Tinea versicolor

Tinea versicolor (TIN-ee-uh vur-si-KUL-ur), also called pityriasis versicolor, is a common fungal infection of the skin. The fungus interferes with the normal pigmentation of the skin, resulting in small, discolored patches.

These patches may be lighter or darker in color than the surrounding skin and most commonly affect the trunk and shoulders. Tinea versicolor occurs most frequently in teens and young adults. Sun exposure may make tinea versicolor more apparent.

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.

Symptoms Causes Prevention

Tinea versicolor is a type of infection that appears as a tissue-thin coating of fungus on your skin. The infection causes 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

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • Your skin doesn't improve with self-care measures
  • The fungal infection returns
  • The patches cover large areas of your body

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