How To Cure Ringworm Fast

Borax and bleach can be purchased from a grocery store, and they also kill fungal spores. Follow the directions on the package.

Home Remedies for Ringworm

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Despite its name, ringworm isn’t actually caused by a worm or any type of living parasite. Instead, it’s a skin condition that’s caused by a type of fungus called tinea. It lives on the dead tissues of skin, including your nails and hair.

Ringworm causes a red, scaly, itchy patch on your skin. Over time, it takes the shape of a circle or a ring (or several rings). This is where the name “ringworm” comes from.

You can get ringworm on your skin and nails. It’s most common on the arms and the scalp, but you can get it anywhere on your skin, including your face. If ringworm develops in different areas, it may be called by a different name. For example, when it affects the groin area, it’s referred to as jock itch. When it affects the area between your toes, it’s called athlete’s foot.

Fortunately, ringworm can respond well to home treatments.

A note about essential oils

Several essential oils, listed below, can help treat ringworm. When using essential oils, test that you’re not allergic to them first. Dilute the essential oil by adding three to five drops per ounce of a carrier oil such as olive or mineral oil. Then, rub it onto healthy skin in an area the size of a dime. If you have no reaction in 12 to 24 hours, it should be safe to use on your infection.

When you have ringworm, you need to keep the area as clean as possible. This helps prevent the further spread of the rash and helps keep the affected area under control.

Wash the affected area with water and antibacterial soap daily before applying other home remedies on top of it. Dry the area thoroughly after showering, as moisture makes it easier for the fungus to spread.

Pine and coal-tar soap are older home remedies that might be an option, but they can be irritating to sensitive skin.

Apple cider vinegar has strong antifungal properties, so it may help treat ringworm when applied topically to the affected area. To use it, soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and brush the cotton ball over your skin. Do this three times per day.

Native Australians conventionally used tea tree oil as an antifungal and antibacterial, and it’s used today for the same purposes. It can be extremely effective in treating fungal skin infections.

Apply tea tree oil directly to the affected area two or three times per day with a cotton ball or swab. If you have sensitive skin, it may be helpful to dilute the tea tree oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil, which has its own antifungal benefits.

Coconut oil has both microbial and antifungal properties that can help treat ringworm infections. It’s an extremely effective topical home remedy for ringworm and infections with other fungi, like candida. Because it’s easy to apply to the scalp and an effective hair conditioner, coconut oil could be an ideal treatment for scalp ringworm.

To use it, warm the coconut oil either in the microwave or in your hand until it becomes liquid, then apply it directly to the affected area. It will absorb into the skin quickly. Apply it at least three times daily.

Turmeric has numerous health benefits, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also an effective antifungal that inhibits growth.

Combine fresh-ground turmeric, or the turmeric spice, with a small amount of water and mix until it becomes a paste. Apply it to your skin and leave it on until it dries. You can also drink turmeric water or turmeric tea daily to get the internal benefits.

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Aloe vera has long been used as a natural remedy for both bacterial and fungal infections, and ringworm is no exception. Aloe vera can treat the ringworm and may soothe symptoms of itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort. You can find ointments with aloe vera or apply aloe vera gel directly to the area. Do this at least three times daily.

Oregano essential oil may be a more powerful antifungal than other commercial products that are available, and can inhibit and treat fungal skin infections, including athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Oregano oil is an extract that you can purchase online or at stores like GNC. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil, and apply it to the affected area three times per day.

Lemongrass oil extract, and to a slightly lesser extent lemongrass tea, both have antifungal properties that can be helpful in treating fungal skin infections like ringworm.

To use lemongrass oil, mix a few drops of lemongrass oil with a carrier oil. Apply it directly to the skin twice per day. You can also apply a brewed tea bag directly to the ringworm.

Licorice has strong antimicrobial properties, and research has found that the extracts of licorice could be used as alterative treatment for fungal infections.

Mix eight teaspoons of powdered licorice with a cup of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Stir until it makes a paste. When the mixture is cool enough to touch, apply the paste to the affected area twice daily. Leave it on for at least ten minutes.

While all-natural ingredients are great, sometimes you need something a little stronger. OTC antifungal topical remedies are available and effective for mild cases of ringworm. Look for the active ingredients clotrimazole and terbinafine. You can apply these ointments twice per day.

You should see your doctor if your symptoms don’t clear up or don’t respond to treatment within two weeks. You should also go to the doctor if you’re in a position that could likely spread it to others, such as if you’re a teacher.

In some cases, ringworm won’t respond to home remedies or OTC treatments. Your doctor will write you a prescription for an antifungal topical ointment or an oral medication.

Ringworm is highly contagious. While it’s most commonly spread from skin-to-skin contact, you can also catch it from touching something that someone with ringworm touched.

To prevent ringworm, you should keep your skin clean and dry. Immediately after the gym or shower, put on clean, dry clothes. Avoid physical contact with someone who has ringworm. You should always wear shoes, like flip-flops, in public showers.

Most cases of ringworm clear up within two weeks.

Last medically reviewed on August 22, 2017

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Bona de Silva C, et al. (2008). Antifungal activity of the lemongrass oil and citral against Candida spp. DOI:
    dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-86702008000100014
  • Cooley J. (2017). 5 amazing oregano oil benefits.
    universityhealthnews.com/daily/eyes-ears-nose-throat/your-number-one-home-remedy-oregano-oil-benefits-uses/
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Ringworm.
    mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ringworm-body/home/ovc-20232303
  • Moghadamtousi S, et al. (2014). A review on antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity of curcumin. DOI:
    10.1111/jopr.12207
  • Mota AC, et al. (2014). Antifungal activity of apple cider vinegar on Candida species involved in denture stomatitis. DOI:
    10.1111/jopr.12207
  • Pazyar N, et al. (2012). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. DOI:
    10.1111/j.1365-4632.2012.05654.x
  • Shino B, et al. (2016). comparison of antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine, coconut oil, probiotics, and ketoconazole on Candida albicans isolated in children with early childhood caries: An in vitro study. DOI:
    dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7061587
  • Surjushe A, et al. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. DOI:
    10.4103/0019-5154.44785
  • Wang L, et al. (2015). The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb. DOI:
    doi.org/10.1016/j.apsb.2015.05.005

6 ringworm treatments

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A ringworm rash can be uncomfortable, but it is common and treatable. Early intervention is critical to prevent spreading the infection to others. Here are six simple ways to treat ringworm.

Most cases of ringworm can be treated at home. Over-the-counter antifungals can kill the fungus and promote healing. Effective medications include miconazole (Cruex), clotrimazole (Desenex) and terbinafine (Lamisil).

After cleaning the rash, apply a thin layer of antifungal medication to the affected area 2 to 3 times per day or as directed by the package. Spread the treatment beyond the border of the rash by a couple of centimeters and allow the medication to absorb into your skin.

Shop for the following products online:

  • Antifungal cream
  • Antifungal lotion
  • Antifungal powder

It may seem logical to keep ringworm covered with a bandage to prevent spreading the infection. However, bandaging the rash locks in moisture and slows the healing process.

Instead, wear comfortable, breathable clothes to speed healing and avoid spreading the rash to other people. This includes loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts and pants.

Because ringworm is highly contagious, you should wash your sheets daily to get rid of the infection faster. Fungal spores can transfer to your sheets and comforter. If you sleep on the same sheets night after night, it can take longer for ringworm to heal, and the infection can spread to other parts of your body. Contaminated bedding can also infect your partner.

Use hot water and detergent when washing bedding and any infected clothes. Hot water alone can kill the fungus. As an extra precaution, add borax or bleach to your wash along with regular laundry detergent.

Borax and bleach can be purchased from a grocery store, and they also kill fungal spores. Follow the directions on the package.

Shop for borax and bleach online.

If ringworm develops on your feet or groin area, keep these areas dry. If you sweat a lot during the day, bathe with an antifungal cleansing bar and then reapply your antifungal powder or lotion. Make sure the area is completely dry before putting on a new pair of underwear or socks.

Sometimes, ringworm develops on the scalp. Symptoms of a scalp infection include severe itching, patches of hair loss, scalp boils, and severe dandruff. If you have ringworm on your scalp, wash your hair with an over-the-counter medicated antifungal shampoo.

These shampoos kill bacteria and fungus on the scalp and stop inflammation. You can purchase them from a grocery store or drugstore. Look for shampoos with antifungal active ingredients, such as ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and pyrithione zinc. Use shampoos according to the directions on the package.

However, be aware that scalp fungus is nearly impossible to eliminate without oral medications.

Continue treatment with an antifungal powder, cream, or shampoo until the rash completely disappears. The infection may return if you stop treatment too soon. See a doctor if the rash doesn’t go away after two weeks of home treatment. A ringworm infection that doesn’t improve or that spreads may require a prescription-strength topical cream or oral antifungal medication.

Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or see a dermatologist. Take the prescription medication as directed by your doctor. You may have to take the prescription for weeks to months, depending on the severity of the infection.

Don’t ignore ringworm. Although it’s a common skin infection, quick action is necessary to prevent spreading the fungus. You should also make sure you know how to prevent future infections. For example:

  • Don’t share personal care items, such as towels, clothes, and brushes, with others.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Learn how to recognize ringworm in people and animals.

Last medically reviewed on March 7, 2019

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Fact sheet ringworm. (2012). http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/public_health/disease_control/cd_fact_sheets/ringworm.pdf
  • Ringworm. (2005). http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/ringworm
  • Ringworm and other fungal infections. (2015). http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Ringworm/Pages/Treatment.aspx

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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