Tinea capitis: epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and control

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Sep;31(3 Pt 2):S42-6. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(08)81266-2.


Since the 1970s there has been a steady rise in the number of cases of tinea capitis in the United States, most of them caused by Trichophyton tonsurans. Although the infection is seen most frequently in black children, it can occur in white persons and can affect persons of all ages. Control of tinea capitis is difficult for several reasons, including subtle clinical infection, asymptomatic carriage of fungus, fomite spread, and the need for weeks to months of oral medications. Although griseofulvin remains the mainstay of therapy, preliminary studies of itraconazole and terbinafine suggest that these compounds may also be useful in the treatment of tinea capitis. Selenium sulfide shampoo, prednisone, and oral antibiotics are frequently used as adjunctive therapy. The role of fomites in the spread of tinea capitis has yet to be fully understood, as does the best means of decontamination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Griseofulvin / therapeutic use
  • Hair Preparations
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Skin Tests
  • Tinea Capitis* / complications
  • Tinea Capitis* / diagnosis
  • Tinea Capitis* / drug therapy
  • Tinea Capitis* / epidemiology
  • Tinea Capitis* / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Hair Preparations
  • Griseofulvin
  • Prednisone