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Tinea versicolor in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Tinea versicolor in Adult

Contributors: Sabrina Nurmohamed MD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Tinea versicolor, also known as pityriasis versicolor, is a common, benign superficial fungal infection of the skin. Infective organisms are dimorphic yeast of the Malassezia genus. The yeast forms of these organisms are part of the normal skin flora; however, conversion to the filamentous form leads to the appearance of tinea versicolor.

Clinically, the infection manifests as macules, papules, patches, and plaques of varying pigmentation with fine scale. The disease typically occurs in a seborrheic distribution including the upper trunk and arms, neck, and face. The suprapubic skin is another site of predilection. The rash is rarely pruritic, and the primary concern is usually its appearance.

The distribution is worldwide, but the condition is most commonly found in tropical areas with high humidity and temperatures. Young adults and teenagers seem to be affected more frequently due to increased sebaceous gland activity.

Tinea versicolor is not contagious. Factors mediating its development include heat, humidity, oral contraceptives, corticosteroid use, and immune suppression. Individuals with oily skin or a positive family history may be more susceptible.

The disease typically begins during or just after the warmest months of the year. It may last from weeks to months. There are no associated systemic signs. This condition should be in the differential diagnosis of any hypopigmented or hyperpigmented macules or patches on the body.


B36.0 – Pityriasis versicolor

56454009 – Tinea versicolor

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Last Updated:06/20/2016
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Tinea versicolor in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Tinea versicolor : Fine scaly plaque, Neck, Primarily truncal distribution, Round configuration, Trunk, Hyperpigmented macules, Hyperpigmented patches, Hypopigmented patches, Hypopigmented macules
Clinical image of Tinea versicolor - imageId=177139. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Flat, scaly hypopigmented papules and plaques on the back.'
Flat, scaly hypopigmented papules and plaques on the back.
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