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Tinea Versicolor

more about Tinea Versicolor


Pityriasis versicolor, tinea versicolor, or T flava



  • Tinea versicolor is caused by a yeast infection of the skin that results in a rash.
  • Tinea versicolor is usually hypopigmented (lighter than surrounding skin) in areas that are sun-exposed, and hyperpigmented (darker than surrounding skin) in areas that are covered by clothing.
  • Treatment is usually successful, but the rash may come back without continued treatment.

  • Usually, it is asymptomatic (without symptoms) other than rash.  In a small number of people, it may be itchy.
  • The rash can be tan, pink, white, or brown in color.  Usually, there are many small spots of discolored skin.  The rash is not very scaly when compared to other fungal infections of the skin.
  • It is most often found on the upper part of the chest and back.
  • Often, people notice that the areas with the infection/rash do not tan well.
  • Unlike ringworm, with which it is often confused, tinea versicolor does not grow in size or have an "active border" of heaped and dense scales, and is not associated with hair loss.

  • Tinea versicolor is due to a yeast infection of the skin.
  • The yeast that causes the rash is found on almost all of us.  However, it only affects a few people.  It is not known why only some people develop the infection.

  • Examination -- the doctor easily recognizes the typical appearance of the rash.
  • The doctor may also scrape the rash and examine it under the microscope.
  • Sometimes a culture of the rash may be needed to make the diagnosis.

  • Topical treatments are the mainstay of therapy.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoo applied for several minutes daily and rinsed, for 10 days to 2 weeks.  This is usually repeated in one month.
  • Other topical antifungals are also effective.
  • In difficult cases, oral medication may be necessary, but these drugs have a higher risk of side effects.

  • Because tinea versicolor is infectious, it is best prevented by treating those who are infected.




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