Tinea versicolor, also known as Pityriasis versicolor, is a superficial fungal infection of the skin that is caused by yeasts. These yeasts are normally found on the human skin and have an affinity for oil glands.
Factors like warm and humid environment cause these yeasts to convert to a pathogenic form, which causes the rash of Tinea Versicolor. Some other factors include removal of the adrenal gland, pregnancy, malnutrition, burns, steroid therapy, suppressed immune system, oral contraceptives, and excess heat and humidity.
Tinea versicolor can occur at any age, but is most common in adolescence and early adulthood. It has a recurrence rate of 80 percent after 2 years.
Since the yeast is present on the skin, topical antifungal medications is the preferred treatment for Tinea versicolor. Topical antifungal treatment regimens have produced over 70 percent clinical response rate. If the rash is severe, oral antifungal medications are recommended. Moreover, periodic use of medications is recommended since Tinea versicolor has a recurrence rate of 80 percent after 2 years.
A few topical antifungal medications are 2 percent Ketoconazole cream, 2 percent Ketoconazole shampoo, 1 percent Terbinafine solution and 1 percent Clotrimazole solution.
Oral antifungal medications are recommended when the rash is severe, since it has potential side effects. Side effects are uncommon with therapeutic dosages used for Tinea versicolor but in very rare cases side effects include nausea or reversible liver damage. The recommended medications are Itraconazole, Ketoconazole and Fluconazole.
Oral griseofulvin and oral terbinafine are not effective treatments for Tinea versicolor.
Another widely used treatment for Tinea versicolor is with dandruff shampoos. However, it is less effective compared to antifungal medications. Shampoos that have been used are sulfur-salicyclic acid shampoo, zinc-pyrithione shampoo etc.
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