Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition in which flaky discolored patches appear mainly on the chest and back. It is caused by a yeast that normally lives on our skin. Whenever this yeast overgrows, it can cause a rash called tinea versicolor. This yeast is not contagious. The first sign of tinea versicolor are often pink or coppery brown scaly spots on the skin. The rash tends to appear on the upper back, shoulders, arms and chest. It may occasionally involve the face and beard area. The rash becomes more noticeable during the summer months when the skin tans, as the yeast prevents the involved skin from tanning. Tinea versicolor may be associated with excessive sweating and patients with this condition may notice it comes back or worsens during hot, humid summer months.
Depending on where the rash is located and how much of the skin is affected, your dermatologist may prescribe a combination of therapies. Treatments may consists of antifungal medications applied to the skin, medicated shampoos, and in the case of persistent tinea versicolor, oral antifungal medications may be recommended. With treatment, the yeast is easily eradicated. The skin, however, will stay lighter or darker for weeks to months. The skin will eventually return to its normal color.