Ringworm silently threatens “low cost” barbershops

Ringworm silently threatens

In recent times, a worrying trend has been emerging among adolescent males who frequent low-cost barbershops in Catalonia: the spread of ringworm, a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin.

Dermatologists have observed a significant increase in cases of this disease, especially among those who opt for a specific haircut and in many cases, neglect proper hygiene.

Ringworm is a condition triggered by fungal parasites that find fertile ground on the skin, causing symptoms such as itching, scaling and in more severe cases, inflammation and even hair loss.

The appearance of ringworm outbreaks among young people visiting low-cost barbershops has raised concern among medical professionals, who warn about the importance of maintaining high standards of cleanliness and disinfection in these establishments.

Ringworm spreads in “low cost” barbershops

According to Dr. Veronica Ruiz, from the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona, teenagers who opt for this type of barbershops, where low prices often go hand in hand with poor hygiene, are the most affected.

The haircut that is becoming popular among them, concentrated on the nape of the neck and around the ears, seems to be the starting point for the spread of ringworm.

The problem lies in the lack of proper disinfection of the equipment used in these barbershops, combined with the need for weekly or bi-weekly maintenance of these particular haircuts. This combination creates an ideal breeding ground for the proliferation of fungi and parasites, which can be easily transmitted from one client to another.

Dermatologists have also observed the presence of an unusual fungus, ‘trichophyton tonsurans’, which until now was uncommon in Spain and more typical of developing countries.

This fungus, which is believed to be being introduced into the country through migration flows, has been identified in several cases of ringworm among adolescents who frequent these barbershops.

Factors favoring propagation

Dr. Asunción Vicente, from the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Esplugues de Llobregat, emphasizes that scalp shaving habits, together with the lack of natural oil in the skin of adolescents, may be contributing to the proliferation of ringworm.

Aesthetic pressure also plays an important role, with many young people imitating their idols and adopting haircuts that require frequent maintenance.

To address this growing problem, dermatologists are urging authorities to take steps to improve the regulation and oversight of barbershops, ensuring that they meet the standards of cleanliness and disinfection necessary to protect public health.