Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard - Medications
Antifungal medicine (pills or liquid) and
shampoo used together are most effective in curing
ringworm of the scalp and beard.
Depending on the medicine, antifungal pills are taken for as few as 4
weeks or as long as 12 weeks.
Antifungal shampoo is not effective
when used alone to treat ringworm of the scalp or beard, because it cannot
penetrate into infected hairs and destroy the fungi present there.
Sometimes other infections occur when a person has ringworm, usually
because bacteria have entered the body through the ringworm sores or rash. If
needed, you can use other medicines, such as
antibiotics, along with antifungals to treat these
secondary bacterial infections.
Swollen areas and bumps that look
like blisters and have pus (kerions) are caused by an allergic reaction to
fungus. You can treat kerions with a combination of oral antifungal medicine
corticosteroid (usually oral), such as
To help prevent ringworm from developing after
exposure to the fungus, you can use antifungal shampoo every 2 days for about a
The most common antifungals you can use to treat ringworm
of the scalp or beard include:
Antifungal shampoos are available by prescription and as over-the-counter products. Both kinds may contain active ingredients like ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. Prescription shampoos often contain a larger amount of these medicines, or they may contain povidone.
What to think about
People who are taking antifungal pills should have a doctor monitor their blood counts and liver and kidney function
during treatment to watch for any adverse side effects.