How Do You Get Tinea Versicolor

How Do You Get Tinea Versicolor

Delving Into The Development Of A Common Skin Condition

Unlike many other skin conditions and infections, the progression of Tinea Versicolor can be swift and silent. For millions of individuals worldwide, what begins as a slight discoloration along their shoulders or torso soon progresses into widespread patches of lighter or darker skin. Although no severe complications are associated with this fungal infection, the physical symptoms can become more prominent if left untreated. Much like any fungal infection, the onset and proliferation of Tinea Versicolor are based upon a myriad of internal and environmental factors. Although some of these elements may be avoided, millions of individuals are predisposed to this common skin yeast infection based on location.

Tinea Versicolor – A Brief Exploration

Before delving into the causes of Tinea Versicolor, it's imperative to hold a basic understanding of what this fungal infection is. Silently resting along the surface of your skin is a delicate balance of flora. While skin flora is found in all individuals, it is typically quiet and hidden. However, due to various internal and external factors, the proliferation of the dimorphic fungus Malassezia furfur becomes too great for the body to contain naturally. Although this harmless skin flora component does not yield dangerous outcomes, its progression can lead to patches of scaly skin, which often lead to hypo-pigmentation or the lightening of the skin.

Although there are no serious complications from this common skin infection, its ability to proliferate if left untreated is astonishing. Confirmation of this condition is relatively easy by physicians or dermatologists. Diagnosis is typically accomplished by reviewing its clinical appearance or gathering skin samples and reviewing them under a microscope. While several skin conditions appear similar to the physical manifestations of Tinea Versicolor, a physician can make an accurate diagnosis upon closer inspection.

Treatment options typically consist of an anti-fungal ointment applied directly to afflicted areas. Both prescription-based and herbal extract ointments are effective in eradicating and inhibiting Malassezia furfur proliferation. In severe cases, oral anti-fungal medication is often prescribed. Although containing this infection and restoring proper flora balance is relatively easy to achieve, recurrence is nearly universal because the root cause of this infection is a normal and healthy skin flora component. Therefore, preventative measures are often recommended, such as bathing with anti-fungal soaps and monthly application of anti-fungal creams.

The Environmental Connection To Tinea Versicolor Outbreaks

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding Tinea Versicolor is the belief that this condition only afflicts those with health complications. While those with specific health issues may be more vulnerable to an outbreak, which is discussed below, most Tinea Versicolor infections directly result from environmental influences. According to leading health organizations, such as the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the onset of this fungal infection is due to hot, humid climates. Those living in tropical areas are significantly more likely to suffer from fungal overgrowth than those in dry locations. The primary reason for this result is the biological preference for yeast and skin flora. Without access to dry air, the fungus can reproduce rapidly.

Without a natural balance between dry and wet air, this skin fungus establishes colonies throughout the surface of your skin. Unchallenged, these colonies proliferate at such a rate that the human body cannot contain its progression. Over time, and without effective treatment, the accumulation of this yeast results in skin discoloration caused by the release of azelaic acid, which hinders natural melanin production by inhibiting the release of a specialized enzyme known as tyrosinase. Therefore, those in humid, tropical climates must actively protect their skin by applying anti-fungal creams or natural anti-fungal soaps. This is especially vital for persons who've already experienced a Tinea Versicolor outbreak.

Genetic Predisposition – Biological Factors For Tinea Versicolor

As mentioned earlier, just because you are relatively healthy does not mean you are immune to a Tinea Versicolor infection. The majority of cases are among healthy people. This being noted, several conditions may predispose you to a Tinea Versicolor outbreak. These include:

Excess Skin Oil Production: Those with naturally oily skin are statistically more likely to suffer from an outbreak. When the skin is continuously moist with oil, fungus colonies can thrive and overgrow. Because of this, Tinea Versicolor is a common affliction for teens and young adults.

Excessive Sweating: Men and women who suffer from excessive sweating, such as hyperhidrosis, or hormonal-based sweat production, such as from menopause, are much more likely to develop this condition.

Hormonal Changes: Yeast and skin flora thrive based on various hormonal factors. When a shift occurs in hormone production and concentrations, the delicate balance keeping yeast levels in check becomes altered. In many cases, this results in the overproduction of skin flora.

Suppressed Immune System: Those suffering from a suppressed immune system caused by a medical condition or medication are statistically more likely to suffer from a Tinea Versicolor infection. According to The Merck Manuals, diseases such as diabetes, malnutrition, pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS directly suppress the immune system, which increases the likelihood of developing Tinea Versicolor.