Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin caused by fungus Malassezia furfur.
Tinea versicolor also was known as Pityriasis versicolor.

The fungus Malassezia is a type of yeast found on the surface of the skin normally and doesn’t cause any health problems
Sometimes, however, this yeast can grow out of control and affect the natural color or pigmentation of your skin.
Because the tinea versicolor fungus is part of the normal skin flora, this condition is not contagious.

Causes of tinea versicolor:

Tinea versicolor is more common in males compared to females.
It is most common in the teens, young adults and also in older individuals.

Yeast can grow out of control by triggering factors, that include:

Sun exposure
oily skin
hot and humid weather
excessive sweating
steroid therapy
suppressed immune system
oral contraceptives
hormonal changes

Sign and Symptoms of tinea versicolor:

  • Skin with discolored patches is the most noticeable symptom of tinea versicolor, and these patches usually seen on the arms, chest, neck, or back.

  • Patches that do not tan the way the rest of your skin does.

  • Patches that may be white, pink, red, or brown and can be lighter or darker than the skin around them.

  • The Azelaic acid that produced by Malassezia, is responsible for the loss of pigment.

  • Sometimes, They may be dry and scaly and may itch or hurt, although this is not common.

  • Patches may disappear when the temperature drops and return in the spring or summer when the air turns warm and humid.



The diagnosis of tinea versicolor is often made clinically just by looking at the patches.

If in doubt the best way to make a diagnosis is with a potassium hydroxide (KOH) scraping that shows a characteristic “spaghetti and meatballs” of hyphae

With the Wood’s light examination. This special machine, which uses ultraviolet light.
The affected skin will appear yellow or green under the light if the yeast is present.


Some of these medications are given topically i.e, you rub on your skin.
Others are drugs that you take orally i.e, swallow.
Examples include:

Ketoconazole cream, gel or shampoo.
Selenium sulfide (Selsun) 2.5 percent lotion or shampoo.
Fluconazole tablets.


Treatment usually eliminates the fungal infection.
However, the discoloration or patches on the skin may take several months to resolve.


Tips for managing tinea versicolor:

  • Avoid using oily skin products.

  • Reduce your exposure to the sun. Exposure to the sun may trigger or worsen an episode, and a tan makes the rash more visible.

  • Put on sunscreen every day non-greasy formula with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.

  • Do not wear tight clothing.

  • Wear cotton fabrics, to decrease sweating.

    -Dr. Krishna Priya




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