What is Tinea Versicolor?
First of all, Tinea refers to a fungal infection.
Second, versicolor means that it changes colors usually when exposed to the sun.
Putting it together, this is a skin fungal infection that changes color. Since yeast is type of fungus, some may refer to tinear versicolor as a skin yeast infection.
Quickcare or ER?
Tinea Versicolor can easily be treated at a clinic. There is no fever, swelling, itching or discharge. Many persons have this condition for years without any long-term consequence.
Thus, no need to go the ER for treatment
What will your doctor ask you?
Your doctor will want to know your symptoms. Remember, a symptom is your description of your condition. It is your story.
Answering the following questions will help your doctor understand.
- Where is the rash?
- When did it start?
- What makes it better?
- What makes it worse?
- Is it itchy?
- Is is swollen?
- Does it have any discharge (pus) oozing out from it?
- Are there other symptoms such as pain, fever or shortness of breath?
What will your doctor look forAssociated symptoms are important to know. That is, before even looking at the rash, a good doc will look at your temperature. He or she wants to know if you are feverish. A fever with a rash can be a bad combination.
Also, your doctor will want to see the rash.
Is it flat or raised? Is it dry or wet? Is in patches or confluent?
Is it blanchable? Is there pus oozing out or is it dry?
Where on the body is it? In sun-exposed areas?
What is your doctor thinking?Like any good ER doc, I think of the worst things ……such as cancer.
However, although tinea versicolor may be dark, it is not black like a melanoma.
Also, it is flat and not bubbly at the edges as in squamous cell carcinoma.
Furthermore, since it is not red and swollen, an infection is unlikely.
Rashes such as this changes color with the sun. The organism causing the rash is a fungus.
What is the treatment of Tinea Versicolor?
First, tinea versicolor is caused by a fungus (Malassezia furfur). This is the same bug that causes dandruff. Thus, dandruff shampoos with Selenium may be used as a tinea versicolor treatment.
Most times I will prescribe a topical anti-fungal cream such as Lotrimin or Lotrisone.
How long will you be sick?
After treatment is started, I have seen many resolve within one to two weeks.
Let Me Tell You a Story…..
Samantha came from the cold. All that her body has ever known is the cold overcast weather.
Her genes go back for hundreds of years adapting to the cold. First in Warsaw, Poland and then in the suburbs of Rochester, NY.
Where she is from, summer comes on the Fourth of July and, if you are lucky, it lasts the whole day. Her skin never the saw the sun from September until May.
Samantha is a nurse traveling on assignment for a two week contract. When she first arrived to my clinic in California , she noticed how fair-skin she was compared to everyone around her. The constant over-cast skies of the Northeast combined with her Polish genes turned off whatever little melanin that she had. ” I don’t tan. I just pink-up with sun light and then burn and then go back to being white,” she said.
Sounded like a grave condition indeed.
Where I am from in Hollister, California, the summer had arrived. Everyone looked so tan. Deep. Dark. All those hours in the sun make everyone look bronzed.
Samantha wanted to fit in. Outdoor activities became her daily routine. She was getting her sun, loosing weight and then…….”Doctor Reyes, look at this…(she put her forearm under my nose)..I am getting spots like a leopard.”
As for Samantha, she had no fever. Her white skin was dotted with dark spots. The rash was flat, no pus or discharge, kind of scaly, and circular in shape. The color of each was a few shades darker than her mildly tanned skin.
Samantha told me that the rash was at sun-exposed areas such as her arms, legs and face. It started when she arrived in California. Nothing made it better and the sun made it worse. It is dry and flat.
After a short course of the topical anti-fungal medication called Lotrimin, the tinea went away.
Once her temporary position ended, she returned to Rochester with a glow to her skin that her forefathers could not have imagined. It was not quite a bronze but all her friends back home were definitely envious.
I hope this helps