Understanding Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is a widespread skin fungal infection. The fungus hinders the normal pigmentation of the skin, producing in small, discolored spots. These spots can be darker or lighter in skin tone than the rest of your surrounding skin, and most cases affect the chest and shoulders.

Tinea versicolor typically happens in teens and young adults. Sun exposure can cause tinea versicolor to become more visible. Tinea versicolor, which is also named pityriasis versicolor, is not contagious or painful. But it can lead to self-consciousness or emotional distress.

Antifungal creams, shampoos, or lotions can assist in treating tinea versicolor. However, even after adequate treatment, skin color can remain uneven for anywhere from several weeks or months. Tinea versicolor often reappears, particularly in warm, humid weather.

Symptoms
Tinea versicolor symptoms include:

  • Patches of skin discoloration, usually on the back, chest, neck and upper arms, which may appear lighter or darker than usual
  • Mild itching
  • Scaling

When to see a doctor:
Your skin does not improve with self-care treatment
The fungal infection returns
The spots/patches spread large areas of your body

Causes
The fungus that generates tinea versicolor can be detected on healthy skin. It only starts creating p

roblems when the fungus overgrows. Some factors may trigger this growth, including:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Oily skin
  • Hot, humid weather
  • Hormonal changes

Prevention
To help stop tinea versicolor from reappearing, your physician can designate a skin or oral treatment that you apply once or twice a month. You may require to use these only during warm and humid months. Preventive therapies include:

  • Nizoral (Nizoral, Ketoconazole, others) gel, cream or shampoo
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun) 2.5 percent shampoo or lotion
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets or oral solution
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox, Onmel) tablets, pills or oral solution

Diagnosis
Your physician can likely diagnose tinea versicolor by evaluating your skin visually. If there’s any unclarity, he or she may necessitate a small skin sample from the infected region and observe them under a microscope.

 

What is Malassezia?

Treatment
If tinea versicolor is severe or does respond to over-the-counter antifungal medicine, you may require a prescription-strength medicine. Some of these medications are topical mixtures that you rub on your skin. Others are pills that you swallow. Examples include:

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets or oral solution
  • Nizoral (Nizoral, Ketoconazole, others) gel, cream or shampoo
  • Ciclopirox (Loprox, Penlac) cream, gel or shampoo
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets or oral solution
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun) 2.5 percent shampoo or lotion
  • Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) capsules, tablets, or oral solution

Even after successful treatment, your skin color may remain uneven for several weeks, or even months. Also, the infection may recur in humid, hot weather. In persistent cases, you may want to take a medication once or twice a month to stop the infection from recurring.

Lifestyle and home remedies
For a mild diagnosis of tinea versicolor, you can use an over-the-counter antifungal cream, lotion, ointment or shampoo. Most fungal infections react well to these topical agents, which include:

Zinc pyrithione soap
Miconazole (Micaderm) cream
Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) cream or lotion
Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) cream or gel
Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue) 1 percent lotion

When using lotions, ointments, or creams, wash and dry the impacted area. Then apply a thin coating of the product once or twice a day for nearly two weeks. If you’re using shampoo, rinse it off after waiting five to 10 minutes. If you don’t see a restoration after four weeks, see your physician. You may need a more powerful medication.

It also helps to guard your skin against the sun and artificial sources of UV light. Typically, the skin tone evens out ultimately.

Getting Ready for your appointment
You’re likely to begin by first visiting your family doctor or a general practitioner. He or she may treat you or introduce you to a specialist in skin disorders (dermatologist).

What can you do
Preparing a list of questions before you meet up, can help you maximize your time with your physician. For tinea versicolor, some fundamental questions to ask your physician include:

  1. How did I get tinea versicolor?
  2. Do I need any tests?
  3. What are other possible causes?
  4. What treatments are possible, and which do you recommend?
  5. What side effects can I anticipate from treatment?
  6. Is tinea versicolor temporary or long lasting?
  7. What side effects can I expect from treatment?
  8. Can I do anything to assist, such as avoid the sun at particular times or wear a specific sunscreen?
  9. I have other health conditions. How can I best treat them together?
  10. Are there a generic options for the medicine you’re prescribing me?
  11. How long will it take for my skin to be healthy again?