Tinea versicolor is a skin condition caused by a yeastlike fungus called Malassezia furfur. Tinea versicolor means "multicolored ringworm." It is more common in warm, humid climates. The condition occurs in adolescents and adults.
The problem tends to come and go for many years. There are no serious complications. It is a cosmetic problem. Itching is uncommon.
Selsun Blue (selenium sulfide) is a nonprescription medicated shampoo that helps this condition. Apply this shampoo once a day for 14 days. Apply it to the affected skin areas as well as 2 or 3 inches around the spots. Rub it in and let it dry. Be careful to keep it away from the eyes and genitals, since it is irritating to these tissues. After 30 minutes, take a shower. In 2 weeks the scaling should be stopped, and the rash temporarily cured. Normal skin color will not return for 6 to 12 months.
Tinea versicolor tends to recur. Prevent this by applying Selsun Blue shampoo on the areas that were affected previously once a month for several years. Leave it on for 1 to 2 hours, then shower. This precaution is especially important in the summer months because this fungus thrives in warm weather.
Tinea versicolor is not contagious. This fungus is found on the hair follicles in many people. Only a few develop the overgrowth of the fungus and a rash.
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