Tinea versicolor is a cutaneous fungal infection which is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Typically, tinea versicolor presents with well defined, variably sized hypopigmented macules and patches covered with fine white scales which are hardly visible to the naked eye. The scales can be made more evident by scraping the affected lesions with a sharp object. Hyperpigmented patches can also occur.
These lesions mainly occur on the neck, axillae, chest, back and proximal extremities are affected. Rarely, face and inframammary folds of females are affected.
Lesions maybe variously coloured ranging from reddish brown, dark brown to blackish. These lesions are usually asymptomatic. Pruritus may be present on the affected areas. The lesions appear hypopigmented in dark skin and hyper pigmented in lighter skin.
Tinea versicolor is easily diagnosed by simple clinical examination. The macules and patches of tinea versicolor are very characteristic and should be differentiated from other skin conditions which mimic this condition.
Physicians can elicit the ‘scratch sign’ or ‘Besnier sign’ which normally accentuates the fine white scales when the affected area is scratched with a pointed object.
When examined with a Wood’s lamp, scales fluoresce golden yellow to green. Microscopic examination of the lesions show typical ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ appearance due to presence of both hyphae and spores of the yeast .
No laboratory tests are required for this condition.
The treatment usually consists of topical antifungal creams mainly consisting of selenium sulphide (2%), as well as azoles and other antifungals . Application to the affected area and surrounding skin should be done twice or once a day for 2 weeks. Other topical applications include clotrimazole, miconazole, and terbinafine can also reduce the patches. Antifungal shampoos can also be applied to the body.
Oral antifungals are given; mainly fluconazole and ketoconazole. These are preferred as they are more convenient and simpler. Oral antifungals like ketoconazole 200mg are given once a day for 10 days; they are better reserved for persistence or recurrence .
Nowadays, a combination of oral and topical antifungals is given for better results.
Patient has to be reassured that skin colour will return to normal after a couple of months. The skin colour eventually darkens after sun exposure. Occasionally, pale white marks may remain permanent for unknown reasons.
Prophylactic treatment is given intermittently in the form of oral antifungals, given once a month to reduce the chronicity of this infection.
With treatment this fungal infection has a very good prognosis. Even though pigmentation takes time to disappear may be even months, the fungal activity is controlled within two weeks. So even though hypopigmentation does not go away fast, patient is disease free.
Tinea versicolor is said to be caused by an overgrowth and over activity of a fungus which belongs to the genus Malassezia . There are two forms: Malassezia globosa and Malassezia furfur. The saprophytic fungi are a normal part of the skin flora. They inhabit the sebaceous ducts and follicular infundibulum as these are lipophilic microorganisms . As a result these lesions are mainly seen in seborrheic regions of young individuals, as sebaceous glands are most active during adolescence.
Moist and humid conditions along with excessive sweating tend to cause and over activity of these normal saprophytes. Hormonal imbalance along with weakened immune system  also seems to play a role in the etiology but the exact mechanism is not clearly understood.
Since this yeast is lipophilic, hyperhidrosis and overactive sebaceous glands are important predisposing factors.
Tinea versicolor is one of the most commonly occurring skin infections which affect young individuals. There is equal incidence among men and women.
It affects all races but more visibly evident in dark skinned individuals. It rarely affects elderly people and occurs more in tropical or subtropical countries.
Sometimes this condition may not even be visible to the individual as a result patient may not even take treatment. The exact prevalence is not known as it is not a reportable infection.
Irregular pigmentation is the main pathology  in this condition, which occurs due to increased production of a normal inhabiting yeast Malassezia furfur or Malassezia globosa. They are typically lipophilic and saprophytic in nature.
The change of the fungus from saprophyte to parasitic is the main underlying pathology. The predisposing factors for this change are moist humid conditions, hyperhidrosis, excessive sebum production and other various factors. As a result of this, these microorganisms release azelaic acid which is known to inhibit tyrosinase activity, which is responsible for melanin production as a result hypopigmentation occurs .
The exact mechanism of hyperpigmentation is not known but is assumed to be because of large malanosomes.
Microscopically, scrapings from the lesions will show short, broad, septate hyphae and clusters of round spores that look like ‘spaghetti and meatballs’. There will be slight perivascular inflammation and lymphocytic infiltrate may be present. Hyperkeratosis and acanthosis may be present in the epidermis. Microorganisms are only seen in the stratum corneum, no other layers of skin are affected .
As the fungus is present normally in all individuals there is no accepted prevention. Prevention mainly will be to prevent recurrence.
Excessive sweating, sun exposure and moist humid climate should be avoided. Oral antifungals are given intermittently once or twice a month to prevent the reappearance.
Tinea versicolor is a common cutaneous fungal infection, which results in hypopigmented or hyperpigmented patches on the skin. It is one of the most common fungal infections affecting the skin. The yeast responsible for this belongs to the genus Malassezia,  which is a normal inhabitant of the skin.
This fungal infection can be chronic in nature especially in predisposed individuals. It occurs mainly on the trunk and extremities. Hot humid weather and excessive sweating are important predisposing factors, thus it is more common in tropical regions. It is not a contagious disease.
This condition has nothing to do with other tinea conditions (ringworm) that are caused by dermatophytes. Tinea versicolor is restricted till stratum corneum and does not penetrate deeper layers.
Though the treatment for tinea versicolor is very effective, it tends to reappear often. The recurrence is mainly in the hot season as a result this condition becomes chronic.
Tinea versicolor is a common fungal infection that causes patches on the skin which are either lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. This fungus is normally present on the skin in healthy individuals, but when it grows out of control the skin infection arises. The exact mechanism of formation of these patches is not known, but the fungus is the main causative agent.
This mainly affects the chest, back, neck and underarms and usually affects young adults. Excessive sweating, moist humid climate and oil secretion are important factors to promote overgrowth of this fungus.
Symptoms mainly include discoloured patches son the skin which maybe either lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Mild itching may be present on affected areas.
This condition can be treated with over the counter antifungal creams but it is best to consult a physician. The physician will clinically examine the affected area or may ask for microscopic examination of the skin scrapings from affected lesion if the diagnosis is unclear.
Treatment mainly consists of antifungal creams which need to be applied daily for a minimum two weeks for effectiveness. Oral antifungals will also be given in combination with cream. Once treatment is started the fungal activity stops by two weeks but discoloured patches may take time to return to normal colouration. There is a high tendency for this condition to reoccur. Preventive treatment is given on and off especially during the hot season.
This condition is not contagious and with proper treatment and preventive measures, tinea versicolor can be bought under control.