What is Ringworm?
Worms are not the cause of ringworm. Ringworm is a common superficial fungal skin infection. It is called ringworm because of the appearance of the rash. It is communicable from person to person contact or from animals, commonly cats and dogs, or by contaminated surfaces like damp towels or shower floors. The medical name is based on the location of the infection.
- Tinea Corporis is on the body
- Tinea Cruris is in the groin, also called -jock itchs
- Tinea Pedis is on the foot, common in athletes
- Tinea Capitis is found on the scalp
How does it look?
On the body ringworm starts like a small light red dot. As it grows into a circle or oval, the center clears and the edges appear slightly red, raised and scaly. It can remain as a single lesion or become multiple. It can itch but not always.
In the groin it generally forms fan shaped areas on the sides of the thighs. It can be quite itchy here.
On the scalp it is similar to on the body but occurs under hair. It may cause a bald spot.
Tinea on the feet often starts in between the toes. It is red and scaly and often itchy.
There are several prescription and over the counter medications to treat ringworm, however; all medications have potential side effects. Ringworm has been a common infection throughout the history of mankind. It was treated long before the advent of modern medicine.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is indigenous to Australia. The diluted oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of skin conditions. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of skin fungal infections. In addition, dermatologists recommend Tea tree oil to treat a fungal cousin of ringworm that infects the nails of fingers or toes called onychomycosis. This infection is very difficult to treat and usually requires oral anti-fungals, however; medical study suggests that Tea tree oil is effective. Apply topically several times daily.
- Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) is a tree derivative that has anti-fungal properties. When combined with lavender to add an anti-inflammatory components, fast relief is obtained while the infection is being cured. Apply topically several times daily.
- Grapefruit (Citrus paradise) is a citrus fruit from a tropical evergreen tree. Herbalists recommend making a poultice from the fruits pulp, rind and crushed seed to treat ringworm. Apply externally 2-4 times daily for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Geranium (Pelargonium spp.) is an annual or occasionally perennial flowering plant with anti-fungal actions. The oil derived from crushed flowers, leaves and stems contains several compounds including citronellol, geraniol, linalool, menthone, isomenthone, limonene and pinene effective for inflammation as well as fungi. Apply three to four times daily. Dilute for use on children.
Clear Nail Polish
Several reports suggest that applying a thin layer of clear nail polish onto the skin lesion daily can effectively inhibit its growth and provide a cure. It is important to apply the polish beyond the raised boarders to contain the fungus. Because this infection grows better if moist, be sure the area is completely dry before applying the nail polish.
There is a naturally occurring enzyme in Papaya fruit that is effective against ringworm. Slice the fruit and apply the wet inside of the fruit to the lesion several times daily. The more often you can do it, the faster it will heal.
Back to the Future: Smart medicine
Drug companies in the recent past have been able to isolate the active enzyme contained in Papaya. They have produced and marketed a FDA approved prescription ointment that is indicated to heal non-healing sores and ulcers on the body. The enzyme in the cream actually digests the dead tissue from the non-healing lesion and allows fresh new tissue to grow.
What is Colloidal Silver?
Colloidal silver is simply minute specks of the metal silver suspended in a solution. It is available over the counter in most every general store and pharmacy. It has been used as a holistic remedy for a variety of conditions throughout history by many cultures. It can be ingested but is applied topically for ringworm.
More Smart Medicine
Silver is the predominate ingredient in the most commonly prescribed burn ointment Silvadene. It is used to promote burn healing and prevent secondary infection.
Use in Ringworm
Using the colloidal silver solution in a spray bottle is easier that direct application. Cleanse the ringworm gently with mild soap and water and blot dry with a disposable towel. Dispose of the towel to prevent reinfection. Spray the entire area extending past the boarders with the colloidal silver. Allow to air dry. It can be covered lightly or left open to air. Repeat the treatment three to four times daily until resolved. Towels, washcloths, clothing and other items can be sprayed with the colloidal silver to minimize the chances of reinfection or spread to others.
Understand What Makes it Grow
Every inch of skin has normal organisms that grow on it and take up space. Ringworm is opportunistic and will take over increasing area if allowed. If the normal flora on skin exposed to the ringworm fungus is healthy and intact, the fungus cannot take hold and grow. If the skin has a small opening from a scratch, abrasion, sunburn or other reason and the fungus finds its way there, it will establish and grow.
Don’t Over Clean
Many people first reaction to a ringworm infection is to scrub the heck out of it thinking it came from being dirty. All this does is to effectively remove surrounding normal flora and give it more space to grow. Also irritating the skin increases blood supply feeding the fungus. Wash the rash gently without scrubbing and pat gently dry. Avoid harsh soaps and chemicals. A mild soap and water is enough. Never use alcohol, gasoline, turpentine or other caustic chemicals; they will only make it worse.
Keep It Dry
Fungus loves moisture. Keep the area as dry as possible. Leave the area exposed to air as much as possible. In the groin avoid tight fitting underwear. Wear absorbent material if you must wear anything and change frequently. This applies to feet also, wear cotton soaks and change them throughout the day. Keep feet dry.
Avoid using petroleum based ointments like Vaseline or triple antibiotic ointments. These trap moisture beneath and keep the fungus supplied. Steroid creams and ointments may provide temporary relief from itching but will encourage growth and spread over time.
Get a Battle Plan
Ringworm is a common infection. If it presents check your family pets and be sure they do not need treatment as well. Devise a treatment plan and stick with it. No cure either natural or prescription works overnight. Using one or more of these home remedies has been effective for many in the past and likely will be effective for you.