Fungal skin infections are very common, and most people are likely to experience some kind of infection at least once in their lifetime. Yeast, bacteria and fungus are present on all skins, and problems generally only occur when something upsets the balance of the skin. Common fungal, yeast and bacterial related skin conditions include thrush, jock itch, lichen planus, athletes foot and ringworm.
Athletes Foot, or Tinea pedis, affects around 20% of the population, and causes itchy, red, cracked and flaky skin between the toes and on the side of the feet. Bacteria, fungus and yeast all thrive in warm, moist environments; so shoe-wearing feet are the perfect atmosphere in which athletes foot thrives. It is a contagious condition, and can be picked up by walking in communal areas where other sufferers have walked, such as swimming pool or gym changing rooms.
Ringworm can appear anywhere on the body (Tinea corporis) and scalp (Tinea capitis), and is characterised by raised, circular, red skin rashes. It is caused by a fungus, not a worm, and is a highly contagious condition. It can be passed on by physical contact, but also via contact with the bed sheets, towels, hairbrushes and clothing of another sufferer. It can also be passed from cats and dogs. As many as 20% of the population will suffer from ringworm at some point, and children are particularly susceptible.
Some less common fungal infections include Intertrigo, which is a yeast infection that can appear in the folds of the skin anywhere on the body, and Pityriasis versicolo (Tinea versoclor), which causes patches of scaly, itchy and discoloured skin on the upper arms, back and torso.