Contrary to its name, ringworms aren’t caused by worms at all. The infection gets its name from the red, raised ring brought on by exposure to one of three different kinds of fungus. The patches typically appear on the part of the body that was affected by the fungus, but, untreated, can spread to other body parts, like the scalp, hands and feet, groin, and face — and can be itchy, scaly, and a downright pest.
Luckily, some natural remedies for getting rid of ringworm are all you need to keep your family and pets clear of the irritating fungus.
1. Essential Oils Can Be Essential
Tea tree oil, long recognized as one of the top antiseptic and antifungal essential oils available, is the first pick at the Fit Indian as a natural remedy for getting rid of ringworm. If you want to use tea tree oil to treat your case of ringworm, start by soaking a cotton ball in tea tree oil, but make sure to ring out the extra oil. Use the cotton ball to apply the essential oil to the affected area three times each day. To get the best results, warm the oil up to body temperature. Be patient, and you could see an improvement in a few days; continued use can help you completely get rid of the infection.
2. An Apple a Day
Or, in this case, a dose of apple cider vinegar a day can help keep ringworm at bay. Just like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar is rich in anti-fungal properties. Look for organic apple cider vinegar that includes the mother, or the part of the vinegar responsible for the fermentation process. According to Medical Daily, you’ll want to use undiluted apple cider vinegar. The use is very similar to tea tree oil, as well — soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar, ring out the excess, and apply to the affected area several times a day until the patches are completely gone, meaning you’ve eliminated the infection.
3. Go Garlic
Garlic regularly makes the top of the list for natural remedies because of two powerful compounds — allicin and ajoene. Allicin is the primary component in making garlic a strong antibacterial agent, and it also has many antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. Ajoene is an antiviral and antifungal agent in garlic that can reduce inflammation and clear up infections. As a natural remedy for getting rid of ringworm, garlic is extremely effective. Crush fresh garlic and create a paste by adding in some olive oil. Apply the paste to the infected spots, cover them with gauze for two hours, and then rinse. Doing this three times a day for about three weeks will help to clear up the infection.
4. If All Else Fails…
Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler notes that, in her experience, “home remedies cannot cure ringworm.” She notes it can be treated topically, with an antifungal cream that can clear the infection in about two weeks, or systemically, with an antifungal tablet. Topical applications work best when the ringworm and fungal infection affect the groin or skin, and one source says that while there is no evidence that one cream is better than another, any prescription or steroid prescribed will take about seven days to treat the infection. Infections that affect the nails or scalp typically require an oral medication, which can take about three months to completely treat and clear the infection.
5. Prevention is the Best Medicine
Ringworm has different names depending on where the body is infected: athlete’s foot and jock itch are two of the most common infections resulting from the fungus. Just because the infection has cleared up doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible, and people who use public showers and locker rooms, athletes, and people who work with animals are typically at a higher risk for infection.
The best way to prevent ringworm is to keep your skin dry and clean. Avoid walking barefoot in public rooms, practice proper personal hygiene, and make sure that all linens, towels, and clothing used by an individual with ringworm aren’t shared. Since the infection can be spread to humans from animals, make sure that if your pet has an infection, you regularly wash your hands, wear gloves and long sleeves, and vacuum and disinfect regularly to remove infected flakes of skin or fur.
I hope this list will help you to treat and prevent ringworm recurrences in your household! I know how much it can cause stress and pain, and wanted to make sure that I shared with you what I’ve found to be the best possible ways to get rid of ringworm. Let me know what you thought in the comments below, and if you know someone who might benefit, feel free to share the article!