Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Can I Treat Tinea Versicolor?

Monday, 14 June 2010 04:04 PM

Question: I have been diagnosed with tinear versicolor, which covers a large portion of my body. I am being treated with creams and direct sunlight. Another physician recommended UV light treatment which I refused. Is there any treatment that can speed up the process, and will the fungus contribute to any other health problems?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Tinea versicolor is caused by a fungus that is normally found in our skin. It rarely causes problems, but in some individuals it converts from a harmless yeast form to a hyphal form which causes characteristic lesions.
It is very common, and is usually recognized as multiple areas of depigmentation in dark skinned individuals. On light skin, it appears as slightly increased pigmented areas especially over the back, shoulders and chest. It rarely appears on the face or distal extremities. It is emphasized by sun exposure, and both heat and humidity promote infection.
Tinea versicolor is easily treated by both prescription and non-prescription agents. Selenium sulphide solution (Selsun) is a very inexpensive and effective treatment when used daily for one week.
An additional application one week after initial treatment has been completed will reduce the chance of recurrence.
More expensive anti-fungal agents are not necessary for most people, though topical imidazoles are also effective. UV light will not help. This fungus causes cosmetic problems only, and will not harm your health.

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