Tinea versicolor is the overgrowth of yeast on the skin. Yeast normally lives on our skin; it is believed that the following occurrences cause tinea versicolor:
Your dermatologist may tell you that you have a fungal infection on your skin. You cannot get tinea versicolor from another person, and you cannot give it to another person. It is one of the most common skin diseases in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. People who live in tropical areas may have tinea versicolor year round.
The first signs of tinea versicolor are often spots on the skin; other signs and symptoms are:
A dermatologist can often look at the skin and tell whether a patient has tinea versicolor. If there is any doubt, the dermatologist will do one of the following to make an accurate diagnosis:
What a dermatologist prescribes depends on the area, how much of the skin is affected, how thick the spots are and the climate. Treatment usually consists of a topical medication such as antifungal cream/ointment or a shampoo. If the patient lives in a hot and humid climate chances are tinea versicolor will return; a medicated cleanser used once or twice a month is recommended to prevent the yeast from overgrowing again.
If the tinea versicolor covers a large portion of the body, spots are large and thick or the infection returns often, a pill form of antifungal medication may be prescribed. The downside to an oral antifungal are the unwanted side effects. A dermatologist will have to monitor you closely if this treatment is necessary. If tinea versicolor is mild, you maybe able to use over the counter products to treat the area.
When using these products dermatologists recommend the following:
With treatment, the yeast is easy to kill. The skin may stay lighter (or darker) for a few weeks or months but will return to its normal color. To help even out the skin tone you should protect your skin by using sunscreen.