Tinea Versicolor Skin – A Condition That Affects An Astonishing Six Percent Of Americans.

New Skin Baby SmallHuman Skin

The human skin is amazing! Did you know that our skin is our heaviest organ at approximately 22 pounds for an average adult? Did you know that every month, the entire outer surface of skin replaces itself? How about that the skin helps to regulate body temperature through approximately 3 million sweat glands, and that the number of germs living per square half-inch on healthy skin is as much as 5000 on the arm, to 5 million in the armpit? And did you know that the skin supports the life of all other body parts and that it prevents germs from entering the body to damage internal organs? Without a doubt, the human skin is vital to our survival. But because the skin is our first line of defense against harmful elements, it’s also prone to infection, often revealing itself as a rash like Tinea Versicolor.

What is Tinea Versicolor Skin?

Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin. It presents first as small spots on the skin, usually lighter than the rest of the skin, though sometimes the spots will appear darker. The color of these spots varies anywhere from tan to white, hence the term Versicolor, and the spots can grow to be scaly and itchy. Tinea Versicolor usually develops on the chest and back, as well as the neck, shoulders, and upper arms as these areas tend to be oilier than other parts of the body. The spots appear more prominently when the skin is hotter than normal, thus making it easier to detect after a tough workout or day in the sun. They prevent the skin from tanning by producing an acid that shuts down melanin producing cells in the skin under the spotted area. Melanin is a pigment in our skin which primarily determines our skin color. If you have these type of spots on your skin, you may have Tinea Versicolor and should consult a dermatologist.

Why does Tinea Versicolor spread so quickly?

Yeast, which is a type of fungus, thrives on the human skin, partly because of all those sweat glands we mentioned earlier. Yeast grows quickly in hot and humid environments and that overgrowth of yeast can result in Tinea Versicolor. It isn’t exactly clear what causes Tinea Versicolor to take hold, but what is known is that this skin rash doesn’t have to be permanent, and it is NOT contagious. It can spread quickly on your own skin if left untreated, but it won’t spread to another person’s skin from yours.

Who is most susceptible to Tinea Versicolor?

Though Tinea Versicolor favors no race or skin tone, it does favor a particular age bracket, specifically teens and young adults. It’s believed that younger children and older adults are less prone to Tinea Versicolor because their skin is less oily than that of teens and young adults. That being said, you can carry Tinea Versicolor well into old age if you don’t pursue aggressive treatment or skin maintenance. You will also see a higher instance of Tinea Versicolor in athletes who sweat a lot and on people living in tropical environments.

Where on the body is Tinea Versicolor most likely to appear?

As mentioned earlier, Tinea Versicolor thrives in hot, oily, and humid environments, making it most likely to appear on the chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms where sweat and oils are more abundant. Spots can also develop on the neck, and in the creases of the arms at the elbow joint, and the rear creases of the legs at the knee joint. Generally speaking, you would rarely see these spots on the face. Tinea Versicolor and other skin rashes like ringworm are often mistaken for one another, so you should always consult your dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis.

How is Tinea Versicolor diagnosed?

Tinea Versicolor Wood's LampWood’s Lamp

If you think you might have Tinea Versicolor, you should see a dermatologist, otherwise known as a “skin doctor”. Your dermatologist can usually identify Tinea Versicolor simply by viewing its characteristics through a microscope after gently scraping some scale off the affected area. Sometimes a dermatologist will confirm the diagnosis by passing a Wood’s Lamp over the skin. A Wood’s Lamp is a fluorescent light similar to a black light. The light appears violet in color and when placed over the infected area in the dark, the Tinea Versicolor rash will turn a fluorescent yellowish green. Seeing this for the first time can be a little frightening. You go in thinking it’s just a few spotty areas, only to see your whole back, shoulders, and chest light up!

How do you treat Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea Versicolor BathingBathing

This fungus is determined! Treating Tinea Versicolor requires a dedicated spirit as there is no instant cure or remedy. It thrives easily on the human skin, for reasons mentioned earlier, and can sink its fungal talons into your skin so tight that you’d swear it was a tattoo. But take heart! Tinea Versicolor can be beaten, or at the very least managed. However, treating this persistent skin disorder requires a long-term regimen that will only pay off if you see it through to the end.

There are numerous ways to treat Tinea Vesicolor, everything from natural home remedies to total skin therapy. What usually produces best results is combining several of these to formulate a regimen or system. For the sake of brevity, we’ll look at only a few of these treatment options and confine our terms to a general sense.

Bathing daily will help manage Tinea Versicolor by removing dead cells and yeast from the skin. Exfoliating with a loofah will remove the upper layer of dead skin, which hosts the fungus. Take care, however, to use warm water as opposed to hot water. Hot water rids the skin of all its oil, thus causing the sebaceous glands to secrete excess oil as a countermeasure. And since our fungus feeds on oily skin, hot showers can be counterproductive to treatment.

Topical skin medications and cleansers like creams and lotions, soaps, and medicated shampoos like Selsun Blue are common treatments for Tinea Versicolor. These topical solutions usually contain anti-fungal medications such as pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole. Systematically applying these ointments and shampoos, as directed by most dermatologists, will help keep this fungus under control. Since the fungus tends to reappear when conditions return to hot and humid, a medicated body cleanser could be used once or twice each month to inhibit its reappearance.

Oral medications are also available. In severe cases where the Tinea Versicolor fungus covers much of the body, anti-fungal pills may be prescribed. Like all oral medications, these anti-fungal pills have side effects and should only be used at the direction of your doctor.

Well, we hope this article served you well in your quest for answers about Tinea Versicolor. If you’d like to learn a more detailed approach about treating Tinea Versicolor, go to the treatment section of this website and learn what people are doing to successfully combat this fungal infection.