Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Tinea Nigra Treatment & Management

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
Updated: Jun 22, 2016

Medical Care

After tinea nigra is diagnosed on the basis of the findings from the patient's history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory test, a topical medication designed to eradicate the fungal infection should be applied to the respective area. Topical application of antifungal agents usually resolves tinea nigra within 2-4 weeks. Topical ketoconazole cream may be a good choice,[16, 25]  as well other antifungals.[26, 27, 28] Prolonged therapy may be necessary to prevent relapse. Repeated vigorous scrubbing or topical application of keratolytic agents can reduce pigmentation.[21]

Spontaneous healing has been described but is rare.[29]


Surgical Care

To aid the effectiveness of the topical medication in eradicating the dermatomycosis, the affected skin area should be scraped with a No. 15 scalpel blade prior to the initial application of the medicine.



Tinea nigra is a benign superficial fungal infection that does not have any serious complications.



Because infection is believed to occur after inoculation subsequent to trauma, patients should avoid potentially contaminated sources, such as soil, sewage, compost, and decaying wood.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


George Kihiczak, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, New Jersey Medical School and University Hospital

George Kihiczak, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Medical Society of New Jersey

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Paul Krusinski, MD Director of Dermatology, Fletcher Allen Health Care; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine

Paul Krusinski, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Neil Shear, MD Professor and Chief of Dermatology, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Pharmacology, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine; Head of Dermatology, Sunnybrook Women's College Health Sciences Center and Women's College Hospital, Canada

Neil Shear, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Canadian Medical Association, Ontario Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Canadian Dermatology Association, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author, Vinay Arya, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

  1. Schwartz RA. Superficial fungal infections. Lancet. 2004 Sep 25-Oct 1. 364(9440):1173-82. [Medline].

  2. Perez C, Colella MT, Olaizola C, Hartung de Capriles C, Magaldi S, Mata-Essayag S. Tinea nigra: report of twelve cases in Venezuela. Mycopathologia. 2005 Oct. 160(3):235-8. [Medline].

  3. Badali H, Carvalho VO, Vicente V, et al. Cladophialophora saturnica sp. nov., a new opportunistic species of Chaetothyriales revealed using molecular data. Med Mycol. 2009 Feb. 47(1):51-62. [Medline].

  4. Blank H. Tinea nigra: a twenty-year incubation period?. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1979 Jul. 1(1):49-51. [Medline].

  5. Lenassi M, Vaupotic T, Gunde-Cimerman N, Plemenitas A. The MAP kinase HwHog1 from the halophilic black yeast Hortaea werneckii: coping with stresses in solar salterns. Saline Systems. 2007. 3:3. [Medline].

  6. Rezusta A, Gilaberte Y, Betran A, Gene J, Querol I, Arias M, et al. Tinea nigra: a rare imported infection. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Jan. 24(1):89-91. [Medline].

  7. Chen GY, Cheng YW, Wang CY, Hsu TJ, Hsu MM, Yang PT, et al. Prevalence of skin diseases among schoolchildren in Magong, Penghu, Taiwan: a community-based clinical survey. J Formos Med Assoc. 2008 Jan. 107(1):21-9. [Medline].

  8. Cabrera R, Sabatin N, Urrutia M, Sepúlveda R. [Tinea nigra: a allochthonous case report in Chile]. Rev Chilena Infectol. 2013 Feb. 30(1):90-3. [Medline].

  9. Hall J, Perry VE. Tinea nigra palmaris: differentiation from malignant melanoma or junctional nevi. Cutis. 1998 Jul. 62(1):45-6. [Medline].

  10. Tseng SS, Whittier S, Miller SR, Zalar GL. Bilateral tinea nigra plantaris and tinea nigra plantaris mimicking melanoma. Cutis. 1999 Oct. 64(4):265-8. [Medline].

  11. Uezato H, Gushi M, Hagiwara K, Kayo S, Hosokawa A, Nonaka S. A case of tinea nigra palmaris in Okinawa, Japan. J Dermatol. 2006 Jan. 33(1):23-9. [Medline].

  12. Zalaudek I, Giacomel J, Cabo H, Di Stefani A, Ferrara G, Hofmann-Wellenhof R, et al. Entodermoscopy: a new tool for diagnosing skin infections and infestations. Dermatology. 2008. 216(1):14-23. [Medline].

  13. Maia Abinader MV, Carvalho Maron SM, Araújo LO, Silva Ado A. Tinea nigra dermoscopy: A useful assessment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jun. 74 (6):e121-2. [Medline].

  14. Paschoal FM, de Barros JA, de Barros DP, de Barros JC, Filho CD. Study of the dermatoscopic pattern of tinea nigra: report of 6 cases. Skinmed. 2010 Nov-Dec. 8(6):319-21. [Medline].

  15. Haliasos EC, Kerner M, Jaimes-Lopez N, Rudnicka L, Zalaudek I, Malvehy J, et al. Dermoscopy for the pediatric dermatologist part I: dermoscopy of pediatric infectious and inflammatory skin lesions and hair disorders. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013 Mar. 30(2):163-71. [Medline].

  16. Noguchi H, Hiruma M, Inoue Y, Miyata K, Tanaka M, Ihn H. Tinea nigra showing a parallel ridge pattern on dermoscopy. J Dermatol. 2015 May. 42 (5):518-20. [Medline].

  17. Muir J. Tinea nigra and dermoscopy. Australas J Dermatol. 2012 Feb. 53(1):e14; author reply e15. [Medline].

  18. Piliouras P, Allison S, Rosendahl C, Buettner PG, Weedon D. Dermoscopy improves diagnosis of tinea nigra: a study of 50 cases. Australas J Dermatol. 2011 Aug. 52(3):191-4. [Medline].

  19. Darrigade AS, Saint-Marie D, Dufour J, Edouard S, Graille J, Cheuret M, et al. [The value of dermoscopy in the diagnosis of tinea nigra]. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2014 Feb. 141(2):167-9. [Medline].

  20. Rossetto AL, Corrêa PR, Cruz RC, Pereira EF, Haddad Junior V Filho. A case of Tinea nigra associated to a bite from a European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus, Leporidae): the role of dermoscopy in diagnosis. An Bras Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb. 89(1):165-166. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  21. Tilak R, Singh S, Prakash P, Singh DP, Gulati AK. A case report of tinea nigra from North India. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009 Sep-Oct. 75(5):538-9. [Medline].

  22. Chen WT, Tu ME, Sun PL. Superficial Phaeohyphomycosis Caused by Aureobasidium melanogenum Mimicking Tinea Nigra in an Immunocompetent Patient and Review of Published Reports. Mycopathologia. 2016 Feb 16. [Medline].

  23. Madke B, Doshi B, Wankhede P, Nayak C. Palmar lichen planus mimicking tinea nigra. Indian J Dermatol. 2013 Sep. 58(5):407. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  24. Babel DE, Pelachyk JM, Hurley JP. Tinea nigra masquerading as acral lentiginous melanoma. J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1986 May. 12(5):502-4. [Medline].

  25. Burke WA. Tinea nigra: treatment with topical ketoconazole. Cutis. 1993 Oct. 52(4):209-11. [Medline].

  26. Rossetto AL, Cruz RC. Tinea nigra: successful treatment with topical butenafine. An Bras Dermatol. 2012 Nov-Dec. 87(6):939-41. [Medline].

  27. Marks JG Jr, King RD, Davis BM. Treatment of tinea nigra palmaris with miconazole. Arch Dermatol. 1980 Mar. 116(3):321-2. [Medline].

  28. Shannon PL, Ramos-Caro FA, Cosgrove BF, Flowers FP. Treatment of tinea nigra with terbinafine. Cutis. 1999 Sep. 64(3):199-201. [Medline].

  29. Rossetto AL, Cruz RC. Spontaneous cure in a case of Tinea nigra. An Bras Dermatol. 2012 Feb. 87(1):160-2. [Medline].

Tinea nigra, evident as a painless cluster of brown-to-black macules. Courtesy of Dr. Peter Santalucia.
Tinea nigra, showing hyperkeratosis and mild acanthosis. A scant amount of perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate may be found in the papillary and subpapillary layers of the dermis (hematoxylin and eosin stain). Courtesy of Thomas N. Helm, MD.
Tinea nigra, with histologic section demonstrating periodic acid-Schiff–positive septate hyphae within the stratum corneum. Courtesy of Thomas N. Helm, MD.
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.