Tinea Nigra: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis

What Is Tinea Nigra?

Tinea Nigra is the name given to a fungal infection, which is characterized by black discoloration of the skin mainly on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Tinea Nigra is quite rare and the fungus that causes this infection is pretty rare unlike the fungus that causes other similar fungal infections like tinea pedis or tinea capitis. Tinea Nigra affects the superficial layer of the skin and does not penetrate the inner layers of the skin or tissues. This coupled with no symptoms of any itching or inflammation make infections occurring due to Tinea Nigra very unlikely. Tinea Nigra is mostly seen in children and girls more than boys are usually more affected by Tinea Nigra.

What Is Tinea Nigra?

What Causes Tinea Nigra?

The fungi responsible for development of Tinea Nigra are known by the name of Phaeoannellomyces werneckii, although other species like Stenella araguato and Cladophialophora saturnica may also cause this condition. Phaeoannellomyces werneckii fungus is found in soil and wood. This species of fungi is usually found in humid climate, particularly those found in South America, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The fungi causing Tinea Nigra thrive especially on children who have a condition called hyperhydrosis, which means that they sweat abnormally.

What Are The Symptoms Of Tinea Nigra?

The classic presenting symptom of Tinea Nigra is the presence of black discoloration of the skin particularly in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Apart from this, there is no itching or inflammation or any other symptom. Majority of children are not even aware that they have this infection until the characteristic brownish black rash develops on the hands and feet. Although, the rash from Tinea Nigra are prominent on the hands and feet but other body parts can also develop rash due to this condition. The rash caused by Tinea Nigra will have the following characteristics:

  • Round irregularly shaped rash.
  • It will be a single lesion, although in some cases there have been multiple lesions seen due to Tinea Nigra.
  • Light brown to black discoloration of the skin.
  • The borders of the lesion will be clearly demarcated separating the affected region from the unaffected one.
  • The rash may grow with time ranging from weeks to months.
  • The size of the rash is variable.
  • Found mainly in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

How Is Tinea Nigra Diagnosed?

Just by looking at the rash it may be difficult to pinpoint a diagnosis of Tinea Nigra, as it is a rare condition and hence further investigations are required to confirm the diagnosis of Tinea Nigra. Some of the tests that may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of Tinea Nigra are:

  • Analysis of the skin scrapings of the lesion.
  • Fungal culture to identify what species of fungi is responsible for the rash.
  • Once these studies are completed, it will be verified that the rash is caused due to the fungi responsible for Tinea Nigra and not any other species, thus confirming the diagnosis of Tinea Nigra.

How To Treat Tinea Nigra?

The most preferred way to treat Tinea Nigra is by use of antifungal medications, which are mainly topical. These topical antifungals are required to be used for at least 4 weeks and in some cases even longer to get rid of Tinea Nigra. To increase effectiveness of the antifungals, the physician may first scrape the skin before applying the antifungals for treatment of Tinea Nigra.

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