What is tinea versicolor?

This is a type of fungal infection on the skin, from yeast naturally occurring on skin, and is common in subtropical and tropical areas, where many have it year-round.


What is tinea versicolor?

This is a type of fungal infection on the skin, from yeast naturally occurring on skin, and is common in subtropical and tropical areas, where many have it year-round.

What causes tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is caused by yeast that lives on everyone’s skin. People of all skin colors get this disease, but it is not clear why it occurs in some but not others. Those with oily skin are most susceptible, while older people and children rarely get it unless they’re living in a hot, humid area. Lots of sweating or a weak immune system are thought to contribute.

What are the symptoms?

Sometimes it looks like a rash, or slow growing spots on the skin. The spots are lighter or darker than surrounding skin, and can be white, brown, or pink. The skin may itch and appear scaly. The spots can disappear in cooler weather, only to return in warmer, humid weather. Sometimes it can be mistaken for vitiligo.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A Wood’s lamp is used, because the affected skin appears yellowish green under this lamp. Some skin may be scraped off and examined uner a microscope as well. Treatment depends upon several factors, including the location and size of the outbreak, as well as the surrounding climate. Treatment can include topical medicine, such as anti-fungal soaps, shampoos, and creams containing selenium sulfide, pyrithione zinc, or ketoconazole. Anti-fungal pills may be prescribed in worse cases, but can cause side effects, and interfere with other medication you take. The yeast is easy to kill with treatment, although discoloration may persist for months. Eventually, it will return to normal. The condition can periodically return as well.