Certain skin conditions come with visible symptoms that can be embarrassing for the people suffering from them. Tinea versicolor is a common but yet benign, superficial cutaneous fungal infection that is usually characterized by hypopigmented or hyperpigmented macules and patches on the chest and the back. In patients with a predisposition, tinea versicolor may chronically recur. The fungal infection is localized to the stratum corneum. It appears as a rash on the arms, legs, neck, chest and back. Some people also develop a rash on the face. The rash can either lighten or darken the skin.
While there is no known cause for tinea versicolor, there are several contributing factors to this skin disease:
Dark skin people will experience loss of skin color in the skin that is affected by this rash. Light skinned people, on the other hand, will experience the darkening of their skin. This makes the rash very visible, especially when it spreads to areas like the arms, legs and face, which are often exposed. The embarrassment can worsen when the affected areas begin to form flakes.
Because the yeast tends to grow naturally on your skin, tinea versicolor is not contagious. The condition can affect people of any skin color. It’s more likely to affect teens and young adults. Moreover, sun exposure may make tinea versicolor more apparent.
Symptoms for tinea versicolor can vary from small, flat, round or oval spots that may, over time, to form patches. The spots occur on oily areas of skin on the upper chest, back, or upper arms or, less often, on the upper thighs, neck, or face.
These spots can be lighter or darker than the skin around them. They are generally white but can be pink, red, tan, or brown. If your skin tends to get darker with sun exposure, the spots may be easier to see in the summer because they don’t tan with the rest of your skin. For people whose skin is lighter during the winter, the spots may be harder to see at that time of year.
A dermatologist can often look at the skin and tell whether a patient has tinea versicolor. If there is any doubt, the dermatologist will gently scrape off that bit of skin or examine the skin using a device called the Wood’s lamp in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Antifungal creams, lotions or shampoos can help treat tinea versicolor. But even after successful treatment, skin color may remain uneven for several weeks. Tinea versicolor often recurs, especially in warm, humid weather.