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Beard Ringworm (Tinea Barbae)

(Barber's Itch)

By

Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Sep 2021
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Beard ringworm is a dermatophyte (fungal) infection, generally of the beard area.

Tinea barbae usually causes superficial, circular patches, but deeper infection may occur. An inflamed kerion Kerion Scalp ringworm is a dermatophyte (fungal) infection of the scalp. Symptoms of tinea capitis include a dry patch of scale, a patch of hair loss, or both on the scalp. Doctors base the diagnosis... read more Kerion (a swollen patch generally on the scalp that sometimes oozes pus) may also develop, which can result in scarring and whisker loss. Tinea barbae is rare. Most skin infections in the beard area are caused by bacteria, not fungi.

Doctors diagnose tinea barbae by examining plucked hairs under a microscope or by doing a culture Culture Doctors can identify many skin disorders simply by looking at the skin. A full skin examination includes examination of the scalp, nails, and mucous membranes. Sometimes the doctor uses a hand-held... read more Culture (the process of growing an organism in a laboratory for identification) or biopsy.

Treatment of Beard Ringworm

  • Antifungal drugs taken by mouth

  • Sometimes a corticosteroid

Treatment of tinea barbae is with an antifungal drug, such as griseofulvin, terbinafine, or itraconazole, taken by mouth.

If the area is severely inflamed, doctors may add a corticosteroid such as prednisone taken by mouth to lessen symptoms and perhaps reduce the chance of scarring.

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