Pronounced: tin-EE-ah ver-si-COH-lar; pit-AH-rye-i-sis ver-si-COH-lar
Dermatomycosis is a skin infection caused by fungi or yeast. Tinea versicolor is a type of dermatomycosis caused by a yeast that affects skin color.
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The fungus that causes tinea versicolor is normally found in small numbers on the skin and scalp. Overgrowth of the yeast leads to infection.
These factors increase your chance of developing tinea versicolor:
Tinea versicolor usually affects the back, chest, and neck. It can result in uneven skin color which can last for months after the infection is gone.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (a dermatologist).
The doctor may use an ultraviolet light to see the patches more clearly. A patch may be scraped and sent for testing.
Treatment options for tinea versicolor include the following:
Antifungal creams and shampoos such as selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, and zinc pyrithione are usually the preferred medicines to treat the infection. They are usually applied daily for one to four weeks.
Prescription antifungal medications taken by mouth are convenient. You also do not have to take them for a long period. However, they are more expensive and can cause side effects. Some people cannot take antifungal medications. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking and any medical problems you have.
After the infection is successfully treated, your skin may naturally return to its normal color. This process usually takes several months. The condition may improve in the winter only to return in the summer.
American Academy of Dermatology
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
The College of Family Physician of Canada
The Dermatologist.ca Directory
Tinea versicolor. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org... . Accessed November 19, 2012.
Tinea versicolor. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childre... . Accessed November 19, 2012.
Tinea versicolor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated October 24, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2013