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Skin Infections Caused by Fungi


Approximately 90 per cent of fungal skin infections are caused by 'dermatophytes', which are parasitic fungi affecting the skin, hair, or nails.

There are three groups of dermatophytes, called Trichophyton (affects skin, hair and nails), Microsporum (a type of fungus that causes ringworm epidemics in children) and Epidermophyton (A fungal which grows on the outer layer of the skin and is the cause of tinea). These infections are mostly seen after puberty with the exception of Tinea capitis, which is a fungal infection involving scalp hair, seen in children.

Dermatophytes also produce what is widely known as 'Ringworm', in which the fungi limit themselves to dead Keratin, a protein found on the skin.

Fungi that have developed to live on animals can also infect us, and will usually cause much more inflammation and redness because our immune system sees them as a foreign invasion and goes into attack.

Other skin infections are caused by yeasts such as Candida. Another known as Malassezia furfur, or Pityrisporum ovalae, is a type of fungus that causes brownish patches on the skin This particular yeast resides on skin that has a high (oily) sebum content such as the face, scalp and chest. It is responsible for dandruff of the scalp as well as a rash on the body called Tinea versicolor. Candida can also settle in the moist folds of skin, and is found normally in the

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