Skin fungus with white spots
January 31, 2012|By Dr. Rebecca Campen, Florida Jewish Journal
Q: I went to the doctor for some white patches on my arms. He told me I had tinea versicolor, a type of fungus that destroys the melanin in your skin. The doctor prescribed anti-fungal shampoo to clear it up. But is there a way to make sure you don't get it again? I've read that some people are more prone to this problem.
A: Tinea versicolor is sometimes called pityriasis versicolor. It's caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Pityrosporum ovale. This yeast is normally found on skin. But it causes problems when it overgrows. This often happens in warm, humid climates.
Pink, scaly patches develop on the upper back, upper arms, chest, and neck. These patches may itch, and eventually turn lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. If you get a tan, the condition becomes more noticeable.
Your doctor can often diagnose the condition just by appearance alone. Your doctor may also confirm it from a skin scraping. He or she will examine the skin scraping under a microscope to look for yeast forms typical of tinea versicolor.
Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal shampoo, cream, or lotion. They commonly contain selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or pyrithione zinc. These are effective treatments for tinea versicolor. Using one of them early helps prevent the infection from spreading.
But even with treatment the condition often returns, especially in warm, humid climates. If tinea versicolor covers a large part of the body, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication.
There's no way to ensure the condition will not come back. But staying cool and avoiding oily sunscreens and body lotions helps.
(Rebecca Campen, M.D., J.D., is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She divides her time between clinical practice of dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and private practice in Savannah, Ga.)
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White spots from fungus Pityriasis Versicolor2010-01-01 13:28:42 by TV-PCRepairman
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If you are having trouble with white spots on your skin, and your doctor can't quite figure out whats wrong with you unless you pay for very expensive diagnostic tests including skin biopsys that leave scars etc, then wait weeks or even months after several appointments for test results with no treatment, then this information may just help you save a bundle of cash and get fast results!
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