Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin which is quite common. Tinea Versicolor is characterized by small, discolored rashes or patches on the skin, which occurs as a result of the fungus interfering with the normal skin pigmentation. The color of these patches can be darker or lighter than the natural skin color. Shoulders and trunk are the common areas, which are affected by this condition. Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor is more common in adolescents and young adults and it is more apparent or visible upon sun exposure.

Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Treatment for Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor comprises of antifungal lotions, creams and shampoos; however, the color of the skin can still be uneven or patchy for many weeks after the treatment. Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor commonly recurs, especially in warm/hot and humid weather.

Causes of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor is caused by a fungus which is present on healthy skin. It starts to create problems or symptoms if there is an increase or overgrowth of the fungus. Factors which trigger fungus growth are:

  • Warm and humid weather.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Having an oily skin.
  • Hormonal imbalances/changes.
  • Weak immune system.

Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor is characterized by an extremely thin fungal coating or layer of fungus on the skin. The patches of discolored skin can have the following characteristics:

  • They can be of pink, white, dark brown or tan color.
  • They grow slowly.
  • They can be itchy and scaly.
  • They are more apparent after sun exposure.
  • Commonly appear on the back, neck, chest and upper arms

When Should You Be Concerned ABout Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

  • If home care treatment for Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor doesn't cause improvement.
  • Recurrence of the fungal infection.
  • If the Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor patches are present over large areas of the body.

Investigations for Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Physical examination is sufficient for diagnosis of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor. Scrapings from the skin can be taken for testing for further confirmation of diagnosis.

Treatment of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

Treatment for Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor is done by applying OTC anti-fungal creams. If the patient does not benefit by them, then prescription-strength oral and topical medications are needed which include: Ketoconazole (cream, foam, gel, shampoo and tablets), ciclopirox (cream, gel or lotion), fluconazole (tablets), itraconazole (capsules/ tablets) and selenium sulfide (2.5 percent shampoo/lotion).

Even after treatment is done, the color of the skin can remain patchy and uneven for many weeks and even months. There is also a chance of recurring infection of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor in hot and humid weather. In such cases, patient needs to take medication fortnightly or once a month to prevent recurrent infection.

Home Remedies and Prevention for Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor

  • Always keep the affected region clean and dry.
  • Apply a thin film of the topical anti-fungal cream/lotion once or twice a day for 15 days.
  • When using anti-fungal shampoo, be sure to keep it for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse it thoroughly.
  • For preventing recurrence of Tinea Versicolor or Pityriasis Versicolor, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral medications for using once or twice a month.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 2, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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