Tinea Versicolor Treatment

Tinea Versicolor Treatment at Illinois Dermatology Institute

Nearly 3 million people receive a tinea versicolor diagnosis each year. This common fungal infection is the cause of small patches of skin discoloration that become noticeable throughout your skin, especially on the trunk and shoulders.

Most often found in teens and young adults, tinea versicolor does not cause any physical pain, but the visual changes can cause a person diagnosed with this condition to feel self-conscious or emotionally distressed.

If you’ve recently experienced tinea versicolor or believe you may have it now, our team of specialists at IDI is here to help with comprehensive treatment options and compassionate care.

Let’s discuss tinea versicolor in more detail, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

What is tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is a skin infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast that leads to fungal interference with the skin’s normal pigmentation.


The most common symptom of tinea versicolor is patches of skin discoloration on the back, chest, neck, and upper arms. Patches could appear darker or lighter than a person’s natural skin tone.

Other symptoms include:

  • Mild itching
  • Skin scaling


Tinea versicolor is caused by an overgrowth of fungus normally found on healthy skin.

Various factors could trigger fungal overgrowth, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • A weakened immune system
  • Oily skin
  • Hot and humid weather

Is tinea versicolor contagious?

No, tinea versicolor is not contagious. The fungus that causes it is also not contagious.

Comprehensive Tinea Versicolor Treatment

Tinea versicolor is easily recognizable and can be diagnosed by your dermatologist simply by looking at the affected area.

If there is any doubt of the skin infection, a skin scraping may be done to view the affected skin more closely under a microscope.

For mild cases of tinea versicolor, an over-the-counter antifungal cream is effective for most people. Patients diagnosed with moderate to severe cases may require prescription-strength medication taken orally or applied topically to the affected area.

The most common prescription treatment includes:

  • Ketoconazole cream or gel
  • Ciclopirox cream
  • Fluconazole tablets
  • Itraconazole tablets or capsules
  • Selenium sulfide lotion

Even after confirmation of a successful treatment, your skin may remain discolored for several weeks to months.

In rare cases, the infection may frequently return, especially during warmer weather. Those patients may be prescripted monthly medication to prevent recurrent episodes.

To learn more about tinea versicolor treatment or to receive a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis, book your appointment with us today. Your skin health and wellbeing matter to us.

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