Home > Health A – Z > Tinea Versicolor

Tinea Versicolor (Pityriasis Versicolor)

A skin eruption caused by the Malassezia fungus. These yeasts are normally found on the human skin and only become troublesome under certain circumstances, such as a warm and humid environment.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor, also referred to as pityriasis versicolor, is a skin infection that causes small patches to form on your skin. It is caused by a type of fungus that is found on almost everyone's skin. Tinea versicolor is usually not harmful or contagious. In most cases it can be treated effectively with medicinal shampoo, or lotions or creams.


The main symptoms of tinea versicolor are circular or oval colored patches of skin that most commonly form on your back, chest, neck and/or arms. Children often have these patches on their face as well.

These patches may be yellow or brownish, or even red or pink. They are usually lighter or darker than the surrounding healthy skin. Because these lighter patches hardly change color in the sun, they are more noticeable if you have a suntan. But if you have a very fair complexion, they may turn a little brownish.

Some parts of the skin may also be somewhat scaly and in rare cases the skin may be a little itchy. Tinea versicolor may also slowly spread across the skin and affect larger areas... Read more about Tinea Versicolor

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Systematic review of systemic treatments for tinea versicolor and evidence-based dosing regimen recommendations

BACKGROUND: Extensive or recurrent tinea versicolor (TV) can be treated with systemic antifungal therapies, but no dosing regimens have been approved for this indication.

Pityriasis versicolor: a systematic review of interventions

OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of topical or systemic agents in the treatment and prevention of pityriasis versicolor.

Efficacy of topical antifungal drugs in different dermatomycoses: a systematic review with meta-analysis

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate and compare the efficacy of topical antifungal drugs applied to the treatment of each dermatomycosis.

See all (6)

Summaries for consumers

What treatments are available for tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor can usually be effectively treated using topical (externally applied) medications. These contain a substance that keeps the fungus from growing or kills it. Even with treatment, it can take several months for the skin to return to normal.Tinea versicolor is a skin condition that affects about 1% of the population in countries with a moderate climate. The main symptom is discolored (lighter or darker) patches of skin, mostly on the upper body. It is caused by a type of fungus that is found on most people’s skin. Tinea versicolor is not contagious.

Tinea versicolor: Overview

If a fungus grows a lot it may lead to a medical condition. Tinea versicolor is one example. This skin condition is caused by a fungus, and is usually harmless. Many people who have it don’t know that a fungus is to blame for their discolored skin patches. Read about the typical symptoms and effective treatments.

More about Tinea Versicolor

Photo of a young adult

Also called: Dermatomycosis furfuracea, Tinea flava

Other terms to know:
Fungal Infections, Hyperpigmentation, Hypopigmentation

Keep up with systematic reviews on Tinea Versicolor:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...