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You Are Here: Home » Skin Diseases » Tinea versicolor – Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Tinea versicolor is also known as pityriasis versicolor. It is a common fungal infection of body skin caused by yeast called Malassezia furfur, which live on the skin of most adults without causing problems.

Tinea versicolor is easily identified under the microscope. It causes patches of discolored, slightly scaly skin. The normal pigmentation of skin is corrupted by the presence of fungus that results in small discolored patches. It is not contagious.

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High humidity, immune or hormonal changes are the major factors that induce the disease. Most people with these common conditions are perfectly healthy. Tinea versicolor is generally common among the teenagers and among young adults. Tinea versicolor causes the affected skin to change color and become either lighter or darker than the surrounding skin color. Tinea versicolor is very much apparent in sun exposure.

Treatment of tinea versicolor is often effective, but recurrence is common. Antifungal creams, lotions and shampoos lend a helping hand in treating tinea versicolor. Even after proper medical care, the skin color may remain uneven for several weeks, until the re-pigmentation takes place. In warm and humid climate tinea versicolor may cause a relapse. Hence it is important to maintain personal hygiene under such climatic conditions.

Symptoms of tinea versicolor

  • Tinea versicolor results in patches that are brown or reddish-brown. They fade off after medication. The causative fungus produces a chemical, which seems to inhibit the normal production of pigment in skin causing portions of lighter skin.
  • It may take months for overall color to even out. Ultimately it always does.
  • Tinea versicolor does not leave permanent skin discoloration.

Tinea versicolor is a kind of fungus infection that appears like a thin coated tissue on skin. The following are the symptoms of tinea versicolor in detail:

  • Patches which grow very slowly
  • Patches that becomes apparent in sun exposure.
  • Small scaly patches that discolor the body skin.
  • Mild itching
  • The patches may have different colors such as pink, white, dark brown and tan. Even though the de-colorization is visibly apparent  on dark skin,  the attack of infection can be on anyone, irrespective of skin color.
  • The infection is most common in warm and humid climate conditions. It usually affects the chest, neck, back, folds and upper arms.

Diagnosis of tinea versicolor

  • Comparatively, it is a simple procedure to confirm the presence of the condition. A drop of potassium hydroxide is placed on a small scraping of affected skin, which is then examined under the microscope. The yeast forms are seen to confirm the diagnosis.

An individual affected by the skin condition may visit the doctor if:

  • The self care treatment fails to provide relief.
  • The patches cover a large area of body
  • The fungal infection returns.

Causes of tinea versicolor

The fungus grow on the areas of skin where the hair follicles open onto the skin surface. Healthy skin also can contract this skin disorder due to the fungus. The skin discolorations of tinea versicolor develop when the fungus become overgrown. The factors which may aggravate this growth are:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Oily skin
  • Warm and humid climate
  • Hormonal changes
  • Immunosuppression, which is a condition where the immune system is unable to protect the attack of fungus growth on skin.

Tinea versicolor treatment

If tinea versicolor does not respond to traditional  medicine available over the counter, one may need a stronger topical or oral medication prescribed by a doctor. Such medications for treating tinea versicolor are:

Topical medicines:

  • Selenium sulfide 2,5% lotion
  • Ketoconazole, such as Nizoral shampoo or cream
  • Ciclopirox, such as loprox gel, cream and lotion

Oral medications:

  • Ketoconazole, such as Nizoral tablets
  • Fluconazole, such as Diflucan tablets
  • Itraconazole, such as Sporanox capsules

Even a successful treatment can’t guaranty an even color for skin which may continue to remain uneven for weeks or even for months. Moreover, it may return in warm and humid atmosphere. If the cases persist, one may need to take the medication once in every two months, to prevent the recurrence of infection.

In case of mild tinea versicolor, one can use the antifungal cream, lotion, shampoo or ointment available over the counter. Most of the fungal infections respond well to these topical agents such as:

  • Miconazole, such as Monistat-Derm
  • Terbinafine, such as Lamisil
  • Clotrimazole, such as Lotrimin
  • Selenium sulfide shampoo, such as Selsun Blue

Clean and dry the affected portion and then apply the topical agent once or twice a day, at least for two weeks. If shampoo was used, rinse it after 10 minutes. If there is no positive improvement in healing even after four weeks, consult the doctor as it may need a stronger medication.

Avoid applying oil on skin. Avoid wearing of synthetic and tight clothing.

To prevent the recurrence of tinea versicolor, the medical care provider may prescribe topical or oral medications to be consumed once or twice a month. These preventive medicines are:

  • Selenium Sulfide lotion to be applied on the affected area on every two to three weeks.
  • Itraconazole, such as Sporanox capsules once in a month.
  • Ketoconazole, such as Nizoral tablets once in a month

Tinea Versicolor Natural Treatment

  1. Lightly grind some unpolished rice into coarse flour. Sprinkle few drops of tomat juice to the flour.  Take bath and then apply this paste on the affected areas. You can apply the paste on the skin and let it remain for five to seven minutes, before you massage it into the skin. Rice is an exfoliating agent and tomato due to its acidic quality, prevents the spread of fungus.
  2. Tea tree toil due to it being a potent, natural fungicide can be an effective home remedy for tinea versicolor. Just make sure that you dilute the oil with some carrier oil before you start using it on your skin.
  3. Cider vinegar is also very good for treating tinea versicolor naturally.  Here again, the acidic nature of cider vinegar prevents fungal spread.
  4. Add yogurt in your diet because it has acidophilus which can prevent bacterial infection.  Do not have it sweetened because sugar can add to your problem. Instead you can add honey to the yogurt if you want to retain the sweet taste.
  5. A healthy diet of fruit and vegetables can always help in clearing the toxins. Stay away from processed foods, fried stuff and junk food.

Tinea Versicolor Pictures

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