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Tinea Versicolor

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Tinea Versicolor

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Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is a common type of infection that appears as patches of discolored skin that may be:

  • Colored white, pink, tan, or dark brown
  • Slow-growing, scaly, and mildly itchy
  • More noticeable after sun exposure
  • Located on the back, chest, neck, and upper arms

Growth Triggers

The fungus that causes tinea versicolor can be found on healthy skin. It only starts causing problems when the fungus overgrows. A number of factors may trigger this growth, including:

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Excessive sweating
  • Oily skin
  • Hormonal changes
  • Weakened immune system

Topical Agents

For a mild case of tinea versicolor, you can apply an over-the-counter antifungal lotion, cream, ointment, or shampoo daily. Most fungal infections respond well to these topical agents which include:

  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex) cream or lotion
  • Miconazole (Monistat, M-Zole) cream
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue) 1 percent shampoo or DHS Zinc body wash
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil) cream or gel

Wash and dry the affected area. Then, apply a thin layer of the topical agent once or twice a day for at least two weeks. If you’re using shampoo, rinse it off after waiting five to 10 minutes. If you don’t see an improvement after four weeks, see your doctor. You may need a stronger medication.

Prescription-Strength Medication

If tinea versicolor is severe or doesn’t respond to over-the-counter antifungal medicine, you may need a prescription-strength medication. Some of these medications are topical preparations that you rub on your skin, while others are pills that you swallow. Examples include:

  • Ciclopirox (Loprox) cream, gel, or lotion
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets
  • Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) capsules or tablets
  • Ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral, others) cream, foam, gel, shampoo, or tablets
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun) 2.5 percent lotion or shampoo

Even after successful treatment, your skin color may remain uneven for several weeks, or even months. Also, the infection may return in warm, humid weather.

To help prevent tinea versicolor from returning, you can use the over the counter or the topical prescription treatment prescribed to you 1-2 times weekly.

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Have questions or concerns? Please call us at 610.558.1446

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