Tinea Versicolor in Children

What is tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor, also called pityriasis versicolor, is a common condition caused by yeast on the skin. It is characterized by lighter or darker patches on the skin. Patches are most often found on the upper chest or back and prevent the skin from tanning evenly. It occurs mostly in adolescence and early adulthood, but can occur at any time.

What are the symptoms of tinea versicolor?

Usually, the only symptom of tinea versicolor is white, pink, or light brown patches. The patches may scale slightly, but rarely itch or hurt. Other common characteristics of the rash include:

  • The rash usually occurs on the trunk
  • The rash does not usually occur on the face
  • Patches worsen in the heat and humidity
  • Patches are most noticeable in the summer

The symptoms of tinea versicolor may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for diagnosis.

How is tinea versicolor diagnosed?

Tinea versicolor is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of your child. The patches seen with this condition are unique and usually allow the diagnosis to be made on physical examination. Also, your child's doctor may do skin scrapings of the lesions to help confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for tinea versicolor

Treatment usually includes the use of an antifungal or dandruff shampoo on the skin as prescribed by your child's doctor. Tinea versicolor often recurs, requiring additional treatments. Your child's doctor may also prescribe topical creams or oral antifungal medications.

It is important to know a recurrence of the condition is possible. Your child's doctor may also recommend using the shampoo monthly to help prevent recurrences. The treatment will not bring the normal color back to the skin immediately. This will occur naturally and may take several months.