What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea Versicolor is a harmless rash caused by yeast (pityrosporum orbiculare) which grows normally on the skin. In some people a more active growth occurs, usually in hot humid weather. It causes slightly scaly patches on the back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. These patches may appear brown, red, or white and may or may not be itchy. White patches occur because the rash area will not tan. However, the failure to tan is temporary and skin will tan normally after the rash clears up. Because the organism which causes Tinea Versicolor is a normal inhabitant of the skin, it is common to get recurrences after adequate treatment. The condition is not contagious. Treatments for Tinea Versicolor are offered by Dr. DeEtta Gray in her Bellveue office for patients from Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Seattle and throughout the Northwest.

What are the treatments for Tinea Versicolor?

Our physician offers both topical and oral treatments for Tinea Versicolor.

Topical treatments for Tinea Versicolor include:

  • Zinc Pyrithione shampoo – Zoma: Apply in a thin layer on the skin from the neck to the waist. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse. Repeat daily for 2 weeks.
  • Econazole 1% cream – EC/HC cream: Apply to affected areas twice a day for 2 – 3 weeks.

Oral treatments for Tinea Versicolor include:

Ketoconazole 200mg tablets. Take 2 tablets by mouth (400mg total). One hour later exercise until sweating. Make sure you drink plenty of water. Leave sweat on skin for 1 hour and then wash off. The medicine will come out through the pores to the surface where the yeast is overgrown. Repeat in 1 week.

The treatments remove only the patches of Tinea Versicolor. The white or dark spots will take several weeks to months of recovery before they blend in with the normal skin. The condition often recurs each summer. Treatment with ketoconazole pills, medicated shampoos or medicated creams in the spring months may prevent its recurrence.