Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard
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 Reference antibiotics Opens New Window, 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 and a Reference corticosteroid Opens New Window (usually oral), such as prednisone.
To help prevent ringworm from developing after exposure to the fungus, you can use antifungal shampoo every 2 days for about a week.
The most common antifungals you can use to treat ringworm of the scalp or beard include:
- Reference Griseofulvin.
- Reference Allylamines (terbinafine).
- Reference Azoles (including itraconazole, ketoconazole, fluconazole).
Antifungal shampoos are available by prescription and as over-the-counter products. Both kinds may contain Reference active ingredients Opens New Window like selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. 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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 21, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology