Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Hair Grooming Not Linked to Ringworm


    WebMD Health News

    July 30, 2001 -- When it comes to their children's hair, parents get freaked out over ringworm as much as head lice. Some researchers have suspected that certain hair grooming practices may influence whether or not a child develops the feared fungal infection, known as tinea capitis. But a new study throws cold water on that theory.

    "Essentially, tinea capitisis becoming an epidemic in the country," says study co-author Nanette Silverberg, MD. She tells WebMD that there has been close to a 300% increase in the number of cases in black children in the past 10 years. Silverberg, who is the director of pediatric dermatology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, adds that cases among other minority groups have also increased, but not as much.

    Because of this increase, researchers decided to study the hair care practices of minority children. "They clearly have different hair-care practices," says Silverberg.

    Silverberg and colleagues sampled 66 children with ringworm who were 12 and younger. They compared the participants to 68 children of the same age without ringworm. The children were recruited from three different cities. Nearly all of the children were black.

    The children were all checked for ringworm. Their parents completed a survey on hair care practices, including frequency of shampooing; the use of conditioners, straighteners, oils, curlers, combs, and brushes; their type of hairstyle; and whether or not they shared hair utensils. They were also asked about their family's ringworm history.

    The researchers found that children with a known exposure to the fungus, and children with a history of it, were both more likely to develop ringworm.

    "Interestingly we didn't find any particular hairstyling technique, frequency of washing, or use of oils or grease affected whether a child got tinea capitisor not," says Silverberg. "The one difference that we found was that the use of conditioners seems to be somewhat protective against the development of tinea capitis."

    Why is there such an increase of ringworm?

    Silverberg says the organism that causes most cases of ringworm today, called Trichophyton tonsurans, is spread from human to human, as opposed to being passed animal-to-human, like the culprit 20 years ago. There is less swelling and pus, so many people can walk around for months unaware that they have it -- and they are spreading it.

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article