Ringworm is a fungal infection that appears as a small circular rash, usually on the arms or legs. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes scaly itchy patches, often on the knees or elbows.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by the rapid growth of skin cells and inflammation. Psoriasis changes the life cycle of your skin cells. Typical cell turnover allows skin cells to grow, live, die, and slough off on a routine basis. Skin cells affected by psoriasis grow rapidly but don’t fall off.

This causes a buildup of skin cells on the skin’s surface. Psoriasis can appear red or pink on light or fair skin tones with silvery white scale. On medium skin tones, it can appear salmon-colored with silvery white scale. On darker skin tones, psoriasis could look violet with gray scale. Or it can also appear dark brown and difficult to see.

It’s commonly found on the:

  • knees
  • elbows
  • genitals
  • toenails

More than one type of psoriasis exists. The part of your body that’s affected by the skin condition and the symptoms you experience determine the type of psoriasis you have. Psoriasis is not contagious.

Ringworm (dermatophytosis) is a temporary circular rash that appears red or pink on light skin tones and brown or gray on skin of color. The rash may or may not itch, and it may grow over time. It can also be transferred if your skin comes in contact with the skin of someone who has the fungal infection.

Despite its name, ringworm rashes are not caused by a worm.

Your symptoms of psoriasis may be different than someone else’s symptoms. Psoriasis symptoms may include:

  • pink or red patches with silvery white scale on light and fair skin tones
  • salmon in appearance with silvery white scale on medium skin tones
  • violet with gray scale on darker skin tones
  • small spots of scaling
  • dry, cracked skin that might bleed
  • itching or burning
  • soreness on spots
  • sore or stiff joints
  • thick, ridged, or pitted nails

Psoriasis is a chronic condition. It may cause one or two patches, or it may cause clusters of patches that grow to cover a large area.

Treatment can reduce symptoms, but psoriasis patches may be a lifelong issue. Thankfully, many people experience periods of low or no activity. These periods, which are called remission, may be followed by periods of increased activity.

The signs and symptoms of ringworm will change if the infection worsens. Ringworm symptoms may include:

  • red or pink patches on light skin tones
  • brown or gray patches on medium to dark skin tones
  • a raised border around the scaly area
  • an expanding scaly area that forms a circle
  • a circle with red bumps or scales and a clear center

You may develop more than one circle, and these circles can overlap. Some of the borders of the circles may be uneven or irregular.

There currently is not a cure for psoriasis, but treatments are available that can end or reduce outbreaks. The type of treatment you’ll need depends on the severity and type of psoriasis you have. The three main types of treatments are:

  • topical
  • light therapy
  • oral or injectable medications

Topical treatments

Your doctor may prescribe a medicated cream, ointment, or another solution to treat your mild to moderate psoriasis. These types of topical treatments include topical corticosteroids, topical retinoids, and salicylic acid.

Light therapy

Phototherapy uses light to halt or slow the growth of skin cells in the affected areas. These light sources include:

  • natural light (sunlight)
  • UVB rays
  • photochemotherapy UVA
  • lasers

Light therapy may be applied to your affected areas or to your whole body. Exposure to some of these light sources could make symptoms worse. Do not use light therapy without your doctor’s guidance.

Oral or injected medications

Your doctor may prescribe oral or injectable medications if you do not respond well to other treatments. They’re appropriate for various forms of moderate to severe psoriasis.

These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They can help alter how the immune system works, resulting in slower skin cell growth and reduced inflammation.

DMARDs can be nonbiologics or biologics.

Nonbiologics include:

  • methotrexate
  • cyclosporine
  • apremilast (Otezla)

Biologics used for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis include:

  • etanercept (Enbrel)
  • adalimumab (Humira)
  • certolizumab (Cimzia)
  • secukinumab (Cosentyx)
  • ustekinumab (Stelara)
  • ixekizumab (Taltz)
  • guselkumab (Tremfya)
  • tildrakizumab (Ilumya)
  • risankizumab (Skyrizi)

Infliximab (Remicade), golimumab (Simponi), and brodalumab (Siliq) are biologics that are also used to treat psoriasis, but they’re used less often in comparison to other options.

These treatments often cause severe side effects, which is why they’re used on a limited basis.

Your doctor may change your treatment if it does not work or if the side effects are too severe. Your doctor may also recommend combination treatment, which means using more than one treatment type.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), you may be able to use lower doses of each treatment when your doctor prescribes them as part of a combination treatment.

Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection. Antifungal medication can treat ringworm. Some cases of ringworm will respond well to ointments or topical treatments. These treatments, including terbinafine (Lamisil AT), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), and ketoconazole, can be purchased over the counter.

If the infection is severe, your doctor may need to treat your fungal infection with prescription antifungal ointment or cream. More severe cases may also require oral medication.

Make an appointment with a primary care doctor or dermatologist if you’ve developed an unusual spot on your skin. If you think you came into contact with a person or animal with ringworm, be sure to tell the doctor.

If you have a family history of psoriasis, mention that as well. In most cases, the doctor can diagnose the condition by conducting a thorough skin exam.

If you’re diagnosed with either of these conditions and you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms, talk with your doctor as soon as you can. These symptoms include:

  • painful and swollen muscle joints
  • difficulty working because the affected area is swollen, painful, or preventing you from bending your joints properly
  • a concern about the appearance of your skin
  • interruption in your ability to perform routine tasks
  • a worsening rash that is not responding to treatment

Both ringworm and psoriasis can be effectively managed and treated. Currently, psoriasis cannot be cured, but treatments can help reduce symptoms.

Ringworm treatments can eliminate the infection. This will reduce the chances that you can transfer the fungus to other people.

It’s important to note that you may come into contact with a fungus that causes ringworm again in the future, and you could develop another infection.