Dermatomycosis is the medical term for fungal infections of the skin and skin appendages (derma: skin; mykes: fungus), which encompass nails and hair. Fungal infection can happen any time there are injured or pathologically changed skin areas. However, there are also factors which may promote fungal infections of healthy skin areas. Warm, humid areas such as feet, spaces between toes, and armpits are often colonised by fungi. Due to the warm and humid environment, the conditions are optimal for the reproduction of the pathogens. Moreover, the skin is more sensitive, enabling the pathogens to enter the skin more easily.
In approximately 70% of dermatomycoses, the infection is passed on from person to person or via contaminated objects. Dermatomycoses are mainly caused by filamentous fungi. These are fungi that feed on keratin occurring in skin, hair and nails.
Filamentous fungi can be transmitted to humans by close contact with infected animals (pets, cows, horses). Some pathogens are mainly found in the soil, so that they can be transmitted during gardening. Besides filamentous fungi, in rare cases, also yeasts or moulds may cause dermatomycoses. Generally, infections with the mentioned pathogens can occur on all body parts. The severity of infection depends on the causative agent or agents. Mixed infections with different pathogens occur frequently.
Dermatomycosis must always be treated. If you suspect you have a fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, contact your doctor!