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Pityriasis versicolor: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The tinea versicolor, also called tinea versicolor, is a fungal infection in the skin caused by the multiplication of the fungus Pityrosporum ovale, which is part of the yeasts that are usually found in the flora of the skin. Now, when this fungus proliferates, it can cause the symptoms of tinea versicolor, causing the appearance of spots and skin lesions in some regions of the body, commonly those that are more greasy or oily. It is a fairly common skin condition seen more frequently in adolescents and young adults and in those who reside in tropical and temperate climates. For its cure, it is necessary to start an antifungal treatment and take into account a series of personal care and hygiene not to aggravate the lesions. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of pityriasis Versicolor.

Causes of pityriasis Versicolor

The tinea versicolor is caused by the proliferation of the fungus called Pityrosporum ovale in the skin, which is usually found in the dermis but can grow and multiply, causing this skin infection when given a series of particular conditions. Among the conditions that favor the appearance of tinea versicolor are the following:

  • The heat and humidity.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Genetic factors.
  • Having a weakened immune system can be the case in patients with diabetes or HIV.
  • Suffering from skin diseases, such as seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Use of certain cosmetic products.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Being on corticosteroid treatment

The growth of this yeast requires fatty acids, so the infection usually manifests in areas of seborrheic or more oily skin, such as the upper areas of the chest or back, shoulders, and neck. However, it can appear in any part of the body.

Symptoms of pityriasis Versicolor

The main symptom of pityriasis Versicolor is the appearance of a kind of discolored spots or patches on the skin of the affected area that are characterized by signs such as the following:

  • Irregular spots with well-defined borders.
  • Dark reddish or brown spots at first that, over time, become increasingly lighter.
  • Slight peeling of the areas when scratched. This symptom is known as a “nail sign.”
  • The marks can appear in isolation or converge, giving rise to large plates that simulate the appearance of maps.

In addition to these spots, other symptoms of pityriasis Versicolor that may be experienced include itching or itching and increased sweating.

In general, the skin rash caused by this fungal infection is usually pale, and, because of this, if the affected person has fair skin, it is often barely noticeable. It is generally appreciated after sunbathing, as the damaged areas do not tan and contrast with the color change that the skin around them has experienced. In contrast, tinea versicolor spots are much more visible in those with dark skin who suffer from hypopigmentation or loss of skin color.

Diagnosis of pityriasis Versicolor

It is essential to consult your doctor in case of symptoms of pityriasis Versicolor. The clinical diagnosis of this infection is made based on the characteristics of the skin lesions and microscopic examinations since several diseases could be confused with it, such as pityriasis rosea, pityriasis alba, vitiligoseborrheic dermatitis, etc.

It will be necessary to apply potassium hydroxide to make skin lesions glow when exposed to a Wood’s lamp. In others, a skin scraping may be required that, later, is analyzed under a microscope to look for the fungus causing the infection.

Treatment of pityriasis Versicolor

The treatment of pityriasis Versicolor is based on the administration of antifungal medications responsible for stopping the proliferation of the fungus Pityrosporum ovale on the skin. Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of the rash, its location, and whether you have had the condition before:

  • Topical antifungal drugs: these are drugs that contain selenium sulfide and that in the form of lotions or shampoos are applied to damaged skin and are left to apply for about 10 minutes, washing it later once this period has elapsed. They are usually prescribed to be used 1 or 2 times a day for at least two weeks, although in some cases, their application may be recommended once a week for about six months, approximately.
  • Oral antifungal drugs: Antifungal tablets may be prescribed when the infection does not clear up with other treatments or when it affects a large skin area.

It is essential to remember that even if the treatment has been completed, the spots caused by tinea versicolor do not usually disappear immediately but can take even months to disappear completely.

Prevention and home remedies for pityriasis Versicolor

In addition to the above medications used for the treatment of pityriasis Versicolor, some preventive measures can be taken into account to avoid, as far as possible, the proliferation of the causative fungus on the skin. In addition, with some home remedies, it is possible to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. The most important to consider are:

  • Avoid excessive sweating and very humid or very hot environments.
  • Avoid wearing very tight or tight clothing.
  • Avoid applying very oily products or lotions on the skin.
  • Use antifungal gels or lotions once or twice a month to prevent skin lesions from reappearing.
  • Shower every day and wash clothes, sheets, and towels in hot water to disinfect them and eliminate possible traces of fungus.
  • The most effective home remedies for pityriasis Versicolor are aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, seawater, garlic, and tea tree oil.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pityriasis Versicolor: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend entering our Skin, hair, and nails category.

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