What is tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor is a harmless rash caused by a yeast (pityrosporum orbiculare) which grows normally on the skin. In some people a more active growth occurs, usually in hot humid weather. It causes slightly scaly patches on the back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. They may be brown, red, or white. White patches occur since tanning won’t occur in the rash areas. The failure to tan is temporary. The skin tans normally after the rash has cleared up. It can occasionally be itchy. Because the organism is a normal inhabitant of the skin, it is common to get recurrences after adequate treatment. It is not contagious.
Tinea versicolor treatments
Several topical treatments are available.
- Selenium sulfide shampoo or Zinc pyrithione shampoo – Selsun Blue, 2.5% Selenium Sulfide (by prescription), Head and Shoulders, Neutrogena Daily Control
Apply in a thin layer on the skin from the neck to the waist. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse. Repeat daily for 2 weeks.
To prevent yearly outbreaks –use one of the above shampoos as a lotion over entire area (chest and back). Leave on 20 minutes, then rinse. Do this daily for one week each month, from April to August
- Xologel , Ketoconazole cream, Extina Foam, Ertaczo cream, Loprox shampoo
Apply to affected areas twice a day for 2-3 weeks. Xologel is only needed once a day for 2 weeks.
More extensive cases may require Oral treatment:
Fluconazole – 300mg tablets Take one tablet (300 mg tablet) or two (150 mg tablets) on week one, then, Repeat in one week.
The treatments remove only the patches of tinea versicolor. The white or dark spots will take several weeks to months of recovery before they blend in with the normal skin**. The condition often recurs each summer. Treatment with pills, medicated shampoos or medicated creams in the spring months may prevent its recurrence.