Tinea circinata

Tinea circinata

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

This is a fungal lesion of the skin that appears as a small papule, which enlarges eccentrically, where the dermatophyte consumes the keratin in the center and then moves to the periphery leaving scaly hypopigmented center and raised active edges. Tinea circinata is not a serious condition, not difficult to cure, but is a menace because it may spread to other parts of the body and be transmitted to others.

These lesions form different clinical varieties:

    Plaque type: Mainly T. Rubrum causes this where large scaly plaques appear on the glabrous skin by fusing of different lesions causing gyrate and arciform patches.

  • Crusted type: Crusted lesions covering wide areas of the skin and scalp with a mousy smell. The characteristics of this type are Scutula and heavily crusted lesions as that occurring in favus.

Tinea circinata is caused by a group of fungi known collectively as dermatophytes. The fungus that causes ringworm is spread from one person to another. The most common cause of tinea circinata is T rubrum and Microsporum canis.

Modes of Infection:

    Infected pet animals: The inflammation is transmitted from infected pets such as cat or dogs.

  • Autoinoculation from a primary fungal focuses elsewhere on the skin.

  • From infected fomites of the patients.

  • Direct infection from one patient to another.


The rash starts as tiny red pimples. The pimples spread out and form a round or oval area. The edges of the area are red, raised, or scaly. The rash usually appears on only a few places on the skin, but it may occur anywhere on the body. The rash may itch. Sometimes there are blisters, pimples, or lots of red bumps instead of scales, but they still usually occur in a circular pattern. Sometimes there is no central clearing, so the ring-shaped pattern does not occur.


Differential diagnosis may include:


  • Pityriasis rosea.

  • Parapsoriasis.

Clinical Features:

    Typical clinical picture - the fungal lesions have erythematous-raised edges and usually with a clear center.

  • Microscopic examination - examination of a smear of the scrapings from the active lesion immersed in 20 percent potassium hydroxide and 10 percent sodium sulfide solution shows the septate hyphae as round or oval in shape arranged in chains.

  • Culture: On Sabouraud`s medium - can detect the pathogenic fungal species.


Tinea circinata is contagious, it is of the greatest importance to stop its spread. All the clothing touching the diseased part, and all the towels and linens should be thoroughly sterilized and preferably used only by the infected person. Household pets, such as cats and dogs, can transfer ringworm to humans and this possible source of infection should be investigated. Painting the patches of ringworm with tincture of iodine once a day for six to eight days, or twice a day for three or four days, will often cure the condition. When this fails, consult a physician.

Physician usually treat this with a topical (placed on the skin) antifungal cream or ointment. The doctor may recommend an over-the-counter antifungal medication, such as Monistat or Lotrimin, or may recommend creams, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients, are often effective in controlling tinea circinata. Apply the topical medication on the rash daily for about 3 weeks, depending on how severe it is.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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