Tinea Versicolor - White Cloth

The PV is a very common skin mycosis caused by the fungus Malassezia genus. The PV is also known by the names spleen cloth, beach ringworm or tinea versicolor.

Tinea versicolor
Tinea versicolor

The white cloth is not a contagious disease, so there is no transmission of the fungus from one person to another. This ringworm also has nothing to do with poor hygiene or contact public use locations such as swimming pools, bathrooms or locker rooms.
In this article we will discuss the causes, symptoms, existing forms of diagnostics and treatments for white cloth.

What is white cloth

As mentioned in the introduction of the article, tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin caused by Malassezia fungus caused. The most common species is the Malassezia globosa, but many cases are also caused by Malassezia furfur.

The lesions of tinea versicolor usually present as hypopigmented machas (lighter than the skin), hence the disease also be called white cloth. The term beach ringworm, often used to describe this ringworm, came because of injuries become more apparent after sun exposure. This fact is because, unlike the lesions, healthy skin around you can sunbathe normally, increasing the contrast between the two regions.

However, the term beach ringworm is not the most appropriate because it may lead to the false impression that PV can be purchased on the beach. In fact, no one "gets" white cloth once the fungus Malassezia is often a germ of natural microbial flora of our skin. Just to give an idea, Malassezia can be found in about 20% of infants and more than 90% of adults. As a fungus that depends fat to survive, it is usually more easily found on the oily areas of the skin, such as the trunk, neck, face and scalp.

Therefore, the white cloth is not a disease that take from someone or somewhere. It is a sandy beach, the towel you used or contact the lounger which has forwarded the fungus. Malassezia have been around for years on your skin, it only started to manifest clinically.

The symptoms of tinea versicolor arise when for some reason the Malassezia fungus population that always lived peacefully on your skin starts to proliferate excessively. In general, factors that are associated with the proliferation of the fungus and the emergence of symptoms. The most common are:
  • Excessive oiliness of the skin
  • Live in very hot and humid
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hormonal changes, including use of birth control pills
  • Adolescence
  • Family history
  • Weakness of the immune system

Despite the immune weakness can be a trigger for the proliferation of Malassezia, the vast majority of patients are young white cloth perfectly healthy.

Symptoms of white cloth

Despite the most common sign of tinea versicolor is the white spots on the skin, the truth is that the white cloth stains may have more of a different appearance. While most lesions are hypopigmented, ie lighter than the skin, there are cases also Hyperpigmented machas, that is darker than the skin. The white cloth stains do not usually cause symptoms, but some people complain of itching.

The lesions of tinea versicolor can be white, gray, salmon-colored, brownish or even reddish, hence the term versicolor. Stains are usually multiple, oval, having usually a thin scaly layer and are located preferably in the upper torso and arms and neck. In children face is a commonly affected site. Lesions usually are small, but if multiple can coalesce, forming one or more large spots.

Usually the white cloth injuries are common in the summer because this time the greatest sun exposure favors increasing the contrast between the spots and the healthy skin areas. As previously stated, contrary to what common sense says, is not the beach or the pool causing the white cloth, only intensify their signals.

The PV is a basically aesthetic problem. A fungal infection is very superficial and does not usually cause major health problems. In general, patients only seek medical care because of the aesthetic nuisance.

In some cases, the lesions may disappear spontaneously with time, but are very patient with blotchy skin persistent if not treated.

Diagnosis of white cloth

The white cloth lesions tend to be very typical, and the diagnosis in most cases can be made clinically without the need for any further examination. If there is any doubt, the dermatologist can make a sweep of injuries and take the material for the microscope, which easily identifies the presence of the fungus.

Treatment of white cloth

A wide variety of drugs available for the treatment of white cloth. As a superficial mycosis, most cases of tinea versicolor can be treated with topical medications such as creams, lotions and shampoos. The use of tablets is usually restricted to cases of very large lesions or when topical treatment is not working.

Among the topical treatment options of white cloth, the most used are those based on:
  • Selenium sulfide in topical or shampoo solution.
  • Ciclopirox Olamine cream, ointment or topical solution.
  • Ketoconazole cream, ointment or shampoo.
  • Terbinafine cream.

When the patches are so extensive as to make topical application of drugs hard work, or when topical treatment is not effective, the use of antifungal tablet is usually indicated. The most suitable options are itraconazole or fluconazole.

Ketoconazole is also an effective option against the white cloth, but unlike the formulation for topical use, ketoconazole tablet can be toxic to the liver, which is why today we prefer to fluconazole or itraconazole when we choose antifungal orally.

The cure rate of the PV is about 80 to 90%. Importantly, in some cases, injuries can take months to disappear, causing stains itself does not serve as a benchmark for short-term cure. In cases where injuries take time to disappear, the treatment efficacy can be shown by scraping lesion.

In some individuals, the eradication of the fungus can be more difficult and the patient may need preventive treatment with topical antifungal once a month, especially if it live in tropical regions. This treatment prevents the population of Malassezia become too large during the summer.

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