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.
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.
You are more likely to develop tinea nigra if you have been living or traveling in tropical or subtropical areas, such as:
Tinea nigra causes a brownish-black patch on the skin that:
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:
American Academy of Dermatology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Gupta AK. Tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea nigra, and piedra. Dermatol Clin. 2003;21:395-400.
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.
Tropical travel. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/tropical-travel. Accessed December 7, 2012.
Last reviewed October 2014 by David L Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.