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Ringworm is a common fungal infection that causes an itchy rash on the skin. (1) It is characterized by ring-shaped circular rashes that appear pink or red.
It is a contagious disease that spreads via direct contact with an infected person or using the sheets, towels, combs, etc., of an infected person. (2) It is also spread through pets.
Home Remedies for Ringworm of the Body
If you suspect you have ringworm, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. You may need medical treatment to get rid of it.
In the meantime, these simple home remedies can help alleviate your symptoms. They can also speed up the recovery time as fungal infections can sometimes take weeks to heal completely.
1. Dab tea tree oil on the affected area
Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is especially helpful against fungal pathogens.
A recent study published in a leading dermatology journal stated that 50% tea tree oil is as effective as 1% topical clotrimazole (a widely used antifungal drug) in treating ringworm. (3)
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil, and apply it to the rash twice a day. This remedy can help relieve itching and irritation. (4)
2. Apply garlic
Garlic contains allicin, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal qualities. In fact, garlic can help kill the fungus completely.
You can make a paste of 2–3 garlic cloves, mix it with coconut oil, and apply it to the affected area. Alternatively, you can mix garlic oil with coconut oil and use it. (5)
3. Massage with coconut oil
Coconut oil is used as a remedy for several skin issues – from dry skin and dandruff to skin infections. Research suggests that virgin coconut oil can be a good alternative to topical antifungal drugs for mild fungal infections. (6)
You can warm up some coconut oil and apply it directly to the rash for quick relief.
4. Drink raw honey
Honey has potent antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities. It discourages fungal growth and has been found to cure jock itch (along with corticosteroids) in some studies. It also helps relieve itching and inflammation. (7)(8)
You can mix a teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it on an empty stomach.
5. Apply turmeric paste
Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities. It relieves skin irritation and can help stop the growth of fungi to cure ringworm.
You can make a turmeric paste by mixing turmeric powder with a teaspoon of coconut oil, apply the paste to the area, and wash it off after 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use store-bought turmeric paste. (9)
6. Use licorice
Licorice is another potential natural cure for ringworm. It has antimicrobial qualities and can help provide relief from skin irritation.
Mix 8–10 teaspoons of licorice powder in a cup of water and boil it until it thickens. After cooling, apply it to the affected area. Wash it off after 10–15 minutes. (10)
Precautions to Consider
Here are some risk factors associated with a few popular remedies:
- Apple cider vinegar is sometimes touted as a remedy for fungal infections. However, it can burn your skin, so do not attempt to use it topically.
- Colloidal silver is another remedy that can have potentially serious side effects. Do not use it without consulting your doctor.
- Do not use these remedies on your pets as they can be harmful to animals. It is better to take them to a vet.
How to Prevent Ringworm
Ringworm is highly contagious. Yet, here are a few methods you can try to prevent infections:
- Do not wear skin-tight clothing often.
- Avoid warm or heavy clothing in a hot or humid climate.
- Wear well-fitting and comfortable shoes.
- Keep your fingernails and toenails short and clean.
- Maintain proper hygiene and shower regularly, especially after a workout.
- Change your innerwear every day.
- Do not share personal items such as hairbrushes, towels, and pillows with anyone. (11)
These are some common and simple home remedies you can use to treat ringworm at home. However, if you do not feel better even after a week or two, it is best to consult your doctor.