Therapy in Practice

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 225-237

First online:

Optimal Management of Fungal Infections of the Skin, Hair, and Nails

  • Aditya K. GuptaAffiliated withDivision of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Science Center (Sunnybrook site) and the University of TorontoMediprobe Research Inc. Email author 
  • , Elizabeth A. CooperAffiliated withMediprobe Research Inc.
  • , Jennifer E. RyderAffiliated withMediprobe Research Inc.
  • , Karyn A. NicolAffiliated withMediprobe Research Inc.
  • , Melody ChowAffiliated withMediprobe Research Inc.
  • , Maria M. ChaudhryAffiliated withMediprobe Research Inc.

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Superficial fungal infections are chronic and recurring conditions. Tinea capitis is a scalp infection, primarily affecting prepubescent children. Ringworm infections, such as tinea corporis and tinea cruris, involve the glabrous skin. Tinea nigra is a rare mycotic infection that may be related to travel abroad. Piedra, black or white, is limited to the hair shaft without involvement of the adjacent skin. Pityriasis (tinea) versicolor and seborrheic dermatitis are dermatoses associated with yeasts of the genus Malassezia that affect the lipid-rich areas of the body. The taxonomy of the Malassezia yeasts has been revised to include nine species, eight of which have been recovered from humans. Tinea pedis, an infection of the feet and toes, is one of the most common forms of dermatophytosis. Onychomycosis is a fungal infection affecting the nail bed and nail plate; it may be chronic and can be difficult to treat. In instances where the superficial fungal infection is severe or chronic, an oral antifungal agent should be considered. Terbinafine, itraconazole, and fluconazole are oral antifungals that are effective in the treatment of superficial mycoses.