Tinea Versicolor (Pityriasis Versicolor)

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is the prognosis of tinea versicolor?

As noted above, the white spots of tinea versicolor tends to linger even after successful treatment. This persistent discoloration often leads people to think that the condition is still present long after it has been eradicated. It may take months for skin color to blend and look normal, but it always does. The red or brown variety of rash, on the other hand, clears up much sooner. It is, therefore, a good idea to have the condition treated as soon as new spots appear so that any discoloration lasts as short a time as possible.

Recurrence of the rash is common, though it won't recur necessarily every year. Applying selenium sulfide or ketoconazole shampoo on affected areas once a week may slow the onset of recurrence but is cumbersome and often not worth the effort, since the condition may not come back for a long time anyway.

Can tinea versicolor be prevented?

Since the organism that causes tinea versicolor is a normal inhabitant of the skin and the disease does not affect the patient's general health, there is no widely accepted approach to prevention.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCE:

Bigby, Michael, and Hu, Stephanie W. "Pityriasis Versicolor: A Systemic Review of Interventions." Arch Dermatol. 146.10 (2010): 1132-1140.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/4/2015

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