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Psoriasis et teigne : comment les différencier ?

What is the difference between psoriasis and ringworm?

Categorized among skin diseases, psoriasis and ringworm are characterized by the presence of lesions that can be covered with scales and can be a source of confusion. Although they have similarities, certain characteristics differentiate them. Learn more in this article.

Summary
Published February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

Ringworm: An Overview.

Also known as tinea, dermatophyte infection, or dermatophytosis, ringworm is a common and contagious fungal disease that affects the skin. It is caused by fungi known as dermatophytes, which feed on keratin, a protein found in skin tissues, hair, and nails. The fungi are classified into three groups based on where they are typically found. Geophilic organisms live in the soil, zoophilic organisms on animals, and anthropophilic organisms on humans. It manifests as a scaly, ring-shaped skin rash, from which the disease gets its name.

Tinea corporis is a superficial dermatophyte infection that can affect the entire body, with the exception of certain areas. For these areas, the disease takes on other names:

  • Tinea manuum for the hands;

  • Athlete's foot for the feet;

  • Tinea capitis in the scalp;

  • Tinea barbae in the bearded areas;

  • Tinea faciei on the face.

Main differences between psoriasis and ringworm.

Ringworm or psoriasis, here are the main elements that distinguish them:

  • The primary cause.

    For psoriasis, it involves a malfunction of the immune system and a genetic predisposition, while ringworm is of fungal origin.

  • Infection.

    Ringworm is a contagious condition, spreading through physical contact, whether it be direct skin-to-skin contact, through an animal, or contaminated objects. On the other hand, psoriasis is not contagious.

  • The symptoms.

    Ringworm and psoriasis can cause itching, patches, and flaking. However, psoriasis patches tend to thicken over a specific area. Those of ringworm typically present in ring shapes and move from one region to another. Psoriatic patches may not cause itching. However, the blisters caused by ringworm are particularly irritating, compared to psoriasis.

  • Localization.

    Psoriasis can develop on various parts of the body such as the face, nails, scalp, elbows, etc. Ringworm primarily locates in areas where hair is present, for instance, the scalp or the beard.

  • The Diagnosis.

    The diagnosis of psoriasis is primarily based on the visual examination of skin plaques conducted by a dermatologist. The diagnosis of ringworm may require tests such as skin scrapings to search for the presence of fungi under a microscope.

  • The treatments.

    These two dermatological conditions have different origins, which leads to differences in their treatments. To treat psoriasis, one can opt for treatments that are topical and contain anti-inflammatory and keratolytic agents. Additionally, phototherapy can be beneficial for psoriasis. However, this is not the case for ringworm. As this condition is fungal in origin, the treatments used are topical care or oral medications based on antifungal agents.

Sources

FULLER L. C. & al. Diagnosis and management of scalp ringworm. Clinical review (2003).

MSEDDI M. & al. Les teignes de l’adulte : étude rétrospective dans le sud Tunisien. Journal de Mycologie Médicale (2005).

OHTSUKI M. & al. Risk Factors for the Development of Psoriasis International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2019).

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