Tinea versicolor, also known as pityriasis versicolor is a common skin condition that is caused by a type of yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is normally found on the skin but can overgrow and cause patches. Tinea versicolor often affects the chest and back but can occur in any part of the body. The patches are usually not itchy or painful, but can sometimes be scaly. The yeast that causes tinea versicolor often affects people who are young and live in warm, humid climates. Treatment for tinea versicolor typically involves antifungal medications. These can be applied to the skin or taken orally. In most cases, the rash will go away with treatment.
What are the symptoms of tinea versicolor?
The most common symptom of tinea versicolor is a rash that appears as one or more patches of skin that are scaly, flaky, and discolored. The affected areas may be white, pink, red, tan, light brown, or dark brown. It often appears on the chest, back, neck, or arms. The patches are usually itchy and may be accompanied by a burning sensation. In some cases, the skin may also be swollen and tender.
Other symptoms may include:
- Small, raised bumps
- Dry skin
- Cracking or peeling skin
- Is itchy
- May have a burning sensation
If the rash covers a large area of your body, it may cause fatigue.
What causes tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor is caused by a type of yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is normally found on the skin but can overgrow and cause a rash. Tinea versicolor often affects people who are young and live in warm, humid climates.
What are the risk factors for tinea versicolor?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing tinea versicolor, including:
- A family history of tinea versicolor
- Being between the ages of 15 and 29
- Having oily skin
- Sweating excessively
- Wearing tight clothing
- Having a weakened immune system
How is tinea versicolor treated?
There are a number of over-the-counter and prescription treatments available for tinea versicolor. Treatment options include medicated shampoos, creams, lotions, and oral medications.
Medicated shampoos containing selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or zinc pyrithione can help to treat tinea versicolor. These shampoos are typically used once or twice a week for four to eight weeks.
Creams, lotions, and gels containing antifungal medications such as ketoconazole or clotrimazole can also be effective in treating tinea versicolor. These products are usually applied to the affected areas once or twice a day for four to eight weeks.
Oral antifungal medications such as fluconazole or itraconazole may be prescribed in more severe cases of tinea versicolor. These medications are usually taken for one to two weeks.
In most cases, tinea versicolor can be successfully treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. However, the condition may recur and may require ongoing treatment to keep it under control.
How can tinea versicolor be prevented?
There are a number of things you can do to help prevent tinea versicolor, including:
- Washing the affected areas with a medicated shampoo or soap.
- Drying the skin thoroughly after bathing or swimming.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
- Use an antifungal powder in the groin area if you are prone to sweating.
- Wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing in hot, humid weather.
- Treating any other fungal infections promptly.
Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition that can cause patches on the skin. It is often treated with medicated shampoos, creams, lotions, or oral medications. In most cases, the condition can be successfully treated but may recur. Taking steps to prevent tinea versicolor can help to reduce the risk of developing the condition.