What Is Tinea Versicolor?
Even clean skin will always have a small amount of yeast living on it. However, too much yeast could lead to a fungal infection known as tinea versicolor. Also called pityriasis versicolor, this skin infection causes discoloration as lighter and/or darker spots of pigment develop. Sometimes misdiagnosed as a rash or vitiligo, we will carefully diagnose and then treat tinea versicolor it as a fungal infection. If you are concerned that you may have tinea versicolor or another skin condition, schedule a consultation at Advanced Dermatology. We are dedicated to providing great skin care to patients in Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX and preventing future outbreaks.
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What Causes Tinea Versicolor?
Tinea versicolor occurs when the natural yeast on the skin is overgrown. Some factors that commonly trigger overgrowth are oily skin, frequent sweating, and a weak immune system. An outbreak of this skin infection is more likely to occur in people who live in a hot or humid climate. Teens and young adults are most likely to be affected, as well as athletes and people who have an active lifestyle.
What Are the Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor?
Tinea versicolor may develop anywhere on the skin, but it is most common on the arms, back, chest, and neck. The infection typically looks like a rash as spots or patches of skin become lighter or darker. The spots may be white, pink, red, or brown and may be more obvious when you have a tan. The infected skin may feel dry or scaly, but in most cases, it should not be itchy or painful.
Our practitioners can easily diagnose tinea versicolor with a physical exam, possibly aided by an ultraviolet light. If there's any doubt, we may gently scrape the skin and look at the skin cells under a microscope. Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment options will be discussed.
How is Tinea Versicolor Treated?
Treatment of tinea versicolor may vary from topical antifungals to oral medication, depending on the severity of your condition. Washing your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and keeping the skin dry is the first step for treatment. Your provider at Advanced Dermatology may prescribe a topical antifungal medication (cream, gel, or shampoo) based on the location of the infection. Many of our patients also have success with oral medications. If the outbreak is widespread, both a topical and an oral medication may be recommended.
It's important to understand that even though the skin is healed, it could take weeks or longer for the skin to appear normal. The discoloration and scaling will eventually fade. Once the infection is treated, our team can offer helpful suggestions to prevent reoccurrence. Some tips include using oil-free skin products, reducing sun exposure, and wearing loose clothing in breathable fabrics. If you live in a humid environment or you sweat a lot, showering and staying dry is very helpful to keep the fungus at bay. A medicated cleanser may also be prescribed for you to use 1 – 2 times a month.
Tinea Versicolor FAQ
When should I see a doctor for tinea versicolor?
If you're trying to decide whether you should visit Advanced Dermatology for diagnosis and treatment, the most common indicators you may need to see a doctor for your tinea versicolor typically include: no skin improvement with self-care treatments, the discolored patches cover large areas of your body, and the symptoms go away and return. The sooner your symptoms are diagnosed and treated, the better the treatment outcomes can be.
What can I do to reduce symptoms of tinea versicolor?
While many treatments include medications, there are a few things you can do at home to reduce symptoms of and risks for tinea versicolor. You can avoid cosmetics and skin products that cause oily skin, reduce situations and activities that cause heavy sweating, avoid hot, humid weather, and wear light, loose-fitting clothing to help you stay drier and cooler.
What are some common treatments for tinea versicolor?
Depending on your symptoms and needs, our skilled team of doctors will personalize your treatment for your unique needs. The most common treatments for tinea versicolor include:
- Tablets and oral solutions (Fluconazole, Itraconazole)
- Creams, gels, shampoos, lotions (Selenium sulfide, Ketoconazole)
- Zinc pyrithione soap
Is tinea versicolor contagious?
No, it is not. You cannot catch tinea versicolor from another person nor can you give it to someone else.
Don't Let it Leave Its Mark
If you notice discolored patches or spots on your skin, it is important to have it assessed. Tinea versicolor generally does not go away on its own but can be effectively treated with medications and topical creams. For skin infections like tinea versicolor, schedule a consultation at Advanced Dermatology in Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX.