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Tinea is a kind of fungal infection caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. The dermatophytes invade the dead keratin of nails, hair and skin. There are species of this group of fungi that can infect human beings. These species belong to the genera Microsporum, Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton.

Tinea, also known as dermatophytosis, can spread the infection in three different ways: antropophilic, zoophilic, and geophilic. Antropophilic means that the infection can be spread from human to human. Zoophilic on the other hand pertains to the type of infection that can spread from animal to human. And lastly, geophilic means spreading of infection from soil to human.


The organisms that cause tinea most of the time are the Trichophyton interdigitale, Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton rubrum, Epidermophyton floccosum and Microsparum canis. All of these belong to the dermatophytes.


These fungi can only infect dead keratinized tissue like skin, hair and nails. They are also only limited and is bounded by the dead cornified layer of the tissue. It favors the environment that provides humidity and moisture. The infections of tinea are classified according to where the infections are located. If the scalp of the hair is infected, it is call tinea capitis. If the infection is the extremities or the trunk, it is called tinea corporis. Tinea manuum is the term used for infection of the palms of the hands while tinea pedis is the term used for the soles of the feet. The term tinea cruris is used to describe the infection of dermatophytes on the groin area while tinea barabae pertains to the infection of the neck and the beard area. For the infection of the face, the term tinea faciale is used and tinea unguium is for the infection of the nail.

Tinea infections can occur all over the world. Among all the classifications of tinea, the most common is tinea pedis. The prevalence however may differ from country to country. All people, regardless of gender, can be infected by tinea. There are some classifications of tinea though that man became more susceptible because of the anatomical structure. The infection also knows no age. Anybody, regardless of age, can be infected by tinea.

In any forms of tinea, the main symptom of the infection is pruritus or itching. But there are some symptoms that are only inherent to a certain classification of tinea infection.

For tinea capitis, the fungal infection of the scalp may slightly differ from patient to patient depending on the type of invasion of the hair. But most often than not, a person who has tinea carpitis will experience hair less. Hairs breaking at the scalp are also noticeable.

Infection on the trunk or extremities (tinea corporis) would show manifestations like annular scaly plaques with postule, vesicles and raised edges.

For tinea pedis can be seen on the web-like structures of the feet and the plantar area. It usually occurs to only one foot. These are evident by these characteristics: scaling, maceration and fissuring of the toe-web, the lateral surfaces and soles are scaling, noticeable erythema, pustules, vesicle, bullae and pustules.
Image: Tinea

Tinea manuum, just like with tinea pedis, infection is located on the web-like structures but this time its on the hands. And just like tinea pedis, it usually only occurs in one hand. It has also been observed that if a person has tinea pedis, he or she also has tinea manuum. Other symptoms include the presence of erythema and scaling.

Erythamtous lesions with raised borders and central clearing best describe tinea cruris – the infection of the pubic region and the groin. If it is tinea barbae, presence of scaling, pustules and erythema are usual indications of the infection.


There are many factors that could cause tinea infection. The most common risk factors that lead to tinea infection are the moist conditions, immunocompromised state, communal bath, atopy, cushing syndrome, skin tear, skin abrasions, and genetic predisposition.

Actually, the main issue when it comes to tinea infection is hygiene. Remember that tinea is infectious can easily transfer from human to human, animal to human and soil to human. It would be very easy to become infected if good hygiene is not practiced.


Usually the treatment for tinea infection is through the use of topical agents like powders, sprays, solutions, cream, gel, paste and lotions. But these topical agents will not be effective to some types of tinea infections like tinea capitis (infection of the hair) and tinea unguium (infection of the nails). Examples of these antifungal topical agents are Ketaconazole 2% cream, Clotrimazole 1% cream or lotion, Econazole 1% cream or lotion, Miconazole 2% cream, Natifine 1% cream and Sertaconazole nitrate cream.

Of course there are also treatments other than antifungal topical agents. There are also antifungal drugs that a person suffering from tinea infection can take. Samples of these drugs are Terbanafine which is taken per orem, Griseofulvin another per orem medication, Itraconazole and Flucanozole.


The best way to prevent yourself from acquiring tinea infection is by practicing proper hygiene. This includes taking baths regularly, make it a habit to wash your hands, and as much as possible do not share your clothes, towels and linens to other people especially those you do not know that well.

If there are any suspicious lesions, do not let it touch any other parts of your body. Try to consult your physician to know what kind of lesions you have and to give you treatment as early as possible.

The common mistake of people is that when they feel something itchy on parts of their body, they try to scratch it aggressively to relieve the itchiness. Yes this may relieve you for awhile but this may also cause skin breakage which can become the portal of entry for many infectious agents one of which is the dermatophytes.

It would also help to live a healthy lifestyle and to eat the right kinds of food to increase or strengthen the body's immune system.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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