Tinea capitis: Advances and a needed paradigm shift

Thomas K. Le, Bernard A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of reviewTinea capitis, a superficial infection of the scalp, is the most common pediatric dermatophyte fungal infection worldwide and is particularly common in the USA in low-income, low-resource settings. There are still gaps in knowledge and heterogeneities in practice in terms of diagnostic and management strategies. Furthermore, there are no clinical guidelines for management and treatment of tinea capitis in the USA. This review aims to summarize recent advances, recommend optimal management for the practicing pediatrician, and identify areas for future research for tinea capitis.Recent findingsTrichophyton tonsurans infections are best treated with terbinafine and Microsporum canis infections are best treated with griseofulvin. Trichophyton tonsurans is the predominant cause of tinea capitis in the USA, although the main gold standard of treatment in the USA is griseofulvin. Dermatophyte antifungal resistance is an active area of investigation but seems to not be of current concern for tinea capitis in the USA.SummaryWe recommend all clinical providers ascertain the causative organism in fungal infection, either through fungal culture or newer methods which may become more readily available and cost-effective in the future, such as polymerase chain reaction assay. We also recommend terbinafine as first-line treatment of tinea capitis, with adjustment as necessary after species identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-391
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • dermatophyte
  • griseofulvin
  • management
  • terbinafine
  • tinea capitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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