How to Solve the Problem of Fungal Infection on Skin?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Fungi are ubiquitous organisms, existing everywhere from soil and air to inside the body. They can also inhabit surfaces, plants and the skin. Generally, these microscopic organisms don’t pose a threat to the skin unless their growth accelerates or they penetrate the skin through a cut or lesion. Fungi tend to flourish in warm, moist environments with limited airflow, making sweaty or damp areas susceptible to fungal skin infections. These infections typically manifest as a scaly rash or discoloured, often itchy skin. Here is everything you need to know about treating a fungal infection of skin.

Fungal Skin Infections: Types and Treatment

There are many different types of fungal skin infections and each has its own treatment method. 

Yeast infection

A yeast known as Candida naturally resides on the skin and within the human body. If it proliferates excessively, it can lead to an infection, including on the skin. Common symptoms of a skin yeast infection may include:


  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • A reddish or discoloured rash
  • Pimple-like bumps around the rash
  • Burning sensation


Maintaining clean and dry skin is crucial in managing this fungal disease. While some infections may resolve on their own, there are both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications available. These medications work by either directly eliminating fungi or inhibiting their growth and spread. Additionally, to alleviate itching, one can also utilise a corticosteroid cream like hydrocortisone.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection on skin. While highly contagious, it’s generally not serious. The primary indicator of ringworm is a rash with a ring-shaped appearance and slightly raised edges. Typically, the skin within these circular rashes appears healthy. The rash can spread and often causes itching. When ringworm is confined to a few areas, it can usually be managed with a topical antifungal medication. However, for deeper or more extensive infections, doctors often suggest oral antifungals.

Jock Itch

Jock itch occurs in the region near your groin and thighs, predominantly affecting men and adolescent boys. The primary symptom is an itchy, red and sometimes painful rash that usually initiates in the groin or around the upper inner thighs. The rash may exacerbate after exercise or other physical activities and can extend to the buttocks and abdomen. Treatment typically starts with over-the-counter or prescription creams. Additionally, applying a cool compress can aid in soothing the skin. If topical treatments prove ineffective, a doctor may prescribe oral antifungals.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot affects the skin on your feet, often manifesting between your toes and sometimes on the soles. Typical symptoms include:


  • Itching or a stinging, burning sensation between your toes or on the soles
  • Peeling skin
  • Red, dry, scaly or flaky skin
  • Cracked or blistered skin
  • Thickened soles
  • Deep blisters on the soles, in rare cases


In the case of Athlete’s Foot, you can treat fungal infection with various over-the-counter topical products. If over-the-counter products fail to alleviate the infection within around two weeks, a doctor may prescribe prescription-strength topical sulconazole (Exelderm) or clotrimazole. Oral antifungals are usually prescribed when the infection is recurrent, causes blisters, or involves the tops of the feet, heels or soles.

Tinea versicolor

In tinea versicolor, small oval discoloured patches form on the skin, also known as pityriasis versicolor. This condition is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia. The discoloured patches mostly appear on the chest, back and upper arms, but can also affect the scalp. They may appear lighter or darker than the surrounding skin and can range in colour from red, tan, pink to brown. In individuals with darker skin, the patches may appear white. These patches can be flaky, itchy or scaly.


In such cases, the standard cure for fungal infection on skin involves topical products such as creams, lotions, soaps and shampoos. Ingredients to look out for include ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc and selenium sulphide. If tinea versicolor recurs after treatment, a doctor may recommend using a medicated cleanser once or twice a month. Oral medication is rarely necessary. However, a doctor may prescribe a short course of oral antifungals if tinea versicolor recurs frequently, is resistant to treatment, widespread, severe or results in thick scales.


Most fungal skin infections can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription creams. For severe infections, additional methods may be necessary. Taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of fungal skin infections. It’s advisable to consult a doctor at the first sign of infection to prevent potential serious complications. With direct assistance from a doctor, the majority of cases of fungal skin infections can be effectively treated.

HK Vitals


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