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Tinea Versicolor

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Treatment options include:

  • Topical anti-fungals. These products are applied directly to your skin and may be in the form of lotion, shampoo, cream, foam, or soap. They keep the growth of the yeast under control. Over-the-counter anti-fungal topical products containing ingredients such as zinc, pyrithione, selenium sulfide, miconazole, clotrimazole, and terbinafine are available. But sometimes prescription medications may be needed.
  • Anti-fungal pills. These may be used to treat more serious or recurrent cases of tinea versicolor. Or in some cases they may be used because they can provide a simpler and quicker resolution of the infection. These medicines are given by prescription and can have side effects. So it's important to be monitored by your doctor while using anti-fungal pills.

Treatment usually eliminates the fungal infection. However, the discoloration of the skin may take up to several months to resolve.

Lifestyle Tips for Managing Tinea Versicolor

Recurrent episodes are very common because the yeast that causes the infection is a normal fungus that lives on skin. Medicated cleansers may be used one or two times a month to help prevent tinea versicolor from coming back. You may need to use these cleansers if the infection keeps returning, especially if you live in a warm and humid area.

Here are some tips to help you manage tinea versicolor:

  • Avoid using oily skin products.
  • Reduce your exposure to the sun. Exposure to the sun may trigger or worsen an episode, and a tan makes the rash more visible.
  • If you have to go out in the sun, consider using an anti-fungal shampoo daily for a couple of days prior to sun exposure.
  • Put on sunscreen every day. Use a non-greasy formula with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.
  • Do not wear tight clothing.
  • Wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to decrease sweating.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on January 13, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Tinea versicolor."

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Tinea Versicolor."

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: "Tinea Versicolor."

The Merck Manual: "Tinea Versicolor."

DermNet NZ: "Pityriasis Versicolor."

Clinical Knowledge Summaries, NHS: "Pityriasis Versicolor."

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