What is tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor is a mild yeast infection of the skin. Yeasts are a type of fungus.
Tinea versicolor causes scaly patches on your skin that are tan, brown, pink, or white
Tinea versicolor is harmless and doesn't spread from person to person
Doctors treat tinea versicolor with skin products, shampoos, and sometimes medicine
The infection often comes back after treatment
What causes tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor is caused by a yeast infection. It's different from the yeast infection called candidiasis Candidiasis (Yeast Infection) Candidiasis is an infection by Candida yeast. Because yeast is a type of fungus, candidiasis is a fungal infection, but it's usually referred to as a yeast infection. Candida yeast usually live... read more (thrush).
You're more likely to get tinea versicolor if you:
Are a young adult
Are in a hot, humid place
What are the symptoms of tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor usually causes scaly patches of skin that are tan, brown, pink, or white. The patches don't tan, so they may become more obvious in the summer.
The patches are usually on your:
How can doctors tell if I have tinea versicolor?
Doctors can tell by looking at the patches. To know for sure, they may use a UV light to look at your skin. Tinea glows under UV light and other rashes don't. Doctors sometimes take small scrapings from your skin to look at under a microscope.
How do doctors treat tinea versicolor?
Doctors may treat tinea versicolor with:
Antifungal cream to put on your patches
Special shampoo, if you have patches on your scalp
Medicine by mouth, if you have patches all over your body or get tinea versicolor often
Your skin may not go back to its normal color for months or years after treatment.
The infection often comes back after treatment. To keep it from coming back, doctors may have you use special soap or apply antifungal cream once a month.