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Fungal Nail and Skin Infections (tinea, ringworm)

Microscopic-sized organisms called fungi or fungus are all around us. They normally live on our skin without causing problems. In some instances they grow out of control and cause fungal infections of the skin, hair, and nails.

The Fungus Nail and Skin Infections Treatment Center in New York, NY is opened 7 days a week for treatment.

Fungal skin infections are very common, especially among children, but they may affect people of all ages. They can appear anywhere on the body and lead to a variety of symptoms depending on the type and location of fungi.

The symptoms of fungal skin infections include:

  • Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply-defined edges. They are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. This may create the appearance of a ring. Your skin may also appear unusually dark or light.
  • If your scalp or beard is infected, you may develop bald patches.
  • If nails are infected, they can become discolored and thick.

How Are Fungal or Fungus Infections Diagnosed?  

Your physician will diagnose a fungal infection primarily based on the appearance of the skin.

Another test is a Wood’s lamp that makes some fungi appear fluorescent under its blue light. The skin may also be scraped to obtain cells for examination under a microscope. Sometimes it is necessary to scrap or swab the skin for a “culture” that is sent to a lab for identification.

What Are the Different Types of Fungal or Fungus Infections?

Some fungal infections are given unique names for their location or type of fungi involved:

Ringworm. Fungal or Fungus infections on the body (tinea corporis) or scalp (tinea capitis) are sometimes referred to as “ringworm.” This is because the rash sometimes appears as a ring, or partial ring. This is a confusing and unnecessarily alarming name because the rash is not caused by a worm. Tinea capitis can lead to hair loss. 

Ringworm (tinea corporis)


Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the feet and is very common between the toes. Feet that remain in shoes all day retain warmth and moisture, which promote the growth of fungi.

Athlete's foot infection (tinea pedis)


Onychomycosis (tinea unguium) refers to a fungal infection of the toenail or fingernail.

Toenail infection (onychomycosis)


Tinea versicolor is a common and harmless fungal infection caused by Pityriasis versicolor. It appears on the back, chest, neck, and upper arms as light-colored patches of discolored skin.

Tinea versicolor


Tinea nigra is a fungal infection caused by specific type of fungi (exophiala phaeoannellomyces) found in the soil of tropical regions. The infection generally occurs in individuals prone to excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). It appears as slowly expanding brown or black patches on the skin of the palms and/or soles. 

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a fungal infection of the genital area. 

How Are Fungal Infections Treated?

Ringworm (tinea corporis), jock itch (tinea cruris), athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), and tinea versicolor can usually be treated effectively with topical antifungal medications.

Tinea capitis often requires the use of an oral antifungal agent, such as griseofulvin, because the fungi can reside deep in the hair follicles.

Similarly, nail infections where the fungi have penetrated the nail bed may require an oral antifungal, though some specially formulated topical antifungals might be tried first.

The latest weapon against fungal nail or Onychomycosis is laser. This treatment was started being utilized in 2008. A toenail fungus laser works by shining a focused beam of light in a narrow range, more commonly known as a laser, into a toenail infected with fungus (onychomycosis). The laser penetrates the toenail and vaporizes fungus embedded in the nail bed and nail plate where toenail fungus exists. The toenail fungus targeted laser is tuned to a specific frequency that affects cells that are responsible for infection.

Laser treatments for nail fungus have become fairly common since the procedure was approved by the Food and Drug Administration four years ago. Several kinds of laser therapies are now available, but there is limited evidence that the treatments work.

One of the studies published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that laser treatments produced no improvements in patients with toenail fungus, even after five sessions.

It is vital to undergo a full pre assessment to ensure that your skin type is fully assessed and to be  accurate about your medical history. This particular procedure might not be the right treatment for you.  It is crucial that the Doctor does a full History and Physical Examination and listens to your concerns.  It very important to understand the individual needs of each patient because one procedure could work on one patient and then not another.

Tinea nigra generally responds well to topical antifungal agents and peeling agents such as salicylic acid or topical retinoids.

The paper-thin patches of fungal overgrowth found with tinea versicolor can be treated effectively with topical antifungal solutions.

What Should I Expect from Treatment?

Topical medications applied to the skin are usually effective at treating fungal infections within 4 weeks. If your infection is severe or resistant (meaning that it does not respond well to self-care), it will usually respond quickly to antifungal pills.

How Can I Prevent a Fungal Infection?

Fungal infections on the skin are contagious. They can be passed from one person to the next by direct skin-to-skin contact or by contact with contaminated items such as combs, unwashed clothing, and shower or pool surfaces. You can also catch ringworm from pets that carry the fungus. Cats are common carriers.

Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. Infections are more likely when you have frequent wetness (such as from sweating) and minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.

To prevent fungal infections:

  • Keep your skin and feet clean and dry.
  • Shampoo regularly, especially after haircuts.
  • Do not share clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, headgear, or other personal care items. Such items should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use.
  • Wear sandals or shoes at gyms, lockers, and pools.
  • Avoid touching pets with bald spots. Wash your hands if you pet a stray animal.

Reference: Centers for Disease Control

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.


New York Dermatology by Board Certified  Dermatologist Dr. Gary Rothfeld  is a board certified NYC  Dermatologist with a  New York City office in Manhattan, New York  providing expert skin care, dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology services.  A Park Avenue practice with an international reputation in general, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology.

Dr Gary sees every patient himself and  believes in personalized care. The Doctor does not employ any physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or other physician substitutes to do his treatment. He sees every patient himself at every visit.

A significant percentage of my  Dermatology Conditions are diagnosed  on listening to medical history of the patient alone, a further percentage on examination and the remainder on further investigation and my patients teach me the rest. It is clear to me that history and examination skills remain at the very core of my dermatology practice. Older Dermatologists like myself rely on history and physical to a greater degree than the younger dermatologists.  I think that the pendulum has swung too far towards all these cosmetic procedures where the younger dermatologists are just doing cosmetic procedures and not listening to their patients.  This is an important point because if the Dermatologist does not spend enough time with the patient the cosmetic procedures will not work.



Dr. Rothfeld, recognized by the by the entertainment industry of America as one of the best dermatologists in Manhattan, has organized a comprehensive skin care center offering personalized state of the art services including medical,pediatric, and cosmetic dermatology. 

New York Dermatology serves the following neighborhoods within New York (NY), which are in close proximity to our office:
Upper East Side Dermatology, Fifth Avenue Dermatology, Park Avenue Dermatology, Madison Avenue Dermatology, Upper West Side Dermatology, Midtown Dermatology, Lower East Side Dermatology,Chelsea Dermatology, Gramercy Park Dermatology, Murray Hill Dermatology,  Greenwich Village Dermatology, East Village Dermatology, West Village Dermatology, Soho Dermatology, Tribeca Dermatology, Meat Packing District Dermatology, Sutton Place Dermatology, Wall Street Dermatology, Hells Kitchen Dermatology, and the burroughs of Brooklyn Dermatology , Bronx Dermatology, Queens Dermatology and Staten Island Dermatology.
Dr. Gary Rothfeld is recognized as one of the best Dermatologist in New York, NY, Manhattan, NYC, New York City and the nation by the entertainment industry in the United States of America. At New York Dermatology headed by board certified Dermatologist Dr. Rothfeld, sees patients  7 days a week including Saturday and Sunday.

                  We accept all credit cards  as well as debit cards for payment of services.

Open 7 Days A Week — Se Habla Español

 New York Dermatology
Board Certified Dermatologist 
30 E. 60th St. Ste. 805 (Park Avenue)
New York, NY 10022

212.644.6454