Dr. M.J. Bazos,
Tinea versicolor is a common
skin disorder caused by a type of yeast. This yeast is normally found on the
skin of most individuals. During hot, humid weather the yeast can overgrow and
cause changes in the skin. Tinea versicolor is not considered to be contagious.
It is usually diagnosed on visual inspection, but examination of a small sample
of infected skin under a microscope can be helpful. Tinea versicolor is
treatable but cure usually takes weeks to
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Tinea versicolor starts as
small, tan, scaly patches on the skin, most commonly on the back and upper
chest. The neck and arms can also be affected. These can grow and come together
to form large patches. When exposed to the sun, the patches do not tan, so they
appear lighter than surrounding
such as selenium suspension 1/2 are usually prescribed to treat tinea
versicolor. First bathe and dry off. Apply the lotion to all the involved areas.
Wash the medicine off after 24 hours, and repeat once a week for 4 weeks.
Retreatment every 3 months may be necessary in some cases. If selenium
suspension irritates sensitive skin, then apply for 10 minutes only. Repeat this
every day for 3 days, then once a week for 1 month. Your doctor may prescribe
other topical lotions or creams if selenium does not work. In cases that do not
respond to topical medications, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal
medication to be taken orally. Antifungal pills taken by mouth rarely cause
changes in liver function tests, and your doctor may periodically check your
• Take all medications as
prescribed, and follow your doctor’s recommendations for
• Keep skin clean and dry;
dampness causes tinea versicolor to grow
• Bathe and dry off every
day, and wear clean cotton
• When your skin is
improved, inspect it weekly for recurrences and begin treatment early. It is
easier to treat smaller areas.
patient. Even after treatment it can take months for pigment to return to the
• Use sunscreen
during treatment, and wear a hat and long- sleeve shirt when in the
• Don’t apply
lotions or creams to red, inflamed, or swollen areas on the skin, or to any
break in the skin.
• Avoid the sun
especially from 11 AM
Sun tanning will cause tinea versicolor to look
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• If not improved after 3
or 4 months.
• If any other symptoms
occur such as skin redness or swelling.