Superficial (or surface) mycoses are skin infections caused by fungi and yeasts. The majority of these fungi and yeasts on the skin are normal. It is their excessive proliferation that can cause lesions, which are usually benign, but which can affect quality of life (itching, odour, appearance, etc.).
Superficial mycoses are examined in two stages. The first involves a direct microscope examination to detect the presence of mycelial elements (filaments that indicate the presence of fungi) and yeasts (Candida). Regardless of the results of the direct examination, the specimen is then cultured to confirm the presence or absence of potentially pathogenic fungi and yeasts.
The most commonly found fungi are Candida albicans and certain microscopic fungi transmitted by animals (Microsporum, Trycophyton, Tricophoron, etc.). Determining the nature of the mycosis allows the health care professional (physician, podiatrist) to apply the appropriate treatment.