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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : Last summer I had a skin condition called tinea versicolor. And now it looks like I have it again. Can I get rid of it permanently? Could I be eating foods that cause it?
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The Trusted Source
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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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November 07, 2013
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Tinea versicolor is also called pityriasis versicolor. It’s a condition caused by a common yeast normally found on skin. The yeast, Malassezia furfur, lives in pores of normal adults. And it can cause changes in pigmentation of skin, resulting in pink or light patches of skin with scaling. The scaling patches happen most often on the upper back, chest, and upper arms. But they may show up elsewhere.

Tinea versicolor is more common in warm, humid climates. But it can be seen in other climates. It is more noticeable in summer in contrast to tanned areas of skin.

Your doctor may be able to diagnose the skin condition just by examining it. Or he or she can perform a test to see if you have tinea versicolor. Your doctor would scrape an area of your skin with scaling area, then examine it under the microscope.

You can treat the condition with antifungal creams, lotions, or washes prescribed by your doctor. In widespread cases, your doctor may prescribe oral (by mouth) medication.

There is no evidence that certain foods cause tinea versicolor. And unfortunately, there is no way to insure that the condition will not result again, especially in humid climates. After treatment the skin will gradually return to its normal color. But this may take a month or so.

 

 

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