What is Pityriasis Versicolor?
Malassezia is a type of germ that is found on the surface of the skin and does not cause any health issues. They are useful in protecting the skin from infections that cause diseases. They live harmoniously along with the skin cells benefiting each other. These are present in small numbers in most people, but for some these germs start to multiply and spread on the skin. That results in a rash and pigmentation of the skin which is darker or lighter than the normal skin. This condition is called Pityriasis Versicolor.
Pityriasis Versicolor Symptoms
The most noticeable symptom of this condition is discoloured patches that are found on the check, back, arms, or neck. These patches can also be found on the face in younger kids. The patches are:
- Darker or lighter than the normal skin. Having lighter skin is more common.
- It starts off as a small patch and later they join to form larger patches.
- The area of the patch is mildly itchy, scaly and dry.
- It is brown, pink, white, red, or tan in colour.
- It appears during humid weather and disappears in cooler weather
- In people with dark skin, it can result in hypopigmentation or loss of skin colour.
- In some people, the skin darkens and results in hyperpigmentation.
Who is at Risk?
Many biological and environmental factors increase the risk of this condition. It includes:
- People who sweat excessively
- The warm and humid climate is a cause for this condition
- Family history is a cause for this skin condition
- People who have a weak immune system
- People who take medications that affect the immunity
- Those with oily skin
- Those who suffer from hormonal imbalances
- Affects young adults and teen more than other age groups.
- Having some types of cancer poses a risk of having Pityriasis Versicolor.
This skin condition is not contagious and can happen to anyone with any skin colour.
Pityriasis Versicolor Causes
The growth of Malassezia which is a fungus causes Pityriasis Versicolor. This is a microorganism that is part of the microbiota of the normal skin.
- Among the 14 different species of these fungi, this skin condition is caused by M Restricta, M Sympodialis, and M Globosa.
- Normally these germs are in tiny amounts and do not cause a rash.
- In some people, they are more active and grow in large numbers resulting in Pityriasis Versicolor.
- Hypopigmentation is caused due to the chemical produced by Malassezia which impairs the function of the melanocytes.
- The pink Pityriasis Versicolor is due to dermatitis caused by Malassezia.
How is Pityriasis Versicolor Diagnosed?
A dermatologist can look at the skin patches or rash and make a Pityriasis Versicolor diagnosis. They also do an investigation of the medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle of the patient. The doctor may also use additional tests to confirm the prognosis, they are:
- Blacklight examination: An UV light is shown to the affected area and if it appears coppery orange then it is Pityriasis Versicolor.
- Skin cells are scraped and observed under a microscope to find if the yeast cells resemble spaghetti.
- Skin biopsy: The skin sample is taken by scraping the scales to check for the presence of fungal elements.
- Fungal culture: The fungus on the skin is tested to determine if you have this condition.
How is Pityriasis Versicolor Treated?
The Pityriasis Versicolor treatment involves many options and is dependent on the location, size, and thickness of the infected skin. It includes:
- Topical creams: These are applied to the skin and are in the form of creams, lotions, foams, or soap. These help to control the growth of yeast.
- Medications: Medicine for Pityriasis Versicolor includes anti-fungal pills and other prescription medications to treat recurring cases or those that are infected. These pills may have side effects and hence need to be monitored by a dermatologist.
Pityriasis Versicolor cure takes 1 to 4 weeks and if it reoccurs the same treatment is repeated.
If you have skin rashes and are unsure of what it is, then consult our dermatologist at Cure.fit. They are specialists who can quickly diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment.
How can Pityriasis Versicolor be Prevented?
If there are recurrent infections, medicated cleansers can be used to prevent it from happening again. Management and prevention of pityriasis Versicolor can be done by:
- Not using oily products if you have oily skin
- Wear loose clothes and fabrics that are breathable to prevent excessive sweating.
- Decrease exposure of skin to the sun as it may trigger or worsen the condition.
- Use antifungal lotions and shampoo a few days before sun exposure so prevent infections.
- Use a broad-spectrum, non-oily sunscreen with SPF 30 for sun protection.
- Use prescription creams and lotions in the seasons you are more susceptible to yeast infections.