Did you know that there are many types of fungi that live on the skin? Just like bacteria, fungi are all around us. When they begin to multiply at such a high level that they “take over” one part of the body, this causes a fungal infection. Fungal infections often thrive in areas that are warm and moist such as between the toes, the genitals, or in folds of the skin.

What are Fungal Skin Infections?

Just like bacteria, there are good fungi and bad fungi. When bad fungi run amok, it can lead to a fungal infection. Fungal skin infections are very common and contagious but can usually be treated easily. They are characterized by red, itchy, cracked skin in many cases that takes the form of a rash. If you suspect that you have a fungal skin infection, you should contact your dermatologist at Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology for an immediate consultation.

What are the Types of Fungal Infections?

You probably have heard several of the common fungal infections include:

  • Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection which typically affects the feet. Since fungi grow in warm, moist environments, athlete’s foot can grow in damp socks, shoes, or athletic equipment. It is very contagious and can be spread in locker room showers, as well as to the hands if you’re not careful.
  • Ringworm (tinea corporis) is caused by a fungus that lives on dead tissue such as skin, hair, and fingernails. This is the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot or “jock itch” and is characterized by red scaly patches in the shape of a ring.
  • Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of candida and are a common issue for women. A yeast infection may be the result of taking antibiotics, stress, or a hormonal imbalance. Yeast infections are characterized by itching, redness, or discomfort in the vagina, as well as burning during urination.
  • Jock itch is caused by fungi that grow in the region of the groin, buttocks, and inner thighs. It is contagious and may be spread through direct contact or contact with an item the fungi have come into contact with such as a towel.

How are Fungal Skin Infections Treated?

Fungal infections are treated with anti-fungal medications which may be applied either topically or taken orally.