Pityriasis versicolor (PV) is an infection of the superficial layers of the skin. The patient is bothered by the uneven skin pigmentation and the scaling of lesions, an unaesthetic combination. The infection is caused by a yeast, that parasitizes naturally in small numbers in the skin, mainly in the oily areas of the neck, upper thorax, back, scalp.
How it looks like and how recognize the disease?
We observe small and scaly spots in different colors (that’s why "versicolor") from white to brown and red. The fungus destroys the melanocytes and so discolor the skin. As the person tans in the sun, the spots become more obvious, especially in dark-haired people. When the spots appear on face and neck is very unattractive.
What are the symptoms?
The disease is asymptomatic, but sometimes when the patient sweats and he is hot, causes itching.
Who may be affected?
The vast majority of patients are teenagers and young adults. It is very rare in the elderly and unusual in children, except in tropical climates, where any age can be affected. Also people with oily skin may be more sensitive than those with dry skin.
Why do some people sick while others don’t?
The reasons for this have not been cleared. Since the fungus exists in small numbers in the skin of all of us, anyone can be affected. The yeast grows slowly in the skin. The normal washing and purification remove the fungus together with the dead epidermis cells. The ideal conditions for the excessive growth of fungi is the heat and the humidity. It usually takes a specific person's predisposition. In these people, therefore, when the fungi find a suitable environment with increased temperature and humidity multiply and create the lesions. Such conditions exist as one can imagine in the summer (heat - sweating - increased humidity) and winter in some situations (a predisposed person passing 2-3 days a flu and has high fever and continued sweating and thus may display lesions) or in people who exercise continuously.
Therefore in tropical climates, lesions in some people appear throughout the year, while in temperate climates usually in the spring and summer.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis is usually made easily by a dermatologist. But the light or dark spots, can sometimes resemble with other skin diseases.
In difficult cases it can recommended you a fungal examination.
How is the disease treated?
The treatment is easy and based on formulations that applied topically or on pills. But you always have to keep in mind that even after the treatment may remain white spots, because the fungus is being killed, but the colorless that it caused remains the only one who can reset the color to normal, is the sun.
Another that you should keep in mind is that the relapses are frequent. Many people appear and reappear lesions despite the successful treatments. Ask your dermatologist to recommend you a special soap for these cases.
In severe cases it needs oral therapy with a drug called itraconazole. Of course you should take it only after the expert advice.