Pityriasis versicolor is a mild, chronic and recurrent skin infection.
What causes Pityriasis versicolor?
The causative agent of this disease is the fungus Malassezia furfur (syn. Pityrosporum ovale), which is naturally found on the skin surfaces of humans, but only under certain conditions causes skin diseases.
Sweating, fever, clothes that prevent the skin from breathing, as well as some general disorders that reduce the body’s immunity, play an important role in the development of this condition.
Regardless of the fact that the fungus is the causative agent, this disease is not contagious and develops in genetically predisposed people.
How is the condition manifested?
The lesions most often appear on the skin of the upper part of the trunk and on the shoulders. They are manifested as clearly defined, pale red patches that scale slightly, and later become hypopigmented, lighter than the surrounding skin, which is especially visible when the surrounding (healthy) skin tans. Itching is sometimes present.
Why does it develop?
The cause of this disease is still unknown. It is associated with the activation of herpes viruses 6 and 7, which primarily cause rashes in young children, although the viral aetiology has not been confirmed. Patients often report that the condition was preceded by wearing new clothes or clothes that have not been used for a long time.
How long can Pityriasis versicolor last and how is it treated?
Without treatment, the disease can last for years in some cases, it recedes spontaneously during the cold months.
Treatment usually consists of topical application of imidazole preparations, ciclopiroxolamine in the form of a solution, cream or shampoo, as well as selenium sulphide and zinc pyrithione in the form of shampoo.
General therapy is rarely needed. After the treatment, hypopigmentation usually remains and may be present for
several months, as a consequence of temporary melanocytes destruction.
The disease can reappear because Pityrosporum ovale is normally present on the skin, so it is not a sign of an incurable disease.