pityriasis versicolor

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Pityriasis versicolor (also known as tinea versicolor) is a skin infection which often presents as patches of relatively depigmented or hyperpigmented skin (1).

It is a superficial mycosis caused by various yeasts and lipophilic fungi of the genus Malassezia part of the normal human skin flora with three dominant species: M globosa, M sympodialis, and M furfur

  • presents as multiple well-demarcated, scaly, oval-to-round hypo- or hyperpigmented macules that frequently coalesce into larger patches

  • this condition been reported worldwide but is predominant in tropical climates

    • affects nearly 1% of the general population and has an incidence of up to 50% in some tropical climates (2)
      • in temperate climates, eruptions occur more commonly in the summer than in the winter months

    • is equally distributed between men and women
    • has been found in newborns and elderly patients, although it is more frequent in adolescents and young adults (2)
    • predominantly affects the upper trunk and also on the upper arms, neck and face (more common in children) (1)
    • most important predisposing factors are heat, humidity, use of oily tanning lotions and creams, and corticosteroids

If the skin is not tanned, the skin appears fawn with a slight brawny scaling and wrinkling. It is slightly itchy.

Often, it is difficult to tell if treatment is successful until the patient acquires a tan in the following year.

Click here for example images of pityriasis versicolor


Last reviewed 03/2020