face. You can often see it along the jawline and, sometimes, in the area around the nose.

Scalp 

Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) occurs when the person has moderate to severe dandruff. You can usually find the ringworm infection along the hairline, usually along the forehead, where the skin is driest.

Hands 

When the hand gets infected with ringworm (tinea manuum) fungal infection, it usually manifests on the palms or in the spaces between the fingers. Usually, the infected area will have a thick and dry skin patch.

Beard 

Also known as “barber’s itch” (tinea barbea), the beard ringworm infects the skin and hair follicles of the beard. If you have a long beard, the infection would not be that visible aside from dandruff-like flakes of skin stuck on the strands.

If you use a beard trimmer to cut your beard shorter, you will find a lighter skin patch underneath the beard.

Groin 

More commonly known as “jock itch” (tinea cruris), groin ringworm is not the same as your usual ringworm. Aside from being itchy, this fungal infection also causes a burning and painful feeling around the infected area.

This usually manifests around the groin, inner thighs, and butt crack.

Foot 

Foot ringworm (tinea pedis) is commonly known as “athlete’s foot.” It often manifests in between the toes, at the heel, and on the toenails. This is usually hard to remedy because the inside of a person’s shoes is the perfect environment for fungus to proliferate.

Nails 

Tinea unguium, also known as nail ringworm, is an infection that makes the nails on the fingers and toes look sickly white and opaque. The nails also seem thicker than normal but are pretty brittle and prone to cracking.

How to Prevent

Man Checking His Hair

Step 1 – Boost your immunity

People with weak or compromised immune systems are more prone to acquiring fungal infections like ringworm. So, if you want to prevent it from happening to you, work on improving your immune system.

Step 2 – Don’t share your things

Ringworm fungi can live on objects for years and still be able to infect others. To prevent this from happening to you, don’t use other people’s intimate items, especially the ones that get a sweat on a lot. These include towels, sporting gear, hats, and even combs.

Step 3 – Don’t walk barefoot

Public pools, showers, and gym locker rooms are hotbeds for fungal activity. Avoid walking barefoot in these environments to keep your feet from getting infected. Always wear flip-flops or sandals when you need to go to these places.

Step 4 – Wash yourself thoroughly

You cannot avoid getting in contact with other people’s sweat when you play contact sports. However, you can prevent fungal infection by showering as soon as possible and using plenty of soap and shampoo to clean yourself.

Step 5 – Change your underwear at least once a day

To prevent ringworm, keep sweat from getting trapped close to your skin. You can do this by wearing loose-fitting clothes made from breathable materials. Also, change your underwear and socks at least once a day to keep the jock itch and athlete’s foot away.

Step 6 – Keep yourself dry

Ringworms, just like any other fungi, love humid environments. So, make yourself a hostile environment for them by always keeping yourself dry. This means you should towel yourself off after a bath and wipe off your sweat immediately after working out or playing sports.

How to Treat

Step 1 – Consult a dermatologist

Although countless home remedies are said to cure ringworm, it is still best that you go to a dermatologist for advice.

Step 2 – Use prescription medication

If you have a severe ringworm infection, treating it with prescription medication and a special shampoo for your beard is most likely. OTC fungal medication may not be strong enough for what you have.

If you already have thin facial hair or a patchy beard, you might consider shaving it off completely to allow the medication to reach the problem area.

Step 3 – Finish your medication schedule

If your dermatologist told you to continue taking your medication for four weeks, you should follow the instructions. Even if you find that the ringworm seems to have cleared up after three weeks, go through the last week of treatment. Not doing so may cause the ringworm to come back.

How to Keep It From Coming Back

Step 1 – Throw away old combs and brushes

As mentioned earlier, ringworm fungus can live on infected objects for years, so throw out your old beard comb and brushes. If you have costly beard styling aids, you should clean and disinfect them thoroughly before using them again.

Step 2 – Wash with selenium sulfide shampoo 

Shampoos like Selsun Blue or clinical strength work well against all fungal infections. Use these medicated shampoos to wash your beard once a month. You can also use a beard moisturizer to restore hair moisture. Also, remember to dry the skin under your beard thoroughly.

Step 3 – Wash clothes, bed linens, and towels 

It will be pretty expensive to replace all your clothes and linens, so wash them thoroughly in hot water to kill any fungi that might still be on them.

FAQ

Can you get a ringworm on your beard?

Ringworm Beard Infection

Yes, it is not as uncommon as you think. Beard ringworm (tinea barbea) is a fungal infection that can affect the skin underneath the beard, the base of the hairs, and the hair follicles.

How do you get rid of beard fungus?

You will need to consult a dermatologist and get a prescription for antibiotic treatment, like pills, creams, and medicated beard shampoo. You can also use beard oil and medication to moisten your beard.

Will beard ringworm go away on their own?

On a healthy person, ringworm might go away independently after a couple of months. However, if you have a weak constitution, it might take a while.

Is beard ringworm contagious?

Yes, you can get ringworm from skin-to-skin contact. It is also possible to get infected with it when you come in contact with infected surfaces and objects.

Conclusion

Beard ringworm might seem like a slight inconvenience, but because it can last for quite a long time and cause an annoying itchy beard, you should have it checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible. This will help fix it quickly and prevent it from spreading.