Friendly Fungi – TINEA
Tinea is a contagious fungal skin infection. It can be easily picked up and, once it snuggles in, can be difficult to get rid of.
*Tinea is also known as ringworm, which is misleading as no worm is involved.
Tinea loves to spread itself around. It can be transferred by skin-to-skin contact or indirectly through towels, clothes or floors. It is because it’s so easily transferrable, it can be tricky to remove as re-infection is quite high.
Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas and tinea is no exception. It’s for this reason the most commonly affected areas include the feet, groin, scalp and beneath the breasts.
Tinea infections has different names depending on the part of the body affected. The most common types of tinea include:
Athlete’s foot – tinea of the foot, known as tinea pedis
Jock itch – tinea of the groin, known as tinea cruris
Ringworm of the scalp – tinea of the head, known as tinea capitis (mainly affects children)
Ringworm of the body – tinea of the body, known as tinea corporis
Nail infection (onychomycosis) – tinea of the toe or fingernails, known as tinea unguium
Symptoms of tinea
The symptoms of tinea can include:
Itching and stinging
Red scaly rash that is shaped like a ring (annular)
Cracking, splitting and peeling in the toe web spaces
Yellow or white discoloration of the nails
Bald spots on the scalp
How to avoid tinea infection and prevent re-infections
Overheating and perspiration contribute to tinea infections, so suggestions to reduce the chance of infection include:
After washing, dry the skin thoroughly, particularly between the toes and within skin folds
Expose the skin to air as much as possible
Wear cotton socks instead of synthetics
Use some form of antiperspirant to control excessive sweating
Wear thongs to swimming pools, locker rooms and other communal areas (basically, don’t go barefoot)
How to get rid of the friendly fungi
Tea tree oil is our staple antifungal remedy that works especially well against tinea. It can be used to soak items, such as towels, linen, socks and jocks, before putting them through the wash to kill any fungi nestling in the fabric. It can also be applied directly on the skin or nails using a cotton bud, cotton pad or tissue after a shower when the area is clean and dry.
** It’s important to remember to avoid contaminating the bottle of tea tree oil, so remember: if you need to dip your cotton bud back into the bottle, be sure to use a new one.
In areas where perspiration is particularly bad, and you don’t (or can’t) use antiperspirants, combining tea tree oil with witch hazel and wiping that onto the area daily (perhaps even twice daily to start) will help dry the area out and kill off the fungi.
A nice little recipe to use is:
½ cup of witch hazel
20 drops of tea tree oil
Mix together and apply with a cotton pad.