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Tinea imbricata in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Tinea imbricata in Adult

Contributors: Edith Lederman MD, Noah Craft MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Tinea imbricata is a slowly progressive, chronic, superficial fungal infection caused by the dermatophyte Trichophyton concentricum, highly endemic to areas of Asia, the South Pacific, and Central and South America.

Lesions begin as small, brown, pruritic macules and papules and progress to concentric rings of scales. The infection usually begins in childhood, and progresses slowly over time. Over 75% of those affected will have lesions covering 50% or more of their skin surface. The lesions are quite pruritic, and the pruritus is aggravated by heat. Areas of lichenification develop after chronic excoriation. As this infection is superficial, patients do not have accompanying constitutional symptoms.

Risk factors include sharing an ancestry with endemic populations (travelers do not seem to develop this condition even after long stays and close contact), low socioeconomic class, and poor hygiene. Females are more commonly affected in the adult population; this sex ratio is reversed in children. Environmental exposures have not been linked to infection. A T-cell defect caused by an autosomal recessive trait has been suggested, but not proven.


B35.5 – Tinea imbricata

240699006 – Tinea imbricata

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • The scale on the lesions of Psoriasis is finer, and removal of the scale results in pinpoint bleeding (Auspitz sign).
  • The plaques of Nummular dermatitis are smaller and do not have rings of scale.
  • Small plaque parapsoriasis – Digitate dermatosis lesions are more linear and follow lines of cleavage.
  • Ichthyosis vulgaris
  • Tinea corporis
  • Tinea indecisiva (tinea pseudoimbricata) – Tinea corporis that mimics tinea imbricata. These cases are not caused by Trichophyton concentricum but rather by other Trichophyton or Microsporum species. There is usually underlying immunosuppression in patients with tinea indecisiva.
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

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Last Updated:09/24/2018
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Tinea imbricata in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Tinea imbricata : Fine scaly plaque, Ichthyotic scaly plaque, Annular configuration
Clinical image of Tinea imbricata - imageId=412232. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of patterned peeling scales.'
A close-up of patterned peeling scales.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.