Tinea versicolor

May 2017


Definition


Tinea versicolor is a skin disease that results in the appearance of spots on the skin. This rash is actually a fungus, caused by Malassezia furfur. The disease is manifested mainly in young subjects and more frequently during hot weather, heat being a favorable environment for the development of this fungus. Tinea versicolor is common in cases of excessive sweating on oily skin and can thus be promoted by the application of greasy substances such as sunscreens. The spots are sometimes hyperpigmented, i.e. darker than the usual skin color of the individual, or more often hypopigmented, clearer, especially on skin that is a little darker. This condition is benign; its only drawback is the unsightly appearance that results.

Symptoms


Symptoms of tinea versicolor are represented by the appearance of spots mainly on the chest, back and scalp. Other areas such as the arms can be, more rarely, the sites of occurrence. Depending on the texture of the skin, these patches can be browner or discolored. Tinea versicolor is visible and therefore annoying but it does not cause pain or itching. The disease is common in the summer and tends to fade in the winter.

Diagnosis


The diagnosis for tinea versicolor is clinical, i.e. based on the single symptom that causes it: skin spots. No further examination is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment


To treat tinea versicolor, a doctor or dermatologist will prescribe an antifungal medication to destroy the overgrowth of the fungus. Most often ketoconazole-based solutions are prescribed.

Prevention


It is impossible to prevent tinea versicolor, but its progression can be slowed. For this it is essential to:
  • Avoid sun exposure (for individuals having ever had tinea versicolor);
  • wear cotton clothing, if possible, that is not too tight to avoid maceration;
  • preventive treatment may sometimes be required before periods of hot weather to avoid the development of fungus.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM by Jeff.
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