Beauty Buzz: When there’s a fungus among us (how to prevent it)

By Andi Douglas, beauty editor and mama of 3

kids feetI recently discovered that my toddler has ringworm, a circular, scaly rash. First, I was relieved that it was not an actual worm, despite the name, but, in fact, a skin infection due to a fungus.

Okay, still pretty disgusting, but very common and, thankfully, easily treated with an OTC anti-fungal cream.

Summertime is a prime season for different kinds of fungal infections to rear their itchy heads, since fungus thrives in hot, moist environments. Wet swimsuits, public pools and sweaty carseats spell trouble to the delicate skin of your little ones.

And, since most infections are very contagious and kids have no boundaries, there is no shame when your kids show up with a scaly rash (No shame, I tell you…don’t judge me).

Athlete’s foot most commonly manifests as a burning itch between the two smallest toes and can spread to the soles of the feet, an anti-fungal cream is the best treatment (seriously, just start buying this stuff at Sam’s Club in a tub), but prevention is always better.

Wear flip-flops in public showers or the pool bathroom and dry your feet thoroughly before putting on shoes. If your kiddos are keen on going sock-less during the summer, sprinkle foot powder in their shoes to prevent moisture.

The netting in boy swimsuits looks itchy enough without adding a case of jock itch. Symptoms are the typical burning itch in the groin and thigh area with a circular, red raised rash with elevated edges and flaking or cracked skin (ouch!) and can be treated with an anti fungal cream, powder or spray.

Summer-Remix4Boys are not the only victims of a wet swimsuit. Yeast infections of the skin can cause a red, scaling, itchy rash around the groin or armpits, and often have raised pimple like bumps.

Skin yeast infections respond well to medicated creams. You can mix your own using diaper cream (like Desitin), an anti-fungal cream and a zinc oxide cream.

Vaginal yeast infections, which can also be caused by lounging in wet swimwear, may require suppositories or an oral medication for proper treatment, so consult a physician. In the meantime, lay off of sugar, since yeast thrives on it, and serve plenty of natural yogurt to build up healthy bacteria.

beach ballNow that we have sandal weather (finally) you may have noticed that your toenails are thick and discolored and may be painful. Or, you were lucky like me, and the lady doing your annual pedicure announced loudly that you have a fungus on your toes. Awesome.

Nail fungus is not caused by poor hygiene, according to Web MD. Did you hear that, judgy pedicurist? In fact, it is difficult to determine the origin of an infection and they are very common in runners. No that I run, but I could. Unfortunately, they are very difficult to treat and even heavy duty oral medications only cure about 50% of infections.

There are a lot of home remedies that friends have sworn by, including a hot foot soak in water mixed with a few tablespoons of baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Also, applying apple cider vinegar to your toes may help. Listerine mouth wash can also be applied directly and smells much better.

*When in doubt, a doctor can confirm any fungal infection with a test and stronger treatments can be prescribed.

Did I effectively skeeve everyone out? Well, at least I didn’t torture you with graphic images. There are some things you can never un-see, trust me! Happy Summer!

Note from the mamas: This post first published on in July 2014. We brought it back since it’s a reader fave!

Andi, 150Have a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama of three? Andi welcomes your questions and feedback about Beauty Buzz. E-mail her at