How to Best Address Tinea Versicolor

Published Online: Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Katarzyna Lalicata, MSN, FNP-C, FNP-BC, CVS MinuteClinic, presents treatments for some common conditions in a series of videos. In this clip, she discusses tinea versicolor, a fungal infection of the skin.

Katarzyna Lalicata, MSN, FNP-C, FNP-BC: Tinea versicolor, also known as pityriasis versicolor, is a common fungal infection of the skin, affecting teens and young adults. The fungus affects the normal pigmentation of the skin, so that there may be patches that are darker or lighter than the surrounding skin. Common sites include the shoulders and torso. Sun exposure makes these marks more prominent. It is not contagious or painful. Other symptoms may include mild itching or scaling. Risk factors may include hormonal changes, hot humid weather, and oily skin.

Prevention and treatment are important to manage tinea versicolor. Antifungal cream, lotion, shampoo, or soap, such as ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc, or selenium sulfide can help. Tinea versicolor may return, so use a medicated cleanser once or twice a month to help prevent the yeast from overgrowing. Sometimes, if the tinea versicolor covers a significant large area of the body, frequently returns, or is thick, oral antifungal pills may be used for a short time, as recommended by a dermatologist. It is also best to protect the skin from burning or tanning with sunscreen.

Sometimes the skin can be discolored from months to years, but it fades away gradually after treatment is complete. Because some people may experience more than 1 episode, using medicated soap can help reduce the recurrences of tinea versicolor.

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