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Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition due to overgrowth of skin surface yeast. This overgrowth results in uneven skin color and scaling that can be unsightly and sometimes itchy. The yeast normally lives in the pores of the skin and thrives in oily areas such as the neck, upper chest and back.
Tinea Versicolor FAQ
Tinea versicolor has small, scaly white-to-pink or tan-to-dark spots, which can be scattered over the upper arms, chest and back. They may sometimes appear on the neck and the face. On light skin, tinea versicolor may be faint or can appear as tan-to-pink spots, while on dark skin tinea versicolor may be light or dark. The fungus grows slowly and prevents the skin from tanning normally. As the rest of the skin tans in the sun, the pale spots, which are affected by the yeast, become more noticeable, especially on dark skin.
Tinea versicolor usually produces few symptoms. Occasionally, there is some slight itching that is more intense when a person gets hot.
Although the light- or dark-colored spots can resemble other skin conditions, a dermatologist can easily recognize tinea versicolor. In most cases, the appearance of the skin is diagnostic, but a simple examination of the fine scales scraped from the skin can confirm the diagnosis. Scales are lightly scraped onto a slide and examined under a microscope for the presence of the yeast. A special light may help to make the diagnosis by showing a yellow-green color where the skin is affected.
Scabies is most common in those who have close physical contact with others, particularly children, mother of young children, sexually active young adults and elderly people in nursing homes.