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Int J Dermatol. 2003 Dec;42(12):928-32.

Atrophying tinea versicolor: a clinical and histological study of 12 patients.

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Central Medical Laboratories, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.



We describe 12 patients with an atrophying dermatitis in whom the biopsy findings were compatible with tinea versicolor.


We encountered 12 skin biopsies from 12 patients in whom a clinically atrophying dermatosis was associated with light microscopic (LM) evidence of atrophy and epidermal colonization by Pityrosporum sp. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections were cut at 5 microns and stained with H&E, alcian blue-PAS and PAS-diastase preparations.


Five men and seven women aged 17-73 years in whom lesions characterized as atrophic plaques, patches or macules prompted clinical differential diagnoses including parapsoriasis or mycosis fungoides (MF), anetoderma, lupus erythematosus, and steroid atrophy. A LM examination showed epidermal colonization with pityrosporum hyphae and spores accompanied by variable epidermal and dermal atrophy characterized by rete-ridge effacement, subepidermal fibroplasia, pigment incontinence and elastolysis.


Atrophying cutaneous lesions comprise part of the clinical spectrum of tinea versicolor for which we propose the term 'atrophying tinea versicolor'. The pathogenetic basis is unclear but could be the sequela of delayed type hypersensitivity and the release by T-helper lymphocytes of leukotrienes which perturb collagen metabolism and/or keratinocyte growth. Lesions may be mistaken clinically for MF or other atrophying dermatoses.

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