- Despite its name, ringworm is actually a highly contagious fungal infection.
- Many natural and over-the-counter remedies are available to treat this condition.
- Proper hygiene can help prevent the spread of ringworm to other parts of the body and to other people.
Ringworm affects animals and people. Though it’s more likely to catch ringworm from another person, it is still possible to contract it from a pet, from the soil where the fungus lives, and from objects where the fungus can linger for some time.
For the most part, you can treat ringworm at home with natural remedies and over-the-counter medication. Read on to find out what treatments work best.
Clearing Up Common Myths
In treating ringworm, there are a few misconceptions that should be noted. This section lists some of the questions patients most commonly ask their dermatologists.
- Can’t I just use hydrocortisone?
Topical hydrocortisone can seem like it is working in the beginning. You might see the rash start to disappear when in fact, it actually drives the fungus deeper into the skin, making it more difficult to treat using a topical antifungal balm alone.
- Should I keep the infection bandaged?
Though it may seem to make sense to bandage ringworm to keep it from spreading to other people, this locks moisture in, creating an ideal environment for ringworm to thrive. In the end, wrapping the infection can delay healing. A better approach would be to keep the affected area clean and use loose clothing to cover it up.
Though not serious, ringworm is highly contagious. It is important to treat it effectively and prevent infection whenever possible.
To prevent the spread of ringworm to other parts of the body and to other people, maintain good hygiene by keeping the body and face clean and shampooing consistently. It’s also a good idea to regularly wash bed linens and towels. Use soaps that contain many of the natural ingredients mentioned previously. Also, try to wear flip-flops whenever using a public shower.
Armed with these practices and the list of treatments previously mentioned, you should be able to keep ringworm infections in check.
Symptoms and Signs of Ringworm
Ringworm usually develops on one part of the body, and may even spread to other parts.
So if you think you may have contracted ringworm, but are unsure what exactly that contusion on your skin is, here are a few things that may help you identify ringworm on your skin:
- Red patches appear on your skin. These may be itchy, scaly, or raised like a bump.
- Patches that resemble a ring (perhaps the origin of the name). These ring like patches may be redder on the outside.
- Red bumps that turn into blisters (blisters are often formed when ringworm develops on the feet, which is also known as athlete’s foot).
Ringworm can appear almost anywhere on the body, even areas such as the scalp and nails. If you develop bald patches, it could be an indication that you have contracted ringworm. If you have the infection on your nails, you would notice that they become thicker and more discoloured, and may even start to crack.
As always, the best option for any infection or condition is a trip to the doctor as they can accurately identify, as well as give you counsel on ways for treatment.
However, if you opt for trying out a few methods at home instead of the hassle of visiting the doctor, we can help you out.
Not only can you use garlic to treat ringworm, you can even make some garlic bread while at it! But jokes aside, garlic is known to be a superfood for many reasons. Garlic is highly dense in nutrients, and is known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It contains antioxidants and compounds that are useful for medicinal purposes, so it’s no wonder that it was treated mostly as a medicine in ancient civilisations. Garlic is also naturally equipped with an anti-fungal agent known as Ajoene, which gives all the more reason to use this home remedy.
Here are steps that you can follow to use garlic as a treatment:
- Gather some garlic cloves (the fresher, the better) and either cut in thin slices or crush and mince to make a paste.
- Wash the affected area with or without soap and dry.
- After the area has dried, apply a desired amount of garlic slices or paste over the area and cover with a bandage or wrap.
- Leave on for at least an hour but no more than two, as long exposure may start to irritate the skin.
- After the removal of the garlic, clean the area with warm water. It may be better for the skin if you apply some kind of oil or aloe-vera in order to prevent itchiness or irritation in the area.
Try to repeat this process twice a day for best results, and although consistent and frequent treatment is required, keep in mind that overuse could lead to irritation and discomfort.
The worst thing you could do is damage your skin further, so if irritation, discomfort, or swelling occurs, discontinue immediately and go see a doctor. If no problem occurs, noticeable results could occur in as early as two weeks.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
This acidic solution has greatly risen in popularity due to its uses in cooking and home remedies. Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars found in apples, which turn into acetic acid, the compound that distinguishes it as a vinegar.
In the health and fitness community, it has been hailed as one of the best remedies for aiding blood sugar levels, cholesterol, weight loss and even for reducing some symptoms of diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar can also eliminate bacteria and is used for other remedies such as treating ear infections, warts, and lice. Although these remedies have not been backed up by scientific research, a lot of people claim and back apple cider vinegar for its usefulness in home remedies, so it couldn’t hurt to try using this home ingredient to treat your ringworm infection.
Here are some tips if you decide to use apple cider vinegar as your solution to ringworm:
- Before using this remedy on areas affected by ringworm, spot test it on a patch of healthy skin to ensure that your skin does not react negatively to it. Apple cider vinegar is acidic, so skin irritation is a possibility. If this happens, either use a diluted solution or go for another remedy.
- Be sure to clean and dry the affected areas before applying the remedy.
- To apply the apple cider vinegar, you can choose from either a cotton ball or a clean cloth. Soak the cotton ball or cloth with the vinegar, and then apply it on the infected area. Leave on for around 20 to 30 minutes, and repeat three times a day. You may see results in two to three weeks with consistent application.
- To maximise the chance of success, opt for using organic apple cider vinegar as the organic solution will contain more of the properties that make it so useful.
3. Tea Tree Oil
If you’re not still not convinced that garlic or apple cider vinegar will treat your infection, this will surely be the remedy you’ll want to try.
Tea tree oil has natural anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Listed below are some of the most common uses for it:
- Healing Acne
- Healing Bacterial and fungal infections (one example is ringworm)
- Healing Cold Sores
- Getting rid of head lice
- Treating itchy insect bites and sunburns
If you decide that tea tree oil is your go to solution, simply use a cotton ball or a clean cloth to apply the oil on the affected areas. Alternatively, you can either choose to dilute the oil with some warm water or prepare a solution that contains tea tree oil along with other anti-fungal oils (oil of oregano jojoba oil are good examples).
This idea of using a mix of anti-fungal oils may be extremely beneficial, especially if your ringworm infection is stubborn. Continue to use this remedy for about four weeks and you may be satisfied with the results it produces.
5. Alternative remedies
The remedies mentioned above are the most common and perhaps the most effective; however if you are looking for alternative solutions, the video above will give you some ideas as well as instructions on how to apply them.
Here’s a list of other well-known home remedies for ringworm:
- Mustard Seeds
- Nail Polish
- Vinegar and Salt paste
- Aloe Vera
- Lavender oil or any other anti-fungal oil
- Lemon Grass Tea
The vinegar and salt paste is perhaps the easiest of these as the materials required can easily be found at home. The methods to use these ingredients are the same as for the previously mentioned remedies.
Lemongrass tea is unique as the remedy is not to apply lemongrass tea on the skin, but to drink it three times a day. It is difficult to believe that just drinking tea will help treat ringworm, but it can be used as a supplementary method while using another treatment.
How to Avoid Getting Ringworm
Finally, even after your infection has gone, there are some measures you can take to ensure that you never contract ringworm again. These are mostly basic things such as proper hygiene and cleaning, but follow them and make sure that ringworm will never worm their way into your life again:
- Wash your hands after playing with an animal, and keep your pet’s living areas clean and disinfected.
- Be careful if you have skin injuries or abrasions, as this puts you at a greater risk of contracting ringworm.
- Avoid walking barefoot, especially in public areas such as public pools and showers. Furthermore, you’re more likely to contract ringworm if you come into contact with the fungi while wet.
- Last but not least, avoid sharing personal items such as clothing or hairbrushes, and clean these items as frequently as possible in order to keep the fungi at bay.
So there you have it! The best remedies for ringworm that you can conjure up from home. There’s one thing to remember when trying these methods and that is to be patient.
These remedies are unlikely to treat your condition overnight, as even prescribed medicines generally take at least a week or two to eliminate ringworm. These remedies may even take longer, or may not work in some cases, so only proceed to use home remedies if you are patient and willing to make use of the treatment frequently and consistently.
Causes of Ringworm
- Direct skin-to-skin contact with a human infected with ringworm.
- Contact with an animal infected with ringworm. This can be anything from dogs, cats, and rabbits, to horses, pigs, and even goats.
- Using another person’s towel or bedding could be the cause of your ringworm. Just like using the socks of someone with an athlete’s foot infection.
- Playing in the dirt. That’s right. Sometimes you can get ringworm from coming into contact with soil, but it’s rare indeed.
Best Prevention & Treatments for Ringworm
This should be obvious, but if you don’t want to get ringworm, don’t share personal items. Keep your towels, socks, underwear, and other personal effects to yourself. This of course bars the use of towels as whips in the shower. I know that you may be thinking, “But, Jonathan, I really like running around naked in public showers whipping unsuspecting strangers on their butts with a wet towel!” If this is the case, then I lack the necessary medical licensure to help you with your problems.
Keep cool, dry, and clean to avoid a ringworm infection. Yes, because it’s a fungal infection, ringworm can be avoided by staying clean and dry. Don’t wear heavy clothing that doesn’t breathe well for very long, and whatever you do, don’t forget to wear flip-flops in the shower if you live in a dormitory. Ringworm thrives in warm, humid places, so it’s best to avoid them or at least protect yourself if you can’t avoid them. Oh, and wash your hands!
Lamisil is a common antifungal cream used to get rid of ringworm. You’ve seen the commercials. Thank the lord we have things like antifungal creams. As I mentioned before, ringworm, or the fungus that causes it, is quite closely related to athlete’s foot. Thus, anything that will cure the tinea that causes athlete’s foot should cure your average ringworm infection. You can get Lamisil AF from Amazon.
Monistat-Derm is another common antifungal topical lotion used to cure ringworm. Unbeknownst to a majority of men, Monistat isn’t just for vaginas anymore. Monistat actually makes a pretty good antifungal skin cream that can help wipe out a ringworm infection in less than three weeks. It is suggested that any over-the-counter topical antifungal medicine be applied to the rash 2 times a day for at least 3 weeks to ensure adequate treatment.
I don’t know if I’d do this, but apparently spreading bleach over a ringworm infection with a Q-tip is a common treatment. Quite a few people I’ve talked to say that using bleach on a ringworm infection will clear it right up. The problem is, you’ll get two different descriptions of what it feels like to put bleach on a skin infection; you’ll either hear that it “sort of stings,” or that it “really, really stings.” Wrestlers who don’t have time for creams and ointments swear by this method. Of course, that might have been the concussions talking.
Natural Ringworm Cures
Tea Tree Oil! Good lord I’ve been pushing the Tea Tree Oil a lot lately, but you know what? If it’s good enough to treat athlete’s foot, it’s good enough to treat ringworm. As I mention in this article, tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic/astringent that will cure just about anything that comes from a fungus or bacteria. We recommend ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil from Amazon.
Apple cider vinegar is a good natural remedy for ringworm, if you can manage to keep the affected area soaked for 10-15 minutes a night before bedtime. This is usually easier if the ringworm is on your hand or on your feet, but if you can hold your breath long enough, I imagine you could get that ringworm off your chin using the same technique.
Sulfurated Lime Rinses. If’n you gots some ringworm on your pet, sulfurated lime rinses are apparently the most common natural remedy for ringworm on cats. I imagine this works for dogs too, but you never know. I’d go see a veterinarian if I were you.