Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Tinea Versicolor
Tinea versicolor (also known as pityriasis versicolor) is a fungal
infection that causes a skin rash. The rash is formed by many small spots that
typically appear on the oily parts of the upper body, usually on the chest and
The spots are flat and may be white, pink, red, tan, or brown,
depending on skin color. Each person's spots are usually the same color, either
lighter or darker than the rest of the skin. The spots may eventually form
patches, and the spotted skin may be scaly.
Tinea versicolor is caused by a type of fungus normally found on the skin. But when temperatures and humidity are high,
such as during the summer or in tropical regions, the fungi may grow rapidly,
resulting in a skin rash.
Tinea versicolor is most common in teenagers and young adults
because their skin tends to be more oily, but it can occur at any age. It is
not considered to be contagious.
Tinea versicolor is treated with topical medicines that are spread
on the skin or scalp, such as creams, shampoos, or solutions. Topical medicines
are an effective treatment for the rash. But if the rash is severe or returns
often, antifungal pills may be needed. Tinea versicolor is easily treated but
often returns within 1 to 2 years.
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Randall D. Burr, MD - Dermatology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.