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Home :: Tinea Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

What is Tinea Versicolor ?

Tinea versicolor is a fungus infection that mainly affects the skin of young people. This common condition is unsightly, but it is neither permanent nor serious. Spots can be either light- or reddish- brown or else lighter than the surrounding skin (hence, the name "versicolor"). There may be just a few spots, or there can be so many that they run together (like a shawl) and make it seem that islands of normal skin color are the spots, not the other way around.

The patches are lightly reddish brown on very pale skin but they don't tan. Because of lack of any tanning, they look like white spots on darker or tanned skin. This is most often seen on the neck, upper chest, upper arms and back. There may be a fine, dry scale on it. Tinea versicolor is common year-round in the tropics and subtropics and is seen in the summer months in more temperate climates.

Causes of Tinea Versicolor

  • The cause of Tinea Versicolor condition is a yeast called Pityrosporum orbiculare (which also is known as Malassezia furfur).
  • People who have tinea versicolor are genetically predisposed to developing a rash when this germ is present on the skin.
  • Lack of tanning.

Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor

Usually the infection produces few symptoms, but some people get itching, especially when sweating. The warmer the weather, the worse this condition gets. Tanning booths are warm places, so avoid them. The skin rash is made up of scattered pink, tan, brown or white marks on the skin. Each person will get only one of the colors. The skin may flake at the edge of the rash spots. The rash may be itchy, especially when a person is hot or sweaty.

The skin spots may be more obvious after skin has been exposed to the sun, because these areas do not tan evenly.

Treatment of Tinea Versicolor

There is no permanent cure for tinea versicolor. However some comon treatment for tinea versicolor are :-

  • There are many anti fungal agents available to apply to the skin for the treatment of tinea versicolor.
  • The most economical effective treatment is to apply an anti fungal shampoo (Nizoral, Loprox) to the body as if it were soap, but leave it on for some minutes before rinsing.
  • Selenium sulfide 2.5 percent should be applied to the skin, between the neck and the knees, before bed every night for 2 nights and washed off the following morning.
  • For severe, extensive or recurrent cases, a few tablets of Nizoral pills will clear things up. A newer pill, Sporonox, may replace Nizoral for this problem.
Prevention for Tinea Versicolor
  • Because the rash occurs more readily in hot, humid conditions, keep your skin as dry and cool as possible when you are in this climate.
  • Keep your own towel when you have a fungal skin infection.

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