Skin inflammatory (nontumor)
Infectious disorders
Fungi - Dermatophytes / Tinea

Topic Completed: 1 July 2011

Minor changes: 1 April 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Fungi - superficial fungal infections [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N Fungi - Dermatophytes / Tinea. website. Accessed May 27th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Due to pathogens restricted to the stratum corneum, with little or no tissue reaction
  • Scalp and beard lesions may have superimposed bacterial folliculitis / perifolliculitis
  • Superfical fungal infections may also be found on neoplastic skin lesions
  • Usually caused by dermatophytes; in children, usually due to Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton (Am Fam Physician 2008;77:1415)

  • Kerion celsi: superimposed bacterial folliculitis on tinea of scalp
  • Majocchi granuloma: nodular granulomatous perifolliculitis; inflammation of dermis and subcutis by dermatophytes, usually Trichophyton rubrum
  • Sycosis barbae: tinera barbae with superimposed bacterial follicultis
  • Tinea barbae: infection of beard area of adult men
  • Tinea capitis: infection causing hairless patches of skin in scalp, usually in children
  • Tinea corporis: infection of trunk of children and adults, associated with excessive heat and humidity; scaly red annular plaques (ringworm)
  • Tinea cruris: "jock itch", infection of inguinal area of obese men during warm weather
  • Tinea pedis: "athletes foot", infection causing diffuse erythema and scaling, initially in web spaces, often with bacterial superinfection
Clinical images

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Kerion celsi, Majocchi granuloma and Tinea capitis

Tinea corporis:
well demarcated
margins and
diffuse erythema

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Cellulitis, abscesses, pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, fungal spores and hyphae in horny cell layer and near hair shafts
  • Spores, hyphae and neutrophils usually are present in stratum corneum or hair shafts
  • Variable intercellular epidermal edema, dermal inflammation
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Tinea capitis

Cytology images

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Microsporum audouinii

Positive stains
Additional references
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