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What is tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the top layer of the skin caused by an overgrowth of a yeast that lives naturally in tiny amounts on your skin. Tinea versicolor is one of the most common skin infections in people who live in tropical climates. It can cause itchy, flaky patches of skin that can look white against dark skin or tan or dark against light skin. The patchy areas of skin will not tan when exposed to sunlight.

A doctor can usually diagnose tinea versicolor by doing a physical examination and analyzing skin cell samples under a microscope. The doctor may also use a special lamp called a Wood's lamp to examine the skin. The condition can usually be treated successfully with anti-fungal medications taken orally or applied topically to the skin in the form of creams, ointments or shampoos.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.