Tinea Versicolor is a superficial fungal skin infection that can be mistaken for other types of common rashes. This infection occurs when two types of yeast that are present in the skin’s normal flora become pathogenic; these pathogenic forms are caused by factors such as pregnancy, Cushing’s disease, removal of the adrenal gland, burns, malnutrition, a suppressed immune system, excess heat, excess humidity, steroid therapy and oral contraceptives.
Anyone can get Tinea Versicolor, but it usually occurs when sebaceous glands are most active, which is during early adulthood. It is also more frequent in tropical and sub-tropical climates.
Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor
- Oval or irregular pale, dark tan or pink spots with a diameter of ¼ to 1 inch that sometimes merge to form a larger patch; redness can increase when sufferer is overheated.
- Occasional skin scaling, which is fine and ash-like.
- Mild itchiness.
- Sharp borders on spots.
- Possibly re-occurring whenever the weather gets warm or sufferer sweats excessively.
Hypo-pigmentation, or the appearance of pale spots on the skin occurs because the pathogenic yeast produces a chemical that disables the body’s melanocytes, meaning that the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color in humans, decreases dramatically.
Hyper-pigmentation, or the redness of the spots, is usually caused by the skin’s inflammatory response.
There are various topical treatments available that a doctor will prescribe; because the fungus is on the skin’s topmost, superficial layer, topical anti-fungal treatments work well. However, in severe cases, oral medication may be required. In most cases, once the fungus has been eradicated, the hypo-pigmentation will persist for several weeks or even months; this is because the melanocytes need time to start producing melanin once more. This means that although the infection is cured, the white blotches on the skin remain and the uneven color of skin may cause distress.
While there are many references that list vitamins that treat Tinea Versicolor, the effectiveness of these claims when used alone is unsubstantiated. In any case, it is always best to speak with your doctor before starting any type of treatment. What you can do however, is use easily found vitamin supplements to help increase melanin production so that your skin pigmentation recovers faster.
Tinea Versicolor can be caused by malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. One of the best things you can do to prevent or improve the condition is eat a healthy, balanced diet or take vitamin supplements; in fact, there are some vitamins that can help regulate melanin production so that the hypo-pigmented spots typical of Tinea Versicolor disappear faster.
One of the first steps a person should take for overall good health is eat an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables that are high in vitamins that boost the immune system and contain anti-oxidants. Dark, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, grapes, tomatoes, and red and orange bell peppers are all great sources of vitamins A, C, and E and are also anti-oxidant powerhouses.
The next thing a person can do is take some vitamins that target melanin production and skin repair.
Vitamins that target melanin production and skin repair
Vitamin B12 regulates melanin production; in cases where a person has a vitamin B12 deficiency, cutaneous skin lesions don’t heal with conventional methods and hyper-pigmentation can result. B12 is found in meat; vegetarians or others who have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from their everyday diet should consider taking an oral supplement.
Vitamin C is important for collagen production; furthermore, it’s responsible for keeping your skin tone bright. It also contains tyrosinase inhibitors, which prevents your skin from producing too much melanin in response to an injury.
Vitamin A can treat skin that is blotchy in color; it can even out your skin tone. It has retinoic acid which evens out slight discolorations in pigment that can result from Tinea Versicolor.
Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that protects and repairs skin. It can help prevent premature aging and scarring, so it’s a good idea to include it in your diet or take a supplement.
According to the website herbs2000.com, the following dosages are appropriate for treating Tinea Versicolor:
Vitamin A: 25 000 IU, decrease to 10 000 IU after six months (avoid vitamin A during pregnancy)
Vitamin B complex (including B12): 50 mg, three times a day
Vitamin C with bioflavenoids: 1000 mg per day
Vitamin E with mixed tocopherols: 400 IU
Vitamin A and E oil-free creams could be applied topically to the affected area as well to minimize scarring and to speed up the skin’s repair process.