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The skins first job is to provide a line of defence to our underlying organs from damage including infection. The skin itself however often gets infected.

Common bacterial skin infections include impetigo, cellulitis, folliculitis and erysipelas.

Fungal infections include tinea pedis (athletes foot), onychomycosis (toe nail fungal infection) and tinea corporis (ring worm).

Types of fungal skin infections

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is caused by fungi that grow in the skin between your toes and on the soles of your foot. This is a very common infection with around seven in 10 people have had it at some time in their lives. The moist warm environment between toes is the perfect environment. The infection can make the skin between your toes itchy, flaky and red. You may get painful cracks in the skin too. The infection can spread to the whole of your foot.  Its more likely to occur your footwear makes your feet sweaty, and you’re in a warm, humid environment. You can pick up athlete’s foot if you walk barefoot on damp, contaminated floors such as in communal bathing or swimming areas. After scratching the affected area, you can spread the infection, causing athlete’s foot in other parts of your body.

Nail Infections

The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis. It can affect any part of your nail, and your toenails are much more likely to be affected than your fingernails. Fungal infections of your nail tend to take a long time to develop. They cause your nail to discolour and become rough and crumbly. The surrounding tissue may also get thicker. Nail infections usually require a medication taken by mouth for several months.

Ringworm

Ringworm is an infection of the body arms or legs with a fungus, not a worm. Its name comes from the way it often causes a ring-shaped rash. Ringworm infections can affect different parts of your body.

Ringworm on your body (Tinea corporis)

This usually affects parts of your body that are exposed, such as your arms, legs or trunk, and it causes a red, scaly, ring-shaped rash. Ringworm can spread with close contact. You can catch it by touching somebody who already has ringworm, or by touching contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding. Farm animals such as cattle carry the fungi that cause ringworm, as well as pets like cats and dogs.

Ringworm in your groin (Tinea cruis)

This is also called ‘jock itch’ and it’s more common in young men. This is because the scrotum and thigh are in close contact, which can create conditions in which fungi can thrive. It can also happen if you’re very overweight or often wear tight clothing. Ringworm can cause an itchy, red rash in your groin and around the top of your legs.

You’re most likely to get ringworm in your groin if you have other fungal skin infections of your hands, feet or nails. Like ringworm on your body, ringworm in your groin can spread with close contact and you can pass it on in the same way.

Ringworm on your scalp (Tinea capitis)

You can get this at any age, but it mostly affects children. Ringworm usually appears in patches on your scalp, which are scaly and may itch. In some people the patches become inflamed and red, with pustules forming. You may also develop a pus-filled area on your scalp, called a ‘kerion’. During the infection, it’s possible that your hair may fall out and leave bald areas, but it usually grows back once you treat the infection.

Viral Infections

Viral infections are very common affecting the entire population. These include chicken pox, molluscum and cold sores. 

BOOK A CONSULTATION

For Plymouth please call Shannon on 01752 437026 | For The Duchy, Truro please call Alex on 01872226101 or email: enquiries@tobynelsondermatology.com. A referral from your GP is preferred.