Tinea versicolor is a common skin infection. The infection occurs due to a type of fungus. Every one of us has fungus on our skin, even on healthy skin! It’s natural, there’s no escaping from it. But when the fungus grows excessively, that is when it causes irritation and itching. Tinea versicolor is also familiar by another name, Pityriasis Versicolor. The term “Versicolor” is the reference to the many skin colors that occurs with the infection – tan, pink, white, brown or other colors. let’s continue to read to find out more on the treatment for tinea versicolor skin infection.
The fungus is the reason behind Tinea versicolor. The fungus is capable of disrupting the natural pigmentation of the skin. That is why the infected area gets scaly and discolored. Malassezia produces such an acid that inhibits the melanin production, a natural pigment that gives our skin the distinctive color. Tinea versicolor is not related to poor hygiene. The fungus can be found on healthy skin. Oily skin, hormonal changes, and a weakened immune system can trigger this growth on the skin.
Who is at risk?
The weather plays a big role in the infection. If you are living in a hot, humid climate, then the tinea versicolor fungus can easily overgrow on your skin. Up to 50% of the people who lives in the tropical countries reported this skin infection. On the contrary, people living in areas like Scandinavia gets nearly no infection from the fungus infection with only around 1% of the residents affected. Teens and young adults are more prone to the tinea versicolor infection. However, it can also occur to anyone, from children and infants up to adults.
Tinea Versicolor Treatment
There are a number of available treatments for tinea versicolor. Your doctor may suggest the available over-the-counter antifungal creams, shampoos, lotions, or ointments for topical application.
Here are a few of the popular choices:
1. Terbinafine (Lamisil) gel or cream,
2. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex) cream or lotion
3. Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue) 1 percent shampoo
4. Miconazole (Monistat, M-Zole) cream.
If they fail to provide an effective result, you need to consult your doctor who will assess your condition and may prescribe different medications such as:
1. Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue) in 2.5 percent lotion or shampoo
2. Ciclopirox (Loprox, Penlac), gel, lotion, or cream
3. Ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral, and others) foam, cream, gel, shampoo.
Many people with tinea versicolor prefer or need oral medications. They can be more convenient and can save you from messes in certain situations. In extreme cases, your doctor may suggest both topical and oral medications.
Here are some of the commonly used oral medications:
1. Ketoconazole (Extina Nizoral, others) tablets
2. Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets
3. Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) capsules or tablets, etc.
Photodynamic therapy: This is also known as light therapy. According to some researches, it can also effectively work against tinea versicolor.
Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before using home remedies especially if you are taking medications. Use over-the-counter shampoos to the skin. After applying the shampoo, wait about 10 minutes before taking a shower. You can also use other home remedies like apple cider vinegar, beeswax, Aloe Vera, Olive oil, tea tree oil etc. Before you apply them, don’t forget to get permission from your doctor or dermatologist.
Research has shown that the application of olive oil, honey, and beeswax helped a great percentage of patients with the infection. The ingredients were applied as a mixture (equal amount of honey, beeswax, and olive oil) 3 times every day. The result showed improvement after 1 month of continuous use.
Preventing Tinea Versicolor
It is possible to prevent tinea versicolor by adopting good skin hygiene. The fungus that causes the infection is naturally occurring on our skin. Bathing regularly and drying your skin will dramatically reduce the chance of getting the infection. If you had tinea versicolor previously, your doctor may recommend that you use specialized soaps that contain pyrithione, ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. These soaps effectively prevent against future infection of the fungus overgrowth. The type of treatment will depend on the size, location, and thickness of the affected area.
When using creams, ointments, or lotions, wash and dry the affected area, then apply the cream once or twice a day or as prescribed by the doctor. Rinse shampoo off after 10 minutes. See your doctor if you don’t see an improvement after using treatment for 4 weeks.
Is Tinea Versicolor Contagious?
The fungus is naturally growing on the skin. The infection is not contagious. However, people of any skin color has the risk of developing the infection. Like I said before, it’s more prevalent among teens and young adults.
A Word of Caution
If you notice something itchy or discoloring patches of skin, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will choose the right treatment for your condition. How did you like this article? please let us know by commenting in the box below! Happy, healthy skin!