Tinea Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor is a skin condition defined by rashes on the trunk and proximal extremities. Most cases of tinea versicolor is caused by the Malassezia globosa fungus which becomes active in humid and warm environment.

The reasons on how the disease started is still an enigma. Pityriasis versicolor, by which it is also known, came about in 1846 and mostly affects adolescents and young adults particularly those living in warm and humid climates. The yeast which is a component of this condition feeds on skin oils as well as dead skin cells. People suffering with dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and hyperhidrosis are most likely to experience this condition as well.

Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor

Persons with the tinea versicolor may complain of occasional fine scaling of the skin that consists of superficial ash like scales, pale, dark tan or pinkish skin color with reddish undertone, sharp border, acute “pin-prick” ithing in affected areas. People with dark skin and having Tinea versicolor suffer from pigmentary changes such as hypopigmentation or loss of color which is a common symptom. Light skinned colored individuals with Tinea versicolor experience hyperpigmentation or increase in skin color.

Diagnosis of Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor may be detected and confirmed by a potassium hydroxide (KOH) preparation. Lesions may be viewed as copper orange in color when exposed to Wood’s lamp. Tinea versicolor can be treated through topical antifungal medications that contain 2.5 percent selenium sulfide. Ketoconazole or Nizoral shampoo and ointment is also an effective cure. An alternative treatment to ketoconazole is Ciclopirox which effectively suppresses the development of the yeast Malassezia furfur. Hydrogen peroxide has also been known to decrease symptoms and in some cases suppress the problems but permanent scaring may occur with this kind of treatment.


An oral antifungal medication to be prescribed by a doctor for Tinea versicolor treatment is 400 mg of ketoconazole or fluconazole but only in single dose, or 200 mg ketoconazole for 7 days.

400 mg of Itraconazole for 3 to 7 days may also be prescribed. Single dose remedies may be more effective when patient exercises for 1 to 2 hours after the dose to promote sweating which is allowed to evaporate. However, patient is not allowed to take a shower for a day to form a layer of medication on the skin.

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