Ringworm June 27, 2016 09:00

Although their names — ringworm, jock itch, and athlete's foot — may sound funny, if you're a teen with one of these skin infections, you're probably not laughing. If you've ever had one, you know that all of these can produce some pretty unpleasant symptoms.

The good news is that tinea, the name for this category of common skin infections, is generally easy to treat.

The Basics on Tinea Infections

Tinea (pronounced: TIH-nee-uh) is the medical name for a group of related skin infections, including athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm. They're caused by several types of mold-like fungi calleddermatophytes (pronounced: der-MAH-tuh-fites) that live on the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and nails.

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm, which isn't a worm at all, can affect not only the skin, but also the nails and scalp.

Ringworm of the skin starts as a red, scaly patch or bump. Ringworm tends to be very itchy and uncomfortable. Over time, it may begin to look like a ring or a series of rings with raised, bumpy, scaly borders (the center is often clear). This ring pattern gave ringworm its name, but not every person who's infected develops the rings.