No, ringworm and Candida are not the same. While they are both fungal infections, they are caused by different types of fungi.
Ringworm and Candida are not the same. While they are both fungal infections, they are caused by different types of fungi, and affect different parts of the body.

No. Ringworm is a fungal infection and Candida is a family of fungi species that cause an infection called candidiasis. Ringworm and candidiasis are both fungal infections, but they are caused by different types of fungi.

The conditions also affect different areas of the body. Ringworm is usually limited to the skin and nails while candida can also live inside the body, get into the blood, and cause a serious infection.

What is ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal skin and nail infection. It causes an itchy, red rash in the shape of a circle, as the name suggests. It is also called dermatophytosis or tinea. Ringworm can happen on lots of different parts of your body, which gives it a different name. These can include:

You can also get it on your beard, fingernails or toenails, and your arms or legs.

Over 40 different types of fungi can cause ringworm, including Microsporum, Epidermophyton, Tricophyton.

Symptoms of ringworm

Ringworm mainly causes a skin rash. It can look silver, red, or darker than the skin around it, depending on your skin color. The rash also:

  • Appears in a circle shape
  • Slowly gets biggers
  • Affects only one side of your body
  • Is raised and rough

As the rash grows, the center of it often clears so that it has a strong ring border. It can also cause peeling and cracking skin, and hair loss on an infected scalp or beard.

How to treat ringworm

You can treat most cases of ringworm with over-the-counter antifungal cream, lotion, or powder. These medications include:

Follow the instructions on the bottle. Generally, you will need to apply the cream to your skin for two to four weeks. If it doesn’t get better, talk to your doctor.

If you have scalp ringworm, you will likely need to take prescription pills and use a prescription antifungal shampoo. The other products don’t work well for scalp ringworm, so make sure to talk to your doctor for treatment.

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What is candida?

Candida is a type of fungi called yeast that causes an infection known as candidiasis. Candida is technically the fungi name, but the infection is often just called candida.

Where ringworm affects the skin and nails, candida lives on your skin and also inside your body. Lots of people have Candida in the gut, mouth, throat, and vagina, but don’t have an infection. If the Candida grows out of control, you will have an infection.

There are different names, depending on where you have the infection. These include:

  • Oral candidiasis, an infection in the mouth called thrush
  • Vaginal candidiasis, yeast infection in the vagina
  • Candidal leukoplakia, ongoing infection in the mouth that causes plaques
  • Erythematous candidiasis, infection in the mouth after taking antibiotics
  • Small intestinal fungal overgrowth, an infection in the gut called SIFO
  • Cutaneous candidiasis, infection on the skin

Candida can also get into your blood and internal organs and cause a severe infection called invasive candidiasis. This can get into your kidneys, brain, eyes, and other parts. Candidiasis in your blood is called candidemia and commonly happens to people who are hospitalized.

There are lots of different species of Candida. The most common is called Candida albicans. Another type called Candida auris is now resistant to lots of different medications.

Symptoms of candida

Symptoms of a Candida infection can vary depending on where you have it. Some symptoms can include:

How to get rid of candida

You can find some over-the-counter vaginal treatments that you insert into your vagina and some antifungal treatments that can help with skin irritation. Generally, you will need antifungal medicine from your doctor to treat a Candida infection.

How to tell if you have ringworm or candida on the skin

Candida can appear on your skin, but it looks slightly different. Where ringworm creates a red, circular rash, candida on the skin is a red rash that crusts over with white or yellow discharge.

If you have a rash that isn’t getting better with non-prescription treatment, talk to your doctor. You might need different prescription medication.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2021
References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "About Ringworm," "Candidiasis," "Symptoms of Ringworm Infections," "Treatment for Ringworm."

Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences: "Emerging fungal infections among children: A review on its clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and prevention."

Medscape: "Tinea Corporis."

N. R, A., Rafiq, N., StatPearls, "Candidiasis," StatPearls Publishing, 2021.

NHS: "Ringworm," "Thrush in men and women."

Seattle Children’s Hospital: "Ringworm."