Tinea versicolor is also referred to as pityriasis versicolor. This condition is in fact a fungal infection associated with the skin. This condition influences that normal pigmentation of the skin causing small discolored patches to appear on the skin. Tinea versicolor is often characterized with appearance of rashes on torso as well as extremities. The patches that appear on the skin due to the condition can be lighter or darker than the normal skin tone. Such dermatologic discoloration is also seen on the shoulder of the affected individual. The condition is common in young adults as well as teenagers. Skin irregularities may become more prominent due to exposure to sun.
Recent studies have indicated that majority of cases of Tinea versicolor is caused due to Malassezia globosa fungus; however, Malassezia furfur is also responsible for some number of cases of the condition. These are the yeasts that are also often present on skin of humans. These may colonize the skin, which means that they may be present but do not infect the skin. However, they may get triggered under some circumstances such as humid and warm environment. Since the condition is not well studied that exact cause that initiates the infection is not certainly understood; nevertheless, here are some commonly recorded factors that may lead to pityriasis versicolor.
- Hot and humid climate
- Oily skin
- Hormonal changes
- Weakened immune system
Symptoms of tinea versicolor
This dermatologic issue is also accompanied with several symptoms and signs. Some of its symptoms are explained below:
- Discoloration of skin occurring in patches which may be darker or lighter than normal skin
- Fine scales sometimes occur on the skin which create an ash-like scaly appearance
- The patches are often seen on the back, torso and shoulders; however, they may appear anywhere on the body.
- There may be pale, pinkish or dark tan discolored patched with reddish undertone. These patches may become darker when the patient is exposed to too much heat. Tanning causes higher contrast between affected and normal skin region
- Sharper border of the patches
- Tinea versicolor can recur every summer season as it is caused due to hot and humid climate
- In some cases the affected skin region may cause pin-prick like itchy sensation
In people with darker skin complexion skin pigmentary alterations, particularly hypo pigmentation may be common. Hypo pigmentation is a condition wherein skin loses its color. On the other hand people with lighter skin tone may suffer from hyper-pigmentation wherein the skin becomes comparatively darker.
Diagnosis for Tinea Versicolor
You should consult a doctor immediately and get yourself diagnosed if the skin alteration is persistent and does not heal despite of self-care measures. Do not allow the patches to increase and cover larger body region. Your doctor may try to rule out other possibilities by suggesting diagnosis. However, in most cases the health expert can diagnose the condition just by looking at it. To confirm the prevalence of the condition doctor may also sometimes suggest biopsy which is often done in laboratory. In this case a tiny sample from your skin is retrieved and evaluated under microscope.
Treatment for tinea versicolor
Topical anti-fungal solutions
One of the highly suggested treatments for tinea versicolor includes topical solution that contains 2.5% selenium sulfide. This may work for some affected individuals but not all, especially if the solutions contains merely 1% of selenium sulfide. For using any topical solutions that contains more than 1% of selenium, doctor’s prescription is often needed. Ketoconazole is another solution which is available in ointment or shampoo form. This solution should be applied on the dry skin area and should be washed away after 10 minutes. This treatment should be followed for 2 weeks. Ciclopirox is an alternative topical cream for ketoconazole. Some other topical anti-fungal substances include clotrimazole, teribinafine, miconazole, etc.
Oral Anti-fungal medicines
There are various prescription- only anti-fungal medicines which are taken orally. These medicines may often contain Ketoconazole 400mg or fluconazole in every dose. Doctor may also suggest 200 mg ketoconazole to be consumed daily for around a week. For some patient medicines that contain itraconazole 400 mg may be suggested which must be taken for 3 to 7 days. Doctor may instruct the consumer to either follow a pulse therapy treatment or single dose regimen. In pulse therapy regiment the dosage can be made effective by asking patient to exercise for 1 to 2 hours after consuming the dosage. This technique is said to be beneficial as exercises cause sweating through which content of medicine is also palpitated. The patient is asked to delay bathing for the next day to allow sweat (containing medicinal substance) coat the affected skin.
In some cases it is recorded that use of Senna alata is also beneficial. Intermittent use of selenium sulfide or tea tree oil can help in reducing recurrence of tinea versicolor episodes. However,occurring skin irregularity may also indicate any other underlying condition. Hence, taking doctor’s advice for treating the condition is beneficial.