Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Ringworm of the Scalp

Ringworm of the Scalp

Condition Basics

What is ringworm of the scalp?

Ringworm of the scalp is an infection that grows in the outer layer of the scalp and in the hair. The condition is caused by a fungus, not a worm.

What are the symptoms?

The condition often looks like round, bald patches. In most cases, the infection spreads outward while the inside of the circle clears up. This makes the infection look like a ring. It may also look like dandruff, patches of black dots, or small bumps that look like blisters. It can also be itchy.

How is it spread?

The fungus that causes ringworm of the scalp spreads from person to person. You can get ringworm by sharing hats, combs, brushes, towels, pillowcases, or helmets. Rarely, it can spread from a dog or cat to a person.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will look at the rash and ask you about your symptoms. Your doctor may take a sample of your hair or skin to look at under a microscope. If it's not clear what's causing your rash, your doctor may do a skin culture.

How is ringworm of the scalp treated?

The condition is treated with pills and special shampoo. They are used together to treat ringworm of the scalp. If treated, hair in the bald spots usually grows back. A follow-up exam is needed to make sure the infection has cleared.

How can you help prevent it from coming back or spreading?

  • As soon as you start treatment, replace your combs and brushes. Or you can clean them after each use with diluted household bleach. To dilute household bleach, follow the directions on the label.
  • Don't share hats, helmets, or other objects that are used for the head or hair. Ringworm-causing fungus can live on objects, people, or animals for several months.
  • Wash your hands well after caring for someone with ringworm. Adults who have contact with a child with ringworm of the scalp can become a carrier. A carrier does not have a ringworm infection but can pass it to others. Sometimes all caregivers are treated with a special shampoo.
  • Wash your clothes, towels, and bed sheets in hot, soapy water.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Ringworm of the Skin Athlete's Foot Fungal Nail Infections

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

The Cigna Group Information

About Cigna Healthcare Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers The Cigna Group Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap Cookie Settings

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details