Fungal Infections of the Skin
About Fungal Infection of the Skin
What is it?
Tinea versicolor, sometimes called pityriasis versicolor, is a fungal/yeast skin infection that causes small oval discolored patches to develop on the skin. These patches may be lighter or darker in color than the surrounding skin and most commonly affect the trunk and shoulders. This fungal skin infection occurs most frequently in teens and young adults and sun exposure may make it more apparent. Tinea versicolor, which is also called pityriasis versicolor, is not painful or contagious. But it can lead to emotional distress or self-consciousness. Tinea versicolor often recurs, especially in warm, humid weather.
What causes it?
We all have yeast living on our skin and when yeast grows out of control, a person can get a skin disease called tinea versicolor. Your dermatologist may tell you that you have a fungal infection on your skin, yeast is a type of fungus. Many people get tinea versicolor and it is one of the most common skin diseases in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The fungus that causes tinea versicolor can be found on healthy skin. It can start causing problems when the fungus starts growing due to a number of factors. This often happens when there is hot, humid weather, oily skin can trigger it, hormonal changes, and even a weakened immune system. The first sign of tinea versicolor is often spots on the skin. These can be lighter (or darker) than your surrounding skin and can be on all parts of your body. They can be dry, scaly, and itchy. If you are tan, they are more noticeable (yeast prevents the skin from tanning). They can even grow together, forming patches of lighter (or darker) skin and disappear when the temperature drops and return in the spring or summer when the air turns warm and humid.