Skip to content

    Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard - Topic Overview

    (continued)

    How is ringworm of the scalp or beard diagnosed?

    Your doctor may be able to diagnose ringworm just by how the rash looks. To check for the ringworm fungus, your doctor may look at a hair or skin sample under a microscope. This test is called a KOH preparation.

    If it's not clear that you have ringworm, or if the treatment isn't working, your doctor may do a skin culture to find out what kind of germ is causing the problem.

    How is it treated?

    Your doctor will prescribe pills that will kill the fungus. And you can use special shampoo that may keep ringworm from spreading to others. But you need to use the shampoo along with the pills. By itself, the shampoo can't completely destroy the fungi causing the infection.

    Depending on the medicine you take:

    • Your doctor may want to check your blood work during treatment. These tests are to make sure that the medicine isn't affecting your blood counts or your liver or kidney function.
    • You may need to take antifungal pills for as few as 4 weeks or as long as 12 weeks. Be sure to take the full course of your medicine.

    If you treat ringworm early, the hair in the bald spots will probably grow back. If you don't treat it, the bald spots could be permanent.

    If your child gets ringworm, ask the school nurse or local health department how long your child needs to stay out of school. Usually children can go to school after they have started treatment with antifungal medicine. You don't need to shave your child's head.

    How can you keep ringworm from coming back?

    Ringworm of the scalp or beard can come back after treatment has cleared the infection. To help prevent it from coming back:

    • Throw away your combs and brushes and buy new ones as soon as you start treatment.
    • Wash your hair or beard once a month with a shampoo that contains selenium sulfide (such as Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders Intensive Treatment).
    • Don't share hats, combs, brushes, or towels with others.
    • Wash your clothes, towels, and bed sheets in hot water.
    • Keep your skin clean and dry.
    1 | 2
    1 | 2

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 25, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz