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What Is Tinea Versicolor and What Are Common Symptoms?

By August 15, 2017May 11th, 2023dermatologists, Dermatology, Skin Care

Tinea versicolor is a common fungal infection of the skin that causes discolored blotches on the torso as well as the neck and arms. It’s found more frequently in areas with hot and humid climates, much like Louisiana. A licensed dermatologist can diagnose and advise on treatment options. Those options may include prescription-strength creams and antifungal pills, depending on the extent and severity of the infection.

What Causes Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is caused by an overabundance of a particular type of yeast known as Malassezia on the skin. Malassezia is found on everyone’s skin and normally lives in a harmonious, symbiotic relationship with the body. But, for reasons not fully understood, the yeast occasionally proliferates too rapidly, causing the condition known as tinea versicolor. Fungal growth is encouraged by warm and moist conditions, so excessive sweat, humid climate, and oily skin are all factors that exacerbate the condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor causes discolored patches of skin in the infected area. Usually, these patches are lighter than the surrounding skin, but they may also be darker. The skin around the patches will become more prominent with outdoor or indoor tanning. In some cases, the patches of skin can become rough and scaly.

How Do You Treat Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the severity of the infection. For mild to moderate cases of tinea versicolor, the dermatologist might recommend one of the several over-the-counter topical antifungal creams. There are also stronger, specialized creams that your dermatologist can prescribe. For the most serious cases, where the infection covers a large portion of the body or returns despite repeated treatment with topical creams, a dermatologist might recommend antifungal pills to be taken for a short period of time.

If you notice any of the symptoms of tinea versicolor, visit the board-certified experts at the Dermatology Clinic, a trusted name in Baton Rouge since 1947.