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Tinea versicolor: Signs and symptoms

What are the signs of tinea versicolor?

The first sign of tinea versicolor is often spots on the skin. These spots may:

  • Be lighter (or darker) than your surrounding skin; the color of the spots can be white, pink, salmon, red, tan, or brown

  • Appear anywhere on the body

  • Be dry and scaly

  • Cause the affected skin to itch

  • Become more noticeable when you have a tan (the yeast prevents the skin from tanning)

  • Grow slowly

  • Grow together, forming patches of lighter (or darker) skin

  • Disappear when the temperature drops and return in the spring or summer when the air turns warm and humid

Sometimes the spots are so faint that people do not realize they have tinea versicolor. If tinea versicolor causes light spots on the skin, it can be mistaken for vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes the skin to lose its natural color.

Tinea versicolor

Tinea versicolor often looks like a rash.

Tinea versicolor on a man's chest

Tinea versicolor

The spots of tinea versicolor can be dry and scaly. As the yeast grows, the spots can grow together.

Dry and scaly spots of the skin condition tinea versicolor

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.