It’s seriously hot out these days. Warm weather, humidity and outdoor activity is the perfect recipe for a rash called Tinea Versicolor. This is a non-dangerous disorder of the skin caused by an overgrowth of yeast. These little yeast creatures live on all of us, so no “eww-ing” allowed. When the conditions are right, they will multiply enough to cause a rash on our skin.
The rash may appear as lighter, darker or scaly patches on the chest, back, neck (but most parts of the body can be affected). Sometimes it itches but it usually doesn’t bother you at all, except for how it looks. It becomes noticeable when your skin tans, and this is often what brings people into my office with concerns. The first thing I do is reassure everyone; it’s not contagious and it’s not dangerous.
So you’ve got it and you know what it is, now what? Typical OTC treatments are washes that contain pyrithione zinc (such as DHS zinc shampoo) and selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue for example). You use these shampoos as body wash, leaving the lather on for 5-10 minutes, and this can sometimes be an effective cure on it’s own. If not, prescription anti-fungal creams and washes can be used with good success. Rarely, oral anti-fungal medicaitons are used for really stubborn cases. It’s a good idea to wear breathable clothing and change out of sweaty clothes or wet bathing suits promptly to prevent it from returning. Yeast love damp environments, so you don’t want ot encourage them.
So go enjoy the outdoor adventures of summer with happy (and sun protected) skin!