Various types of fungal infections can be caused by different types of fungi. All of them, however, commonly cause an annoying itch on the skin.
These fungi normally invade and breed on dead skin cells. They feed on keratin, a protein found on the skin, hair, and nails. Various types of fungal infection are identified based on the kind of fungus.
1. Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis)
Clinical evidence indicates that about 15% to 25% of the world population is likely to have athlete’s foot at any one time. This skin condition is caused by a fungus that multiplies in warm, damp areas of skin, like those between your toes. This condition makes the skin to feel itchy, flaky, and have a reddish color. When the infection sets in, the soles of the feet can also become dry and scaly. Blisters may also be present as well.
Athlete’s foot can easily be picked up if you are fond of walking barefoot on damp or contaminated floors like on communal shower areas, swimming pools, and saunas. It is also possible that the infection may spread to other parts of your body if you won’t wash or forgot to wash your hands after you touch your feet.
2. Nail infections (Tinea unguium)
This kind of fungal infection usually begins at the edge of the nail and spreads slowly down to its base. It takes a while before that happens, however. When fungi begin to set in, they can cause your nail to discolor, become brittle, and crumbly. Surrounding tissues on the nails may also get thicker. If they are not treated, your nails may become so thick that will just be painful to wear shoes. Reports indicate that toenails are usually affected more than fingernails.
a. Ringworm found on your body is also clinically called Tinea corporis
This condition normally affects the parts of the body that are exposed. They can easily be found on your arms, legs or face. If you have them, you will see a reddish ring-shaped rash on the affected area.
This skin infection can easily spread with close contact. Touching someone who already has ringworm, touching contaminated items like clothing or bedding will cause you to catch the fungus. Farm animals like sheep and cattle that carry the fungi, as well as domesticated pets like cats and dogs, can also transfer the fungi directly on your body.
b. Ringworm in the groin (Tinea cruris)
This condition is also called ‘jock itch’ because it usually affects younger men. At this stage, the scrotum and the thigh are closer together. This creates conditions where these fungi can thrive. Women who are fond of wearing tight clothes can also develop this fungal skin condition. Like all other fungal infection, the part of the skin that has been affected is itchy, has a red rash in your groin and around the top of the legs.
Ringworm in the groin can also spread with close contact. It can also be passed on in the same manner. That means you may develop a ringworm in the groin if you have an athletes foot if you forgot or do not wash your hands after touching your foot.
c. Ringworm on your scalp (Tinea capitis)
Experts have noted that children are those who are most frequently affected by this fungal skin infection. Those who develop this condition will notice similar symptoms as that of a ringworm in your groin. The body and the scalp will also look scaly and will be itchy. Some have also developed a pus-filled area on the scalp, known as a ‘kerion’. Many who have developed this kind of skin fungal infection may observe the hair within the area falling out leaving bald portions on the head. The hair normally grows back once the infection is treated effectively.
Sharing a contaminated hairbrush or clothes used by anyone who has developed the infection may cause you to catch the infection as well.
Intertrigo is a fungal skin infection caused by yeast. This can develop on the folds of the skin, like on the abdomen in persons who are overweight. This condition is normally caused by the yeast known as Candida Albicans. If the infection affects an area of your skin that presses or rubs together, it may cause chaffing. You will notice your skin turning reddish or brownish if you have this fungal skin infection. Moisture within the affected area will cause the infection to disintegrate.
5. Pityriasis versicolor (Tinea versicolor)
This skin infection is caused by another type of yeast called Malassezia. It usually affects male young adults. This condition will cause you to have patches of skin that are scaly, mildly itchy, and discoloured. They are usually pinkish or brownish in color. They may not be as noticeable on people with dark skin tone.
6. Thrush (Candida albicans)
This is a common fungus that usually thrives inside the mouth, stomach, skin, and the female private part. A thrush infection is characterized by small white or red patches. If the infection grows in the female area, it can be itchy and cause white discharge.
They are not usually a cause of concern, except when they have already multiplied and have caused symptoms of thrush.
These conditions will encourage the growth of C. Albicans: tight clothes, weak immune system, antibiotics, improper hygiene.
This infection can also grow inside your mouth. This is a common condition in babies and elderly people. They look like white patches, but when you rub them off you will see red marks instead. Having oral thrush can make eating and drinking quite difficult.
Prevention of fungal skin infections
Eliminate, if not lessen, the possibility of developing any of these fungal skin infections when you regularly do the following:
- Make sure that your skin is completely dry every time you have a bath or shower.
- Wear thoroughly clean clothes.
- Make that your bedding is regularly and thoroughly washed.
- Always keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear clean slippers when in communal areas.
- Wear loose-fitting garments that are made of breathable material.
- Observe proper hygiene.
Keep watch of what you do, where you go, and what you take in. This will ensure that everything that touches your skin or enters your system is safe enough for you to be free from any of these skin fungal infections.