Last updated:

Reviewed by:

Dr Bryony Henderson

, Lead GP at Livi

Medically reviewed

Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by a fungus. Discover the symptoms, causes and what you can do.

What is ringworm?

Ringworm is a common skin infection. Despite its name, it’s actually caused by a fungus, not a worm. It spreads through physical contact with skin or personal objects of an infected person. Sometimes ringworm can be picked up from soil or animals, too.

What are the symptoms of ringworm?

The symptoms of ringworm include:

  • A circular rash with a paler area in the centre

  • Skin that’s reddened, flaky and scaly

  • Itchy skin

What does ringworm look like?

Ringworm usually looks like a single circular rash, but sometimes the fungus spreads and forms multiple patches of rashes.

Ringworm rashes can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, neck, back and groin. Sometimes ringworm affects the scalp. If this happens, there can be patchy areas of hair loss where the rash is.

How is ringworm treated?

Ringworm is treated with antifungal treatments. Creams with the active ingredient clotrimazole, terbinafine or miconazole are available over the counter at a pharmacy, or you can get a prescription from a GP.

Ringworm treatments need to be applied twice daily for several weeks to completely clear the fungus.

If the ringworm isn’t clearing up with antifungal ringworm treatments, or is spreading across your body, a GP may consider a prescription of antifungal tablets.

When should I talk to a doctor?

Book an appointment to speak to a doctor if:

  • You’re unsure if the rash you have is ringworm or not

  • You’ve used an antifungal cream for two weeks and the rash is not improving

  • You have ringworm rashes affecting your scalp and it’s causing hair loss

  • You have a medical condition causing a weakened immune system, or are taking medication which suppresses the immune system.

What can Livi do to help?

A Livi healthcare professional can help check if your rash is caused by ringworm and give you advice or a prescription to treat it.

Last updated:
Reviewed by:
Dr Bryony Henderson, Lead GP at Livi