Other conditions with symptoms similar to ringworm of the scalp or beard

Ringworm can be confused with the following conditions:

  • Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) is a condition in which there is an increase in the normal turnover (growth rate) of skin on the scalp, and the scalp is covered with flakes of dead skin.
  • Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) skin condition that causes itchy, raised red patches topped with silvery, scaling skin. It is not contagious.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is an inflammation caused by an allergic reaction. The rash may be itchy and red, with raised areas that ooze clear fluid. There may be small blisters. This skin condition can be chronic and may come and go (intermittent).
  • Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection that is very contagious. It appears as a red patch with small, blisterlike bumps that drain yellowish fluid and can become crusty.
  • Folliculitis is inflammation of a hair follicle, the small pouch that holds the base of a strand of hair. The follicle may become red and swollen. Folliculitis can be caused by chemical irritants, bacteria, or fungus.
  • Furunculosis is a bacterial infection with several inflamed areas of skin that have pus (boils) and can last for weeks or months.
  • Alopecia areata is a condition in which the hair falls out in patches. The cause is unknown.
  • Trichotillomania is a mental disorder causing a person to pull out his or her hair or twist it until it breaks off. Sometimes the person also pulls the eyebrows or eyelashes.

Last Updated: March 24, 2009

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