• Tinea Nigra


    Tinea nigra is an infection of the skin. It affects the outermost layer of skin. The infection will cause a black or brown patch on the skin. Except for the dark patch, tinea nigra is a harmless condition.
    Tinea nigra usually affect the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. It may also appear on the neck or trunk.
    Cross-Section of Skin
    skin layers cross section
    Tinea nigra affects the topmost layer of skin.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    Tinea nigra is caused by a fungus. The type of fungus that causes this infection is most often found in rotting wood, soil, compost, or sewage. The fungus may enter your body through a break in your skin.

    Risk Factors

    You are more likely to develop tinea nigra if you have been living or traveling in tropical or subtropical areas, such as:
    • South Africa
    • Brazil
    • Panama
    • Cuba
    • Puerto Rico
    • Coastal areas along the southeastern United States


    Tinea nigra causes a brownish-black patch on the skin that:
    • Has an irregular shape with a darker border
    • May be itchy or scaly
    • Tends to expand over time
    A tinea nigra patch may be mistaken for a type of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about any skin growth or changes.


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a skin specialist for tests, diagnosis, and treatment.
    Tinea nigra is diagnosed by scraping a small sample of the affected skin. The sample is examined under a microscope.


    Tinea nigra is usually treated with an antifungal medication. The medication is placed on the skin as creams or ointments.


    To help reduce your chance of tinea nigra:
    • Use care when traveling in high-risk areas.
    • Avoid contact with potentially infected material, such as rotting wood, dirt, sewage, or compost.
    • If you must work with any of the materials listed above, take the proper safety steps. Wear gloves and other protective gear.


    American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org


    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca


    Gupta AK, Chaudhry M, Elewski B. Tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea nigra, and piedra. Dermatol Clin. 2003;21(3):395-400.

    Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2004.

    Mandel GL, Bennett JE, et al. (eds). Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, Inc.; 2005.

    Tinea nigra. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/fungal/tinea-nigra.html. Updated December 29, 2015. Accessed December 20, 2014.

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