The fungus grows slowly and prevents the skin from tanning normally. As the rest of the skin tans in the sun, the pale spots, which are affected by the yeast, become more noticeable, especially on dark skin.
Tinea versicolor usually produces few symptoms. Occasionally, there is some slight itching that is more intense when a person gets hot. Most people get tinea Vversicolor when they are teenagers or young adults. It is rare in the elderly and children, except in tropical climates where it can occur at any age. Both dark and light skinned people are equally prone to its development. People with oily skin may be more susceptible than those with naturally dry skin.
Although the light or dark colored spots can resemble other skin conditions, tinea versicolor can be easily recognized by a dermatologist. In most cases, the appearance of the skin is diagnostic, but a simple examination of the fine scales scraped from the skin can confirm the diagnosis.
Tinea versicolor is treated with topical or oral medications. Topical treatment includes special cleansers including some shampoos, creams or lotions applied directly to the skin. Several oral medications have been used successfully to treat tinea versicolor. After any form of treatment, the uneven color of the skin may remain several months after the yeast has been eliminated until the skin repigments normally.
Each patient is treated by the dermatologist according to the severity and location of the disease, the climate and the wishes of the patient. It is important to remember that the yeast is easy to kill, but it can take weeks or months for the skin to regain its normal color.