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Tinea Versicolor


Tinea versicolor is a long-term infection that leaves colored spots on your skin. Tinea versicolor is caused by a fungus. The fungus is always present on your skin. It is harmless unless it grows too quickly.



  • Antifungal cream: Tinea versicolor is usually treated with an antifungal (kills fungus) cream. You may also need to use a special shampoo on your skin. Apply the cream or shampoo as directed. You may need to use the cream for 4 weeks to treat your symptoms. You may need to apply it for 3 months to keep your symptoms from coming back.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

Manage and prevent tinea versicolor:

Tinea versicolor usually comes back, especially in hot and humid times of the year. You can manage the symptoms and help prevent it.

  • Keep your skin clean and dry. Bathe daily. You may need to apply a special shampoo to your skin a few minutes before you take a shower. This will help to keep the infection from coming back. Dry your skin completely after you bathe and play sports. Dry between your toes and anywhere your skin touches or folds.
  • Do not share clothes or towels. Use your own towel if you live with others or go to the gym.
  • Clean showers, baths, and mats with disinfectant (cleaner that kills germs). Clean floors where you might walk barefoot.
  • Wash clothes and towels in hot water.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your signs and symptoms do not get better within 2 weeks of treatment.
  • Your signs and symptoms get worse or come back after treatment.
  • You get a headache that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.