Hair ringworm: how to identify it and take extreme measures, in the words of experts
Ringworm capillaries is expanding in Spain. This has been exposed in the study Outbreak of dermatophytosis in the head and neck region associated with shaving in hair salons: Multicenter descriptive study of a series of casespublished in the magazine Dermo-Syphiliographic Records.
This skin rash, with a risk of proliferation, has been detected and reported by several dermatologists in the country, giving rise to a health alert. What does it consist of? How to detect it? How to take extreme measures against contagion? Several experts clear up doubts.
How is ringworm defined? How is it spread?
“Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) is an infection of fungal origin, that is, caused by fungi, in this particular case by demartophytes (fungi that feed on keratin, which is found in abundance in the stratum corneum of the scalp). skin)” explains Ana Torrens, pharmacist and scientific manager of HD Cosmetic Efficiency.
How does it affect hair and skin?
“We can see circular areas with less hair, brittle and fragile hair and patches of peeling skin,” emphasizes the expert.
“Its appearance causes a rash with scales and itching that is generally ring-shaped, but in order to distinguish it from other rashes, a scraping is generally performed or it is observed with ultraviolet light. If it is ringworm, it will shine intensely, which does not happen. with other eruptions, since the fungus is fluorescent (Wood’s lamp).
This infection is caused by dermatophyte fungi, which thrive in warm, humid areas. On the skin it causes peeling, irritation, inflammation and itching. If this infection occurs on the head or in hairy areas, it can cause hair loss but, generally, with correct treatment in the areas where baldness will occur, the hair will grow again and the skin will heal without leaving scars. ” explains Dr. Estefanía Arredondo, medical director of Olyan farm.
For what is this? Can everyone suffer from it?
“Anyone can suffer from it, since the contagion is through contact with the spores of the fungus with the scalp or hair follicles of the infecting patient, either with an infected person or some object or hygiene utensil that is infected, such as the contact with an infected pet.
In current cases, it is known that the type of fungus is trychophyton tonsurans, which corresponds to the typology in ringworm capillaries,” emphasizes the expert.
“In the case of ringworm that arises on the head, it usually affects children mainly because they play with each other or with animals. It also affects people who practice contact sports or who live in overcrowded conditions,” adds Dr. Juan Jiménez Cauhédermatologist at FEMM Clinic.
Can it affect all areas of the body?
“Yes, it can affect any part of the skin, head or nails.
In the case of ringworm capitis (tinea capitis), there has been an increase in cases associated with hairdressing salons due to the new haircut that is in fashion, shaving or fading in the entire lateral and posterior area of the head. . These young people usually go to the hairdresser several times a month to maintain this hairstyle.
The most common ringworm of the head has almost always been caused by a fungus called Microsporum canis, which is transmitted from dogs or cats. In this case, the ringworm capitis outbreak has been caused by another fungus, Trichophyton tonsurans, which is associated with this haircut due to clippers that have not been properly disinfected. A study carried out by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology states that this fungus is the most common in this type of ringworm.
This infection manifests itself differently depending on the fungus that causes it. It can cause itching, areas of inflammation on the head and pimples that can cause cases of alopecia. Sometimes serious inflammation and abscesses with pus may appear.
In mild forms it is possible to identify small patches of alopecia that may even go unnoticed. In these cases, a trichology specialist must identify them through trichoscopy,” adds the doctor.
Why is it easily spread?
“Because it is spread through direct contact, for this reason it is more common in these groups of people” explains Dr. Juan Jiménez Cauhé.
What are the symptoms?
“Normally, itching, peeling skin, circular areas of hair loss or receding hairline,” explains Ana Torrens. Dr. Estefanía Arredondo adds: “if it is in the capillary area, hair loss, sometimes suppuration may appear.”
How is it cured?
“The best cure is always prevention; maintain adequate hygiene, especially before and after each haircut, avoid contact with stray animals, avoid sharing personal hygiene items… Their ideal habitat is humidity and heat, so We must dry the skin well to prevent its spread.
As soon as we have any symptoms, we must go to a specialist doctor for an early diagnosis to facilitate specific treatment. Typically, antifungals are administered topically and/or orally and corticosteroids and specific medicated shampoos topically.
These treatments can last weeks or even months. We can complement the medical treatment with dermocosmetics formulated with active ingredients that help repair the skin barrier and calm the itching of the skin, since it can be constant and quite annoying,” explains Ana Torrens. The expert also recommends the use of products such as HD Cosmetic Efficiency Rosae Intensive Care Emulsion.
Dr. Juan Jiménez Cauhé adds in the same sense: “Ringworm does not cure itself because it is an infection that directly affects the follicle, the hair shaft. It usually requires oral treatment that usually acts over a long period of time.
These are called antifungals and, before ingesting them, it is essential to perform medical tests because they can increase cholesterol and even interfere with the performance of other pills, so it is necessary to go to a specialized doctor who will prescribe the treatment correctly.”
“At the Olyan Farma laboratory we recommend a combined treatment with our line of Oliprox products, which can even be used preventively by the contacts and cohabitants of the infected person.
It consists of Oliprox shampoo, with glycolic acid, which helps eliminate the contagious spores of the fungus; and Oliprox foam, the only product for the treatment of this type of infections with a foam galenic that ensures greater penetration of the antifungal and antibacterial active ingredients, improving the performance of the treatment by remaining in contact with the skin for longer, exerting an antifungal action. and broad spectrum antibacterial. At the same time, it controls itching and reduces skin inflammation” adds Dr. Estefanía Arredondo.
How to avoid it? How to take extreme measures?
“Usually, when it is infected by animals, it is essential to go to a veterinarian who can identify it and avoid contact with them. If the transmission occurs between people, it is advisable not to share certain objects such as combs, pillows or towels. Before going to an hairdressing salon, it is essential to make sure that they maintain the correct hygiene measures to avoid future infections” adds Dr. Juan Jiménez Cauhé.
Recommendations and measures
Given the alert, the Business Alliance for Personal Image, ANEIP, ANEPE-IMPE, FANAE, EIPEF and FEDCAT wanted to convey a message of peace of mind to clients: “From the professionals who usually serve them 99.9% scrupulously comply with hygienic-sanitary protocols. And if they occasionally detect any anomaly or distrust regarding hygiene issues, do not hesitate to tell the professional or ask them any type of question.”
They add: “Likewise, when faced with common scalp problems, we must remember that they are precisely hairdressing professionals which, on many occasions, help prevent and alert customers in the first instance referring them to specialists.
And of course, when faced with sensations at home and in everyday life such as excessive itching, considerable peeling, mild folliculitis or pimples, superficial wounds or bald spots, it must be the same clients who come and put themselves in the hands of a health professional so that it really is the one who evaluates and treats your condition, which, far from the majority, must necessarily be ringworm. Well, other common skin diseases caused by other factors can also occur.”
“Today, the vast majority of hairdressing professionals receive in their training cycles examples of how to detect and recognize the main hair anomalies suffered by clients who come to a hairdresser, and how to refer them to a medical specialist,” asserts Trino Miravete, trichologist, researcher and technical director of Jaldún Salud Capilar.
“I defend collaboration between the doctor and the hairdressing professional, Since hairdressing professionals are the first to be able to detect many of the irregularities of the scalp that would be the alarm signal of internal problems, generally with an easy solution if they are detected in time. This collaboration has undoubted advantages for the patient/client, an objective that should drive our professional actions to prevent diseases such as tinea capitis from having major consequences,” he adds.
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