Tinea versicolor is a common fungal skin infection caused by yeast on the skin. It is also called pityriasis versicolor. It is characterized by lighter or darker patches on the skin. Patches are most often found on the chest or back. It occurs mostly in adolescence and early adulthood due to oily skin, but it can occur at any time. Usually, the only symptom of tinea versicolor is the white or light brown patches with well-defined borders. Patches may scale slightly, but rarely itch or hurt.

The patches seen with this condition are unique, and usually allow the diagnosis to be made on physical examination. An ultraviolet light, called a Woods Lamp, may be used to see the patches more clearly or, a skin scraping of the lesions can also help confirm the diagnosis.

How is Tinea Versicolor treated?

Treatment usually includes the use of an antifungal or dandruff shampoo on the skin, topical creams or oral antifungal medication as prescribed. Tinea versicolor usually recurs, requiring additional treatments. It is also important to know that improvement in the skin may be only temporary, and a recurrence of the condition is possible. The treatment will not bring the normal color back to the skin immediately. This will occur naturally and may take several months.