What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea Versicolor

These lectures are not meant to replace your physician and are simply provided as a free educational service to all our visitors. If you feel that you have a skin problem, please see your doctor.

Tinea versicolor is a common chronic skin condition that is caused by a yeast which normally lives on the skin of all human beings. The yeast has been known by several names including Malassezia furfur, Pityrosporum ovale and Pityrosporum orbiculare. This yeast lives in the opening from which the hairs grow out of your skin. The organism gets its nourishment by eating the oil produced by the glands attached to those hairs.

In some individuals this yeast, instead of remaining confined to the hair opening, where it belongs, multiplies and spreads to the skin surface. Their growth on skin surface is irritating to the skin and causes redness, itching and flaking.

At first, these spots are tiny and are seen about each hair opening. With time, they spread together forming large patches. Finally the scaling areas may turn white as the skin loses its color in reaction to the yeast. In some individuals the flaking areas can be yellow, orange, red or brown in color - hence the name "versicolor" or many colors.

TINEA VERSICOLOR IS CAUSED BY THE OVERGROWTH OF A YEAST FOUND NORMALLY IN THE SKIN OF ALL PERSONS AND IT IS NOT A CONTAGIOUS CONDITION. MANY PEOPLE HAVE THIS CONDITION WHICH TENDS TO BE MORE SEVERE IN WARM CLIMATES AND IN THOSE WHO SWEAT A GOOD DEAL.

CURING TINEA VERSICOLOR

Because you can never entirely get rid of this yeast from your skin, the condition is only controlled and never completely cured by treatment.

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