Tinea versicolor(pityriasis versicolor) is a common skin infection that disrupts the normal coloration of the skin, resulting in the appearance of small patches. These discolored areas may also be itchy and flaky. Small spots can later blend into larger patches, usually on the oily parts of the upper body like your chest and back. These spots become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin areas. Here we offer information, including some tinea versicolor pictures to help you recognize and deal with this common condition.
When you have tinea versicolor, you may have small, flat, round or oval spots that can coalesce to form bigger patches.
During summer, these spots become very noticeable because they do not turn dark or tan unlike the rest of the skin after being exposed to sunlight. They are also more common in places where there is warm and humid temperature. However, they become less noticeable during winter, when they seem to go away.
Symptoms and signs of tinea versicolor include:
Tinea versicolor can affect anyone, regardless of natural skin color (see tinea versicolor pictures below). Spots are usually of one color in every person. Parts of the body that are commonly affected include:
The cause of this infection is a group of yeasts commonly found on normal skin. These consist of Pityrosporum orbiculare and Povale, which live on the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) and the hair follicles. These also tend to have an affinity for the oil glands. These yeasts do not usually cause infection, but certain factors can cause them to produce rashes characteristic of tinea versicolor.
Some of the risk factors leading to the skin infection include:
Other factors that can influence your risk of being infected with tinea versicolor include:
It is often identified by physical examination of the rash. Diagnosis may be augmented with the use of ultraviolet light, which makes the affected areas look fluorescent (color yellow-green).
A skin scraping may be obtained by your doctor from the areas affected. The skin sample is sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination to confirm your diagnosis. In children, a clear tape may be used to lift skin sample from the affected areas. The skin sample stuck to the tape is then placed directly on a glass slide to be examined under a microscope.
Topical: These medications are applied locally to the affected skin.
Here are some natural remedies if you find you have skin lesions similar to the tinea versicolor pictures above:
Tinea versicolor is sometimes difficult to treat because it tends to recur even after treatment. One way to prevent this is to treat your skin with the medicated shampoos every 2 to 4 weeks. This can keep the fungus away and prevent them from spreading or recurring. If your infection keeps recurring, ask your doctor if you can take oral antifungal tablets for 1-3 days every month as an alternative preventative measure.