Pityriasis versicolor is a benign cutaneous infection caused by a yeast ( fungus) called Malassezia globosa (formerly Pytirosporum ovale or orbiculare). It is a common and cosmopolitan superficial mycosis.
This fungus is, in fact, naturally present on the skin, especially when the skin is oily. That is why this cutaneous affection appears mainly in adolescence, at which time the sebaceous glands become functional.
It rarely affects children and exceptionally newborns and infants under one year of age.Pityriasis versicolor generally appears as small spots that often sit on the trunk, especially on the upper back and thorax, more rarely on the neck or arms. In rare cases, pityriasis also develops on the legs.
These spots are brown or pink (sometimes white on black skin), and sometimes covered with a very thin skin. These symptoms are most often found after sun exposure.
This mycosis is accompanied by no other symptoms (especially no itching), and is only annoying by its unsightly appearance. Pityriasis versicolor tends to spread and recur.
The treatment of pityriasis versicolor is based on local topical (creams, lotions) based on antimycotics. If this treatment can stop the spread of infection, it is not always effective on stains, which can persist for a few years.
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Author: Ide Parenty.
Expert Consultant: Dr. Nina Roos, dermatologist.