Tinea versicolor manifests itself clinically as small, scaly, white, pink or brown spots on the upper arms, chest, back, neck or face. The rash is most noticeable in the summer and on dark skinned patients because the causative organism prevents normal tanning of the skin.

Tinea versicolor is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. The yeast favors the pores of oily skin and grows best in hot, humid weather. This infection is most common in teenagers and young adults, but can affect any age. A diagnosis of tinea versicolor is usually based on its clinical appearance. In some cases, a skin scraping will be done or a special light, called a Wood’s lamp will be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Topical antifungal creams and in some instance oral medications are the mainstays of treatment. Shampoos that contain selenium sulfide or pyrithione zinc may also be recommended for use on the body. It is important to remember that although the organism is easy to eradicate, it can take weeks to months to regain normal pigmentation.

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