Tinea Versicolor

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Whether you need ongoing treatment or want to enhance your appearance, we can help. Call 310-825-2631 for medical dermatology services and 310-206-7546 for cosmetic services.

What Is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor (also known as pityriasis versicolor) is a common fungal skin infection caused by yeast on the skin. It is characterized by lighter or darker patches on the skin. Patches are most often found on the chest or back and prevent the skin from tanning evenly. It occurs mostly in adolescence and early adulthood because of oily skin, but it can occur at any time.

What Causes Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is thought to be caused by the superficial overgrowth of Malassezia, a type of yeast.

Signs and Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor

Usually, the only symptom of tinea versicolor is the white or light brown patches with well-defined borders. Patches may scale slightly, but rarely itch or hurt. Other common characteristics of the rash include the following:

  • White, pink or reddish-brown patches
  • Infection only on the top layers of the skin
  • Rash usually on the trunk but not on the face
  • Patches that worsen in heat, humidity, or in patients on steroid therapy or who have a weakened immune system
  • Patches that are most noticeable in the summer
  • Affected areas that do not darken in the sun

Treatment for Tinea Versicolor

Specific treatment for tinea versicolor will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of the condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

Tinea versicolor is treatable but the improvement in the skin may be only temporary. The condition may recur, and you may need additional treatment.

Your UCLA dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Topical (skin-based) or antifungal medications
  • Antifungal or dandruff shampoo

Your doctor may also recommend using the shampoo monthly to help prevent recurrences. Treatment will not bring normal color back to the skin immediately. This process will occur naturally and may take several months. People with this condition should try to avoid excessive heat or sweating.

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.