What is tinea versicolor?
Malassezia fungus is a type of yeast found on the surface of the skin. It usually doesn’t cause any health problems. In fact, many of the microbiota (or microscopic organisms), including yeasts like Malassezia, that live in large communities on your skin help protect you from infection and other pathogens that can cause damage or disease.
They live alongside the cells of your body in symbiotic relationships, with skin cells and tiny organisms supporting and benefiting each other. Sometimes, however, this yeast can get out of control and affect your skin’s natural color or pigmentation. When this happens, skin patches that are lighter or darker than the surrounding skin may develop.
This non-contagious condition is called tinea versicolor or tinea versicolor.
The condition occurs when a species of yeast from the Malassezia family causes an infection or suppresses the immune system.
What causes tinea versicolor?
Tinea versicolor occurs when Malassezia grows rapidly on the skin’s surface.
Doctors are not sure why this is happening.
Several factors can promote the growth of this yeast on the skin including:
- hot and humid weather
- excessive sweating
- only skin,
- the weakened immune system,
- hormonal changes,
tinea versicolor can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and is most common in adolescents and young adults. Adults are more likely to develop tinea versicolor if they visit an area with a subtropical climate.
What are the symptoms of tinea versicolor?
Discolored patches of skin are the most noticeable symptom of tinea versicolor, and these patches often appear on the arms, chest, neck, or back. These spots can be:
lighter (most common) or darker than the surrounding
pink, red, tan, or tan color
Dryness, itching, and scaling
more pronounced when tanning and tend to fade in cooler,
less humid weather.
Some people’s skin may darken instead of lightening.
This condition is called hyperpigmentation. Some people who develop tinea versicolor don’t have significant changes in the color or appearance of their skin.
In addition to changes in your skin color, you may also experience itchy skin.
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Some disorders with overlapping symptoms, such as B. vitiligo, are often confused with tinea versicolor.
However, vitiligo can differ from tinea versicolor in several notable ways, including:
- Vitiligo does not affect skin texture.
- Vitiligo usually occurs on the fingers, wrists, armpits, mouth, eyes, or groin.
- Vitiligo often forms patches that are symmetrical.
The rash caused by pityriasis rosea also resembles tinea versicolor, but this rash is usually preceded by a “herald patch,” a single red patch of scaly skin that appears a few days to weeks before the rash.
This rash often appears in the shape of a Christmas tree on the back. It is not known what causes this condition. But, like tinea versicolor, it is not harmful or contagious.
What are the risk factors for tinea versicolor?
Several environmental and biological factors can increase your risk of tinea versicolor, including:
a family history of tinea versicolor excessive sweating a hot and humid climate weak immune system taking medicines that weaken the immune system certain types of cancer
when should you see your doctor?
If you develop symptoms of tinea versicolor, you can treat the condition yourself.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications can clear up discolored skin patches. However, consult your doctor if these treatments are not effective.
You may need a prescription drug to control your symptoms. Buy antifungal creams.
How is tinea versicolor diagnosed?
See your doctor if you develop odd-colored patches on your skin that you can’t treat at home. Your doctor will examine your skin and may use the patches to determine if you have tinea versicolor.
If the skin cannot diagnose, your doctor may do a skin scraping.
A skin scraping removes cells from your skin for analysis by gently scraping the skin.
The cells are examined under a microscope to see if they contain the yeast that causes this condition. Your doctor can perform a potassium hydroxide (KOH) microscopy.
In this procedure, your doctor will take a sample of your skin and place it under a microscope.
Slide with 20% KOH solution and look under the microscope for yeast or fungal hyphae.
Your doctor may also take a biopsy or tissue sample from the affected skin and look for fungi on the outer layer of the skin.
A sample of the fungus on your skin can also be tested in a fungal culture to determine if you have the condition.
Your doctor may also use a Wood’s lamp to examine your skin. This special machine, which uses ultraviolet light, is held 4 to 5 inches from the skin. If yeast is present, the affected skin will appear yellow or green under light.
How is tinea versicolor treated?
If your symptoms are not severe, you can treat your condition at home. Over-the-counter antifungal creams or shampoos can be effective in killing the infection.
Examples of over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat tinea versicolor include:
Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex)
Miconazole (Monistat, M-Zole)
Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue Shampoo)
If you’re seeing a doctor for tinea versicolor, your doctor can prescribe a number of medications, including topical creams that can be applied directly to the skin. , Penlac)
ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral)Your doctor may also prescribe pills to treat tinea versicolor, including:
itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
How long does it take for your skin to return to normal?
If you’re diagnosed with tinea versicolor, treatment will improve your long-term outlook. However, even after the infection has cleared, your skin may remain discolored for several weeks. or months after treatment.
Your infection may also return as the weather gets warmer and wetter. If your condition returns, your doctor may prescribe medication once or twice a month to help prevent symptoms.
How can tinea versicolor be prevented?
It can be difficult to prevent this condition from coming back. If you’ve been diagnosed with tinea versicolor and successfully treated, there are steps you can take to prevent future infections.
- Avoid excessive heat
- Avoiding tanning or overexposure
- avoiding excessive sweating
You can also help prevent tinea versicolor by using a prescription skin treatment at the times of the year when you’re most prone to it.