Created by KW
- Also known as pityriasis versicolor
- It is a fungal infection of the skin caused by the fungus Malassezia
- Malassezia is normally found on the human skin but causes problems when they grow out of control, which happens when the conditions are favourable
SYMPTOMS1, 2, 3
- Patches of discoloured skin that may have a very fine, dust-like outer skin material (scale).
- Colour of patches can range from tan, pink, brown, or white
- Patches may be lighter or darker than your normal skin colour
- Typically occurs on the chest, back, abdomen, upper arms, and neck (i.e. upper body)
- The individual patches can join together to form larger patches
- May experience minor itching
CAUSE/RISK FACTORS1, 2, 3
- Typically occurs in hot climates
- Lots of sweating
- Oily skin (Therefore it is more commonly seen in teenagers and young adults)
- Weakened immune system
- Pevaryl Foaming Solution (Econazole 1%): Apply to wet skin, then allow to dry and leave it on overnight. Do this for 3 consecutive nights
- Nizoral Shampoo (Ketoconazole 2%): Apply and leave on for 5 minutes then wash off. Do this for 5 consecutive days
- Selsun Gold Shampoo (Selenium Sulfide 2.5%): Apply to wet skin, leave on for at least 10 minutes or overnight. Do this for 7 to 10 consecutive days
Note: All the treatment options listed above are equally effective. In pregnancy, pevaryl foaming solution is the preferred choice.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Is tinea versicolor contagious?
2. I have these patches on my lower body. Could it still be tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor typically presents itself on the upper body; however it can occur anywhere on the body.3
3. Why does the skin discolour?
The skin produces melanin that gives your skin its colour. Melanin is produced by an enzyme called tyrosinase. In tinea versicolor, the fungus secretes a substance called azelaic acid which inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme, and therefore prevents melanin from being produced. This leads to the loss of colour of the skin resulting in a lighter skin tone.4
4. What happens when I tan my skin under the sun?
The normal part of your skin will tan but the affected lesions remain discoloured because the fungus prevents the skin from tanning. This leads to a larger contrast in colours making the patches more noticeable.3
5. How long does it take for the colour of the skin to return back to normal?
Even after the infection is gone, it may take several months before your skin colour returns to normal.2
6. Can tinea versicolor return?
Yes. Since the fungus is a natural inhabitant of the human skin, recurrence is common especially under the right conditions, e.g. warm conditions2, 4
- MedlinePlus. Tinea Versicolor [Internet]. MedlinePlus [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Sept 16]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001465.htm
- Skin Sight. Tinea Versicolor [Internet]. Skin Sight [cited 2017 Sept 16]. Available from: https://www.skinsight.com/skin-conditions/child/tinea-versicolor
- American Academy of Dermatology. Tinea Versicolor [Internet]. American Academy of Dermatology [cited 2017 Sept 16]. Available from: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/color-problems/tinea-versicolor#symptoms
- Aaron, D. Tinea Versicolor [Internet]. MSD Manual [updated 2017 April; cited 2017 Sept 16]. Available from: http://www.msdmanuals.com/en-au/professional/dermatologic-disorders/fungal-skin-infections/tinea-versicolor
- Therapeutic Guidelines. Pityriasis Versicolor [Internet]. Therapeutic Guidelines [updated 2017; cited 2017 Sept 16]. Available from: https://tgldcdp.tg.org.au/viewTopic?topicfile=infected-skin&guidelineName=Dermatology#toc_d1e440