Pityriasis Versicolor is a fungal infection. Yeast lives on the skin that does not cause problems most of the time. However, yeast can grow out of control, causing a fungal infection. Pityriasis versicolor is not painful or contagious, but it does create discolored patches on the skin because it interferes with the skin’s pigmentation. Even though the fungal infection is not contagious or painful, it can cause a person to be self-conscious, primarily if the infection spreads to large areas of the body. It is important to understand the symptoms of the fungal infection so that you can seek treatment.
Symptom: Spots on the skin
Usually, the first sign that you are suffering from pityriasis versicolor is spotting on your skin. The spots can be darker or lighter than your skin tone. In some individuals, the blemishes can be tan, salmon, brown, red, or pink. Spots can appear anywhere on your body because pityriasis versicolor is not limited to one or two areas of the body. However, the most common areas for pityriasis versicolor is the chest, upper arms, back, or neck. For some individuals, spots may not cause any other symptoms or symptoms might be delayed. Therefore, if spots are faint and do not cause other symptoms, they can be mistaken for other skin diseases.
Symptom: Dry or Scaly Skin
The spots caused by pityriasis versicolor appear to be dry or scaly. As the fungal infection spreads, the spots may appear to grow together to form patches of dry, scaly skin. Because the yeast will prevent the skin from tanning, the scaly and dry patches are more noticeable when you have a tan.
Symptom: Itchy or Irritated Skin
Another common symptom of pityriasis versicolor is itchy or irritated skin. Some individuals may not experience any irritation or itchiness while other individuals may experience mild to severe itchiness and irritation. Scratching the skin can inflame the skin further, causing the areas to become more red and itchy. While some lotions might provide temporary relief, the itchiness will return because body lotions do not cure the yeast infection.
Symptom: More Noticeable During Certain Seasons
Signs of pityriasis versicolor can come and go during the year, depending on the weather. As the temperatures and seasons change, the spots on the skin can become more or less noticeable. Pityriasis versicolor is usually more noticeable during periods of hot, humid weather and less noticeable with the weather is cooler and less humid. Therefore, depending on where you live, your pityriasis versicolor could be worse during the summer and almost disappear in the winter.
Treatment: OTC Topical Remedies
Some over-the-counter (OTC) remedies can treat pityriasis versicolor. Antifungal creams, shampoos, lotions, and ointments you purchase at your pharmacy or drug store can be useful in treating pityriasis versicolor. A pharmacist might be able to suggest an OTC antifungal treatment that might relieve symptoms and clear up the skin. When trying an OTC, remember that your condition could become worse. If symptoms do not improve, you should see a doctor for treatment.
Treatment: Prescription Topical Medications
Sometimes, an OTC topical medication is not sufficient to treat pityriasis versicolor. The yeast infection is too strong for the OTC medication. When an OTC topical remedy is not effective in treating pityriasis versicolor, a doctor may prescribe a prescription-strength lotion, shampoo, cream, or gel. Some of these medications used in topical prescription antifungals are available in OTC products, but the strength of the active ingredients is stronger in the prescription medications.
Treatment: Prescription Oral Medications
In some cases, an oral medication might be necessary to cure pityriasis versicolor. A doctor might prescribe both an oral and topical medication. In other cases, a patient may prefer an oral medication for pityriasis versicolor instead of a cream, lotion, or shampoo. Some people prefer the oral medication to the inconvenience and messiness of topical medications. Many oral medications are available in tablets or capsules in various strengths.
Treatment: Light Therapy
Some sources believe light therapy or photodynamic therapy to be an effective treatment for pityriasis versicolor. Photodynamic therapy uses drugs called photosensitizing agents with light to treat the yeast infection. Not all doctors or medical authorities agree that using light therapy is an effective medical treatment for pityriasis versicolor. Patients should discuss all treatment options with their physician before deciding on a treatment plan that is best for them.
Treatment: Home Remedies
A quick search online for home remedies for pityriasis versicolor will return a list of procedures people suggest for curing pityriasis versicolor. Some of the common suggestions for home remedies, including using tea tree oil, honey, aloe vera, beeswax, apple cider vinegar, or olive oil as a topical remedy. However, using a home remedy could have risks. As with any infection, seeking medical advice before employing a treatment is often the preferred method of treating the condition.
Preventative Measures: Preventing Pityriasis Versicolor
For some people, pityriasis versicolor can return even after taking prescription medications to treat the yeast infection. Some physicians may suggest that you use preventative measures such as using an oral treatment or topical medication on a regular basis to reduce the risk of developing pityriasis versicolor again. In some cases, using a medicated cleanser as advised by a physician can stop the yeast from growing out of control. For some individuals, avoiding situations that cause excess sweating and avoiding excessive heat can help prevent pityriasis versicolor from developing again.