Athlete’s foot or tinea pedis is a prevalent disorder affecting the skin between your toes. Kaycee Reyes, M.D., skin and laser specialist, and the dermatologist behind Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovations in Bonifacio Global City shares some deets on what you should know about athlete’s foot and how it should be treated and avoided. 
What causes it:
Environmental factors are important.
• Heat, sweat and humidity can lead to overgrowth then to infection.
• Occlusion is also another factor. It increases the local temperature and hydration of the skin, leading to impaired barrier function.
• Shoes made of non-porous materials are associated with higher incidence of infection.
• Warm, humid conditions promote growth of fungi, thus, it’s more common in the tropics.

Other factors that promote tinea infection are high temperature and humidity, occlusive or too tight clothing, bacterial infection, and excessive sweating.
According to Dr. Reyes, athlete’s foot is not serious but the infection can spread to the other parts of the body like the groin area or the nail (which is harder to treat since it will take 4-8 weeks or oral antifungal tablets to treat this).
When should you see a doctor?
If the infection is severe or does not clear with topical agents, your physician will give you an oral antifungal tablet that you need to take for several weeks, but Dr. Reyes suggests you go to a doctor once you see these indications:
• Scalp infections
• Nail infections
• Lesions not responding to topical medicines (if they worsen, don’t go away or cover a large area of the body)

PHOTO: Flickr; Mike Dee

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