Tinea Versicolor: (What is tinea versicolor?) Is it Dangerous? What’s the Difference With Ringworm

Various skin diseases are often experienced by children as well as adults. One of them is Tinea Versikolor. Can someone affect by this recover quickly? And can a condition like this be contagious to others? Find an explanation of the causes, as well as treatment in Tinea Versicolor: (What is tinea versicolor?) Is it Dangerous? What’s the Difference With Ringworm


What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin characterized by light and dark-colored patches. Tinea Versikolor arises from Malassezia fungal infection found on the surface of the skin.

Humans do have fungi that live on the skin in normal quantities. Fungi like Malassezia do not cause health problems. Fungi can even coexist with body cells, and support each other (symbiotic).

Many microbiotas (or microscopic organisms), including these fungi, play a role in protecting you from infections and other pathogens that can harm or cause disease.

However, sometimes fungi can multiply excessively and affect the natural color or pigmentation of the skin. That’s why you’ll find that the skin is lighter or darker than the skin around when exposed to Tinea versicolor.


How common is this disease?

Tinea Versicolor is common and can happen to anyone. But this is more commonly experienced by adolescents and young adults. Adults are more likely to develop Tinea versicolor if they are in areas with subtropical climates.

Tinea versicolor is usually most common in males compared to females. This condition is also often experienced by people who sweat a lot.


Is Tinea Versicolor dangerous?

When the body sweats, tinea versicolor will itch. This fungus is not dangerous and is generally found on human skin.


What’s the Difference With Ringworm?

The difference between Tinea Versicolor and Ringworm lies in their spread.

If Ringworm can be transmitted by physical touch or from a contaminated item, it is different from Tinea Versicolor. The disease is not transmitted among human beings. It is common in children living in the tropics. Tinea versicolor is characterized by the onset of light-colored patches on the skin.

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Learn more about Ring Worms Humans: (What Causes Ringworms On Humans) and Can It Be Transmitted to Animals?


What are the symptoms of Tinea Versicolor?

One of the most obvious signs and symptoms of Tinea versicolor is an uneven color on some parts of the skin. Generally, Tinea versicolor is painless and often appears on the arms, chest, neck, or back.

Tinea versicolor patches can appear in copper brown, paler than the surrounding skin, or pink. Lighter patches may be common in those with darker skin.

Some other characteristics of Tinea versicolor are:

  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Causes itching
  • More noticeable when sunbathing, is because yeast fungus inhibits the tanning process
  • Prone to disappearing in colder, less humid weather
  • Arise slowly

Tinea versicolor that appears in dark-skinned people can cause loss of skin color. This condition is known as hypopigmentation. As for some people with whiter skin, the skin affected by this fungus can darken. This condition is called hyperpigmentation.

Some people affected by Tinea versicolor have no significant changes to their skin color or appearance. In general, the pale patches that appear also do not affect the vulnerability of the skin to sunlight.


What Causes Tinea Versicolor?

The main cause of Tinea versicolor is the rapid and uncontrolled growth of Malassezia fungus on the surface of the skin. This fungus then causes infection or suppresses your immune system.

This type of white tinea versicolor or hypopigmentation is likely caused by chemicals produced by Malassezia and released into the epidermis layer of the skin. These chemicals then damage melanocyte function. Melanocytes are the producers of melanin, the pigment determining hair or skin color.

Meanwhile, the type of Tinea versicolor that gives rise to pink patches is a rather inflamed tinea versicolor. The trigger is dermatitis, caused by Malassezia.

So far, 14 different species of Malassezia mushrooms have been identified. The most common species causing Tinea versicolor are M. globose, M. resta, and M. sympodialis.

Tinea Versicolor: (What is tinea versicolor?) Is it Dangerous? What's the Difference With Ringworm

Conditions similar to Tinea versicolor

Some skin conditions may have symptoms similar to Tinea versicolor. One of them is vitiligo. To distinguish it, here are the characteristics of vitiligo:

  • Vitiligo doesn’t affect your skin texture
  • Vitiligo usually appears on fingers, wrists, armpits, mouth, eyes, or groin
  • Vitiligo often forms symmetrical patches
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The skin rash caused by Pityriasis rosea is also similar to Tinea versicolor. The difference is that the condition is preceded by a “herald patch”, the only red patch of scaly skin that appears a few days or weeks before the rash.

The rash appears in the form of a fir tree on the back. This condition is unknown. However, it is neither dangerous nor contagious.


What puts me at risk of developing the disease?

Some environmental and biological factors can cause you to be more at risk of developing Tinea versicolor.

Here are the risk factors that allow you to get tinea versicolor, delivered:

  • Family history
  • Excessive sweating
  • Humid and warm climate
  • Weak immune system
  • Using drugs that can weaken the immune system
  • Some types of cancer


How is tinea versicolor diagnosed?

A physical exam and multiple tests are recommended if your doctor suspects that you may have this condition. Some additional procedures can help doctors more quickly detect tinea versicolor, such as:

Wood’s lamp

This examination uses a lamp with special UV light that will see the presence of fungi on the skin. If your skin is indeed infected, it will appear yellow or green in the light.



A biopsy involves taking samples of skin tissue for laboratory examination.


Microscopic examination

The skin samples that have been taken will be tested under a microscope to see if any cells contain fungi that cause this condition or not.


How to treat Tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is self-treated at home with antifungal creams or soaps that are easy to obtain and buy at pharmacies.


Topical antifungal drugs

Mild tinea versicolor can be treated with antifungal drugs. Creams and lotions that contain selenium sulfuride, ketoconazole or pyrithionezine. Some other drug options, among others:

  • Terbinafine gel
  • Ciclopirox Cream
  • Sodium thiosulfate solution.

Not only relieve symptoms, but the drug also helps protect the skin from sunlight or artificial UV light sources. Normal skin tone will come out after regular use.

The drug is usually used for three days or about two weeks depending on the severity of Tinea versicolor. If you are going to use it, you can simply apply the drug to the area of Tinea versicolor that has been thinly cleaned one to two times a day.

If your condition does not improve after four weeks, it is best to contact your doctor immediately. You may need stronger medications, as well as special treatments.

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Oral antifungal drugs (drinking)

These drugs, including itraconazole and fluconazole, used when Tinea versicolor spreads to large areas of the body, can also be used when the cream drug does not work properly.

Oral terbinafine is an antifungal drug used to treat Dermatophyte infections but is ineffective at treating infections caused by Malassezia, such as Tinea versicolor.

It is important to follow all the instructions of the doctor to use these medications. If it doesn’t go as recommended, it will make Tinea versicolor more vulnerable again.


What are the home remedies to treat Tinea versicolor?

Although it has been treated with special natural remedies though, this case can occur repeatedly, because the fungus that causes Tinea versicolor is a common fungus that lives on the skin. Cleaning drugs can be done to help prevent coming back.

You may need to use a cleaning remedy if the infection continues to occur, especially if living in hot and humid areas.

The most effective method to prevent Tinea versicolor is to maintain cleanliness. Get rid of dirt and excess oil on the skin so as not to transmit the infection to others.

Below are some things you can do to prevent Tinea versicolor:

  • Avoid sunbathing or excessive sun exposure. Sunbathing causes Tinea versicolor to be easier to see
  • Avoid sweating too much
  • Discontinue the use of oily skincare products. Use non-oily or non-comedogenic products.
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Avoid using a sunlamp or tanning bed. These are the things that make Tinea versicolor visible
  • Using prescription drugs, especially when the weather is less friendly and the air temperature feels humid
  • For the best treatment, consult a dermatologist.


When should I see a Doctor?

Early treatment and diagnosis can help prevent the condition’s progression. To get the best treatment, consult a doctor.

You need to check yourself immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Your skin doesn’t get better quickly with self-care measures
  • Fungal infections re-emerge
  • Tinea versicolor patches cover large areas of your body

Everyone’s body is different. The symptoms that appear between you and other patients may not be the same. If you experience any of the symptoms not mentioned above, consult a doctor to know the condition for sure.

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