Staph Or Ringworm From BJJ

Lucas Walker
Dec 3, 2016 · 5 min read

If you follow all of the 5 Basic Rules for hygiene in the Jiu Jitsu academy, hopefully you will never have to deal with staph or ringworm from BJJ.

Dealing With 2 Of The Most Common Skin Infections

Note: I am not a doctor, I am just attempting to pass on some of the knowledge passed around the Jiu Jitsu community on these topics. Staph or ringworm from BJJ should be rare if proper hygiene is followed, but it is a risk all practitioners should know about. See your doctor for accurate treatment and diagnosis!

Important concept: Good and bad bacteria both live on our skins. The good bacteria helps keep the bad bacteria in check so using disinfectant soaps can actually weaken a skin’s defense over time.

Ringworm from BJJ

ringworm from bjj
ringworm from bjj

I have actually had ringworm from BJJ once in my journey and I can say definitively it was my fault and not my gym’s. I wanted to train and realized I had forgotten to wash my gear and broke Rule 3 and wore dirty compression shorts. Two days later I had an itchy rash on my leg and had to take time off to recover.

“Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection otherwise known as tinea. Ringworm most commonly affects the skin on the body (tinea corporis), the scalp (tinea capitis), the feet (tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot), or the groin (tinea cruris, or jock itch).” — Web MD

So basically if you have had dandruff or athlete’s foot you have had a version of ringworm. It isn’t fun, but it isn’t the end of the world either.

Ringworm Prevention

1.) Wrestlers have used dandruff shampoo as a body wash to deal with ringworm for ages. Just use it like you would shower gel to wash your whole body. This helps keep the fungus in check before it can take hold. I don’t shower with dandruff shampoo every time, but if I cross trained at a gym or with a partner that isn’t as clean as I would like I always use it. Since I have started doing this I haven’t had any outbreaks of ringworm from BJJ, even after training with infected persons (NOT RECOMMENDED!).

head and shoulders dandruff shampoo
head and shoulders dandruff shampoo

Pro Tip: Buy some Dandruff Shampoo to keep in your shower. When you need it, it is too late to try to go buy it.

2.) Carefully and thoroughly dry off after showers. Fungus like damp places, so areas like armpits, between toes that can retain moisture can help cultivate growth if other conditions are right.


3.) Some people (Eddie Bravo included) swear by Acidophilus as a way to boost the abilities of the good bacterias in your body to fight against bad invaders. Acidophilus has also been shown to
help with digestive health and is pretty cheap, so couldn’t hurt right?

Ringworm From BJJ Treatment


If you are diagnosed with ringworm, it is only polite to contact any training partners you recently trained with who you could have potentially infected so they can keep an eye out for any symptoms which can take a week to manifest.

Staph Infection

staph infection
staph infection

Staph infections strike terror in the heart of the Jiu Jitsu community. If you even suspect you have a staph infection, see a doctor as soon as possible. This can be easily spread and can develop into MRSA the antibiotic monster version of staph that rots through your skin like a brown recluse bite. Don’t mess around with Staph!! Much like ringworm, staph can seem to infest an entire gym if proper treatment and good hygiene in the jiu jitsu academy principles are not followed. Take care of it, and let the gym owner know so the academy can be deep cleaned as well.

Staph Prevention

Micro cuts from things like shaving, increase the chance of infection, because each cut is a possible entry point for the infection.

Some grapplers swear by Hibiclens, the antibacterial soap they have you use before surgeries, to clean up after coming into contact with scary stuff.

Regularly deep cleaning a gym is a good way to minimize the risk of outbreaks.

Staph Treatment

Note: This post originally appeared on, a resource for weekly topics on all things Jiu Jitsu.

Lucas Walker

Written by

Brown Belt in Jiu Jitsu, Content Creation, and Strategic Marketing on a guerrilla budget working towards becoming a Black Belt