Tinea versicolor is a type of
that is caused by a yeast that interferes with normal tanning. Dermatomycosis is a term that includes a variety of superficial skin infections caused by fungi or yeast. These types of infections almost always only affect skin, hair, and/or nails. In people with severe immune problems, these infections can become more serious and invasive.
Tinea versicolor can result in uneven skin color. Tinea versicolor usually affects the back, upper arms, underarms, chest, and neck. It rarely affects the face.
The fungus that causes tinea versicolor,
is normally present in small numbers on the skin and scalp. Overgrowth of the yeast leads to infection.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for tinea versicolor include:
Age: more common in adolescents and young adults
Sex: more common in men
Skin: more common in people with naturally oily or excessively sweaty skin
Climate: more common in warm and humid
Uneven skin color, with either white or light brown patches
Light scaling on affected areas
Slight itching, which is worse when the person is hot
Patches most noticeable in summer months
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may need to be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (a dermatologist).
The doctor may use an ultraviolet light to see the patches more clearly and may scrape the patch to send a sample for testing.
Treatment options for tinea versicolor include the following:
Medications Applied to the Skin
Selenium sulfide lotion (2.5%) or shampoo (1%) applied daily for a week and then monthly for several months to prevent recurrences. Several other medicated creams and ointments are also available.
Medications Taken by Mouth
Prescription antifungal medications taken by mouth have the advantage of convenience and shorter treatment duration. However, they are more expensive and associated with more adverse effects. Some people cannot take antifungal medications. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking and any medical problems you have.
Once the infection is successfully treated, your skin will naturally return to its normal color. However, this process usually takes several months. Also, the condition may improve in the winter only to return again in the summer months.
Avoiding excessive heat and sweating may reduce your risk of tinea versicolor.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a