Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have dandruff or is it ringworm?"
Starting getting some bad itching on my scalp. Haven't noticed any of the white flakes that people talk about when they have dandruff. Is it possible that this is ringworm? What are the other symptoms of ringworm?
I think that, based on the symptoms you are experiencing, this is likely to be dandruff. Dandruff is actually a mild form of an inflammatory condition of the scalp known as seborrheic dermatitis. It is characterized by flaking of the scalp skin and, in more severe cases, there may be itching and scaling areas of thick irritated skin under the hair. Fortunately, dandruff is easy to treat! Almost all cases respond to one of the standard dandruff shampoos, of which their are many brands that you should be able to locate in almost any pharmacy or supermarket. You should start by using the dandruff shampoo once or twice a day and letting it soak into the hair for 10 or 15 minutes before rinsing it out. Even if the standard dandruff shampoos do not work, there are still options! You will need to see your primary care doctor, who can prescribe a stronger lotion or shampoo. I don't think this is ringworm. Ringworm typically causes a very noticeable round spot on the scalp with baldness as all of the involved hairs fall out, and it doesn't sound like this is going on in your case! Nevertheless, start by seeing your doctor, who can confirm a diagnosis for you.
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