Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin that is very superficial and may be confused with many other common types of rashes. Tinea versicolor treatment is generally treated with a topical medication because of its close proximity to the surface of the skin.
This infection is usually caused by one of two varieties of yeast pityrosporum orbiculare and pityrosporum ovale which actually make up part of the natural bacteria and flora located on your skin s surface. It is when certain environmental factors outside of or within the body affect this flora that the yeasts can change and become a pathogen known as Malassezia furfur which causes a rash to occur, otherwise known as tinea versicolor. There are many factors that can cause this conversion, including increased exposure to humidity and heat, taking oral contraceptives, receiving burns to the skin, pregnancy, Cushing s disease and having a suppressed immune system.
Tinea versicolor can affect any age group but is more common in teenagers or young adults because the sebaceous glands are very active during this time. It is often diagnosed when there is a rash on the arms, hands, feet or torso. It causes a change in skin color to the affected areas because of the decreased occurrence of melanin production.
In order to receive effective tinea versicolor treatment, you first need a diagnosis. There are several ways that it can be diagnosed, including:
* Culture – a fungal culture is taken from the skin.
* KOH test, which will reveal a “spaghetti and meatball” pattern upon examination under a microscope.
* Wood’s light exam – this light will reveal the yeast culprit which will fluoresce a pale yellow color.
One important thing to note is that this infection can mimic several other skin conditions, and so it is important to get the correct diagnosis before seeking tinea versicolor treatment. Some rashes that appear similar are syphilis, pityriasis rosea, guttate psoriasis, and vitiligo, amongst others.
The most common tinea versicolor treatment is with an antifungal topical cream. If the rash is widespread, an oral medication may be recommended to get the spread of the rash under control and to ultimately eliminate it. Unfortunately, once you have had this type of rash, it has an 80% chance of re-occurrence within two years. Since the rate of re-occurrence is so high, there may be some oral preventative medications that are also recommended by your doctor or health professional.