What Are the Symptoms of Ringworm?

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on September 18, 2023
1 min read

You can get a ringworm infection on your skin or scalp. If it’s on your skin, the first thing you’ll probably notice is a flat, scaly area. The edges of it will be slightly raised and may be bumpy. It’ll look a lot like a ring or poorly drawn circle. The skin inside the ring might be clear, scaly, or dotted with red bumps. It probably will itch a lot.

If the ringworm is on your scalp, parts of it will feel tender or painful. Your hair might be brittle and fall out easily. You’ll also have round, scaly patches of skin where your hair has broken off. The patches may be red. They might also grow bigger over time.

If the ringworm is on your skin and you’ve used an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medication for 2 weeks with no improvement, see your doctor. They can give you a prescription for something stronger.

If it’s on your scalp, OTC treatments won’t work. Make an appointment so your doctor can give you a prescription medication that you can take by mouth.
There are a number of conditions that look like scalp ringworm but aren’t. If you’ve got an itchy, scaly scalp and you’re losing hair, have your doctor check it out. They’ll find out what’s behind it and find the right treatment.