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Tinea Versicolor: Good Hygienic Routines to Follow

Introduction

Tinea Versicolor, also called ‘Pityriasis versicolor’, is a type of fungal infection. It results from the overgrowth of a kind of fungus that lives on your body. The infection commonly appears as white, pink, tan, or brown patches on the body. Sometimes, these individual patches may join together and form bigger patches.

Tinea Versicolor occurs more frequently in teenagers and young adults. Antifungal treatment options for Tinea Versicolor include lotions, creams, and shampoos. In most cases, the infection often recurs, especially in humid and warm weather.

What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast from the Malassezia family. The fungus Malassezia normally does not cause any problems. Many microscopic organisms, including yeast, live on your skin to protect you from infections. The microorganisms also protect you from pathogens that may harm your skin.

Sometimes, the yeast grows uncontrollably, causing discolored patches on the skin. These patches are mostly found on the shoulders, neck, chest, and back. Depending on your skin color, the discolored patches may be lighter or darker in color.

In people with darker skin, Tinea Versicolor may result in the loss of skin color. It is known as hypopigmentation. In people with fairer skin, tinea versicolor may cause darker skin patches. It is known as hyperpigmentation.

What are the Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor?

Discoloration or pigmentation of the skin is one of the most common symptoms of Tinea Versicolor. The discolored patches may be:

  • Itchy, dry, or scaly
  • Lighter or darker than the surrounding skin
  • Brown, pink, red, or tan
  • Prone to disappear in less humid weather
  • More prominent with tanning

The discolored patches may get worse during humid and warm weather. The condition may get better during cold and less humid weather.

If you notice any discolored patches on your skin without any possible causes, immediately seek medical assistance.

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When Should You Visit a Doctor?

Immediately visit a doctor if, along with the symptoms mentioned above, you experience:

  • The return of the fungal infection
  • No improvement in the skin with self-care measures
  • Large patches of discolored skin on your body

What are the Causes of Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea Versicolor occurs when the yeast present on the skin grows uncontrollably. Doctors couldn’t find the reason behind this overgrowth yet. However, the following factors are believed to promote the growth of the yeast:

  • Oily skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Humid and hot climate
  • Weak immune system
  • Hormonal changes

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Tinea Versicolor?

Several biological and environmental factors can increase your chances of developing Tinea Versicolor, such as:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Family history of the condition
  • Weak immune system
  • Some types of cancer
  • Taking medicines that may weaken the immune system
  • A warm and humid climate

Tinea Versicolor can affect people of any skin color. Since the yeast grows on an individual’s skin, the condition is not contagious. Adolescents and young adults are mostly diagnosed with the majority of cases of Tinea Versicolor. In some patients, it may cause feelings of self-consciousness or emotional distress.

How is Tinea Versicolor Diagnosed?

If you develop strangely discolored patches on the skin and cannot treat it at home, visit a doctor. The doctor will physically examine your skin. The doctor may be able to tell if you have Tinea Versicolor just by looking at the discoloration of the skin.

A doctor does more tests if there is a need for more information for diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Skin Biopsy

The doctor will scrape a small patch of the skin for laboratory analysis. The skin cells will be viewed under a microscope to look for yeast that may have caused the infection.

  • Wood Lamp Examination

For this test, the doctor will use ultraviolet light. If you have Tinea Versicolor, the light will make the discolored patches appear a fluorescent coppery orange color.

  • Microscopy using potassium hydroxide

The doctor will take out a small patch of your skin and soak it in a solution of potassium hydroxide. The skin patch will then be viewed under a microscope to detect Tinea Versicolor.

What are the Treatment Options Available for Tinea Versicolor?

Depending on the symptoms and severity of Tinea Versicolor, the doctor will devise a treatment plan for you. The standard treatment options include antifungal creams, lotions, ointments, and shampoos. In severe cases of Tinea Versicolor, the doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

  • Topical antifungals

These types of medications are applied directly to the skin. It includes lotions, creams, soap, shampoos, or foam that help keep the yeast growth under control.

  • Antifungal pills

To treat severe or recurrent cases of Tinea Versicolor, the doctor may prescribe antifungal pills. This treatment option may also be used to clear up the infection faster.

Antifungal pills include ketoconazole, itraconazole, and fluconazole. These are given on prescription.

The pills may have serious side effects as well. To avoid or control it, the doctor may keep an eye on you while on the antifungal medications.

These treatment options are effective in treating fungal infection. The discoloration of the skin patches may take a few months to resolve.

There are chances of the infection returning in a hot and humid climate. In persistent cases, the doctor may prescribe medication once or twice a month to stop the disease from recurring.

Preventing recurrences

Since the yeast usually lives on the skin, the recurrence of the infection is common. You can consult a doctor on the medications to take to stop the disease from coming back.

Here are a few tips you may follow to keep the infection under control:

  • Avoid using skincare products that may make your skin oily.
  • Try using an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes, as it may irritate the skin and aggravate the infection.
  • Try to reduce the amount of time spent in the sun. You may get a tan or worsen the infection if you already have it.
  • If you do have to step out in the sun, use an antifungal shampoo for a few days before you go out.
  • Use sunscreen with a non-greasy formula that contains a minimum SPF 30.
  • Wear breathable clothes to reduce sweating.
  • While using ointments, creams, and lotions, clean the affected area thoroughly and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does apple cider vinegar help clear out the infection?

Apple cider vinegar contains antimicrobial properties that help control the yeast’s abnormal growth that causes Tinea Versicolor. It may also help prevent the recurrence of the infection.

2. Is it possible to get rid of Tinea Versicolor completely?

There is no cure for Tinea Versicolor yet. However, antifungal medications and creams can reduce infection. There are chances the condition may recur. To avoid recurrence, you may consult the doctor for medications.

3. What triggers Tinea Versicolor?

The factors that trigger the infection include hot and humid weather, excess sweat, oily skin, or hormonal changes.

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment

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