Pityriasis Versicolor or Tinea Versicolor A fungus that affects the skin. Here’s What You Need To Know


Pityriasis versicolor or Tinea versicolor is a skin condition that is caused by a fungus. The fungus feeds on the dead skin cells that are shed from the top of your skin. It also feeds on the proteins and oils in your skin.

The fungus that causes pityriasis versicolor lives naturally on our skin and does not cause any harm to us. However, this harmless fungus can multiply rapidly if you live in warm and humid climates. This can result in an outbreak of pityriasis versicolor.

This condition is often confused with other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or allergic reaction to soaps and detergents. This is because, like these other conditions, pityriasis versicolor also produces dry patches on the skin.

Pityriasis versicolor or tinea versicolor is a common fungal infection of the skin, which results in the appearance of small discoloured patches. The affected patches are either lighter or darker than the surrounding unaffected skin and may be red, pink, brown or white. The spots may also be itchy.

Seborrheic dermatitis is another condition that often causes confusion as it produces similar looking lesions.

What causes pityriasis versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is caused by a type of yeast that normally lives on the skin without causing problems. Occasionally this yeast will grow out of control causing an overgrowth of cells resulting in the appearance of light or dark patches on the skin. The cause for this overgrowth is unknown, however certain factors are thought to play a role:

Increased sweating (hyperhidrosis)

Hot and humid weather conditions

Hormonal changes during puberty

Oily skin and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) – both of these can predispose to an overgrowth of the yeast that causes pityriasis versicolor

Pityriasis versicolor is a fungal infection affecting the skin. The fungus occurs naturally on the surface of the skin and thrives in hot, humid conditions. The condition is not contagious and you cannot catch it from someone else.

Pityriasis versicolor is more common in teenagers and young adults but can affect anyone at any age. It causes patches of discolouration on the skin – usually on the trunk, neck and upper arms. The skin may also become itchy or scaly. These patches are normally lighter in colour than your usual skin tone. Your natural tan will return once treatment has cleared up the infection and your skin has healed.

Pityriasis versicolor is caused by a yeast called Malassezia furfur (previously known as Pityrosporum ovale). This yeast lives naturally in small numbers on everyone’s skin and usually does not cause problems. In some people, however, it grows out of control causing irritation and flaky patches to develop on the chest, back and upper arms.

I am a board-certified dermatologist and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. I am also a skin cancer surgeon and specialize in Mohs Micrographic Surgery for the treatment of skin cancer.

This blog is to help people understand, learn more about and share their experiences with pityriasis versicolor (tinea versicolor). It is part of my professional effort to educate the public about skin issues like pityriasis versicolor.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your own experience with pityriasis versicolor, please don’t hesitate to comment on any posts or contact me.

Pityriasis versicolor is a common skin condition caused by a yeast called malassezia. This yeast occurs naturally on the skin surfaces of many people, however sometimes it grows out of control and causes a rash.

The term ‘pityriasis’ means scaly, and ‘versicolor’ means colour change. It can affect any part of the body, but it is most commonly seen on the back, chest, neck and upper arms. It affects men and women equally.

Pityriasis versicolor is not contagious. It is more common in teens and young adults, however it can affect people of any age group.

Pityriasis versicolor does not cause itching or pain. The rash can be unsightly for some people.

Pityriasis versicolor is a skin condition caused by a yeast infection. Pityriasis versicolor does not have any long-term health effects. However, the rash may recur and be unsightly.

The cause of pityriasis versicolor is a yeast called malassezia (formerly known as pityrosporum). The yeast is present in the mouth, gut and vagina. Malassezia lives on everyone’s skin, but some people develop an overgrowth of the yeast. This leads to the development of pityriasis versicolor.

The most common symptoms are:

– small, red or brownish patches on the back, neck and chest;

– white scales that can be rubbed off; and

– mild itching or burning.

Pityriasis versicolor is a common skin condition that appears as small, discoloured patches on the skin. It is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia furfur. This fungus lives on oily areas of the body and can sometimes grow out of control, causing symptoms.

You are more likely to get pityriasis versicolor if you have:

oily skin

sweat excessively (hyperhidrosis)

lived in a warm climate or country

a weakened immune system due to medicines or illnesses such as HIV

Pityriasis versicolor is easily treated using antifungal creams and shampoos.


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