Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can you have ringworm on your scalp?"

ZocdocAnswersCan you have ringworm on your scalp?


My scalp has gotten really itchy the last two weeks or so. Someone mentioned that it could be ringworm. Can you get that on your scalp? What does it look like? I don?t know if I can tell what it is through my hair.


Ringworm refers to a collection of fungal infections that can infect different parts of the skin: the scalp (ie, tinea capitis), the body (tinea corporis), the groin (so-called jock itch), and the feet (commonly called athlete's foot). Ringworm infection of the scalp usually manifests as a scalp, red, itching rash that can lead to hair loss, typically in a circular pattern. When scalp infection does occur, it almost always happens in children, and only rarely affects adults. While an itchy scalp may be due to ringworm, you should also consider seborrheic dermatitis (ie, dandruff) which usually manifests as an itchy, flaking scalp. However, this does not cause hair loss in the same way that ringworm does. If you think that this may be the cause of your symptoms, you should try using a specific anti-dandruff shampoo that you can buy over the counter (such as Head and Shoulders). If you are concerned that you may have ringworm of the scalp, it is advised that you see your primary care doctor. A thorough exam should reveal the diagnosis, and if confirmed, antifungal treatment with daily oral medication will need to be prescribed in order to fully eradicate the infection.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.