Tinea incognito (TI) is a dermatophytic infection which has lost its typical clinical appearance because of improper use of steroids or calcineurin inhibitors. The incidence of TI is increasing nowadays. We conducted retrospective review on 283 patients with TI from 25 dermatology training hospitals in Korea from 2002-2010 to investigate the demographical, clinical, and mycological characteristics of TI, and to determine the associated risk factors. More than half (59.3%) patients were previously treated by non-dermatologists or self-treated. The mean duration of TI was 15.0 ± 25.3 months. The most common clinical manifestations were eczemalike lesion, psoriasis-like, and lupus erythematosus-like lesion. The trunk and face were frequently involved, and 91 patients (32.2%) also had coexisting fungal infections. Among 67 isolated strains, Trichophyton rubrum was the most frequently detected (73.1%). This is the largest study of TI reported to date and the first investigational report concerning TI in Korea. We suggest that doctors should consider TI when a patient has intractable eczema-like lesions accompanied by tinea pedis/unguium. Furthermore, there should be a policy change, which would make over-the-counter high-potency topical steroids less accessible in some countries, including Korea.
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