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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2002 Jan;16(1):19-33.

Pityriasis versicolor.

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Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Pityriasis versicolor is a common superficial fungal infection of the skin. It is caused by Malassezia spp., which are normal human saprophytes. Under certain conditions, both exogenous and endogenous, the fungus can convert from a yeast to a pathogenic mycelial form. This alteration results in mild inflammation of the skin, and in characteristic clinical and histological changes. The taxonomy of Malassezia spp. has recently been modified to include six obligatorily lipophilic species, all of which can be found on human skin, plus one non-obligatorily lipophilic species, which only rarely colonizes human hosts.


At the conclusion of this learning activity, participants should be aware of the role of Malassezia in the development of pityriasis versicolor, the clinical and histological changes arising from this dermatosis, and the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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