Pityriasis versicolor in humans (colored / multicolored)
Pityriasis versicolor (tinea versicolor) is a disease with a fungal etiology. It is characterized by a long course, damage to the epidermal layers of the skin with the appearance of spots of various colors on it. This disease is also called color or multi-colored lichen. The people call the disease solar fungus.
The disease is typical for people who live in countries with a humid and hot climate. According to statistics, in Russia, pityriasis versicolor affects 5 to 10% of the population.
The disease occurs on the skin of those people who are prone to dermatomycosis. It has a tendency to wave-like flow with periods of extinction and relapse. The peak of exacerbation occurs in the hot season, after a person's exposure to the sun. This disease is not considered dangerous, it does not pose a threat to human life or health. Nevertheless, pityriasis versicolor can cause aesthetic defects quite serious, which often becomes the cause of psychological discomfort.
The causative agent of the disease is a conditionally pathogenic fungus from the genus of yeast-like mycotic organisms. Up to 90% of all inhabitants of the Earth are its bearers. However, not everyone will develop the disease.
- Pityriasis lichen symptoms
- Causes of pityriasis lichen
- Why is pityriasis versicolor dangerous? Consequences and complications
- Diagnosis of pityriasis versicolor
- Answers to popular questions:
- Pityriasis versicolor treatment
Pityriasis lichen symptoms
How to recognize versicolor versicolor and distinguish it from other types of lichen? Often the symptoms of pityriasis versicolor can be confused with similar signs of other dermatological problems. It can be mistaken for vitiligo, for Gibert's lichen, for syphilitic roseola. Therefore, in order to establish a diagnosis, it is necessary to seek the advice of a specialist.
First of all, its characteristic symptom is the formation of multi-colored spots (pink, yellowish and brown) on the skin. They are localized mainly in the mouths of the hair follicles, and growing, they merge with each other, increasing the area of the affected skin. After some time, the color of the spots changes, darkens and becomes brown or light brown. It was these color changes that gave the disease its name.
Licensed spots do not protrude above the skin and most often do not cause discomfort. Only sometimes minor itching is noted among the symptoms. In this case, the surface of the spots is easily peeled off when scraped.
The arrangement of lichen spots usually does not have any symmetry. Most often they occur on the back, chest, scalp, neck, lower abdomen, sides and shoulders.
It is noteworthy that in children the disease is characterized by a significant area of distribution. Lichen affects the skin of the armpits, legs, abdomen, back and is very difficult to treat without going away for months or even years. Relapses of the disease are also possible, even after the complete cure of all clinical manifestations.
Symptoms of pityriasis lichen in a patchy-scaly form.
The following symptoms of pityriasis lichen in a spotty-scaly form are distinguished:
- Spots of pink color. At the mouth of the hair follicle, spots appear, painted in a yellow-pink color. They begin to increase in size, gradually merging with each other. As the disease progresses, the spots grow and widen. A favorite spot for blemishes is the skin of the abdomen, chest, neck, scalp.
- Over time, the spots change their color, becoming first red, then brown, and then brown.
- Often the surface of the stains is slightly flaky, especially noticeable if you lightly scrape it. Peeling pityriasis lichen is called a shavings symptom. It occurs due to the fact that the fungus, in the course of its vital activity, loosens the stratum corneum of the skin.
Itching with pityriasis versicolor in most cases is absent. It occurs extremely rarely and will not cause a person expressed discomfort.
- The skin that previously had lichen spots becomes immune to sunburn. It looks much lighter than healthy tissue. The impossibility of sunburn is explained by the fact that as a result of the vital activity of the fungus, the work of melanocytes is disrupted. A similar phenomenon in medicine is called pseudoleucoderma.
- Sometimes hair loss occurs in the area where pityriasis lichen appears.
- Symptoms of the follicular form of pityriasis lichen. This form of the disease is less common and is characterized by the appearance of papules, which do not exceed 0.1 cm in diameter. Most often, papules cover the skin of the back, legs and arms, as well as the chest. Itching is characteristic of the follicular form of pityriasis lichen.
Symptoms of the invert form of pityriasis lichen. Skin folds are affected. In these places, the surface of the dermis turns red, begins to peel off, possibly the addition of slight itching.
Regardless of the form of tinea versicolor, the disease tends to recur periodically and can pursue a person for many years.
Causes of pityriasis lichen
The causative agents of pityriasis versicolor are the fungi Pityrosporum orbiculare and Malassezia furfur. There are versions that the development of the disease is largely determined by the chemical composition of sweat, individual predisposition of the skin, pathologies of the stratum corneum of the epidermis, especially physiological peeling. Excessive sweating can also contribute to the onset of the disease. Also, some doctors suggest that people with pulmonary tuberculosis are more prone to developing versicolor lichen.
Most often, young people, both men and women, suffer from multi-colored lichen, but it also affects children with weak immunity, suffering from diabetes, vegetative neurosis. A separate risk group is made up of adolescents whose sweating increases during puberty.
Solar radiation, ionizing radiation, heavy metals, wearing clothes made of synthetic fabrics, diabetes mellitus and other diseases of the endocrine system also increase the likelihood of developing multi-colored lichen.
Most people believe that lichen coloring occurs due to internal malfunctions in the functioning of the body. Modern dermatologists insist that this disease can be transmitted from one person to another. Therefore, pityriasis versicolor is classified as conditionally pathogenic diseases. After infection with a fungus, dermatological disorders do not begin to develop in every person.
It has been established that most of humanity is a carrier of a fungus that can cause pityriasis versicolor, but the progression of the disease is characteristic of people with impaired immunity.
In this regard, infection can occur in the following situations:
With frequent close contacts, which are characteristic of family relationships;
- When using personal hygiene items or things that the patient used (washcloth, outerwear, towel, etc.);
- When visiting public locker rooms, changing rooms.
The fungus can be dormant on the skin for a long time. Its incubation period lasts from two weeks to several months. During this time, a person does not even suspect that he is a carrier of a conditionally pathogenic microorganism. The transition to the active phase of reproduction with characteristic clinical manifestations will occur when the conditions are suitable for this.
Therefore, the causes of pityriasis in humans can be as follows:
- The presence of a predisposition of the skin of a particular person to the development of dermatomycosis.
Increased work of the sebaceous glands, disruptions in the natural physiological processes occurring in the upper stratum corneum of the epidermis.
- Hyperhidrosis, leading to disturbances in the chemical composition of sweat. This creates favorable conditions for the reproduction of mycotic microorganisms.
- Diseases of a chronic course, for example, diabetes mellitus, endocrine pathologies. Obesity and vegetative neurosis have a negative effect on the condition of the skin.
- Infections affecting the reduction of the body's immune forces. Caries, chronic tonsillitis, pyelonephritis are especially dangerous in this regard.
Patients with tuberculosis are more prone to dermatomycosis than other people, and, in particular, pityriasis versicolor. Therefore, when this pathology is detected, the doctor should make sure that the patient does not only have pulmonary tuberculosis, but also exclude tuberculosis of the kidneys, bones, etc. It is known that these infections often have a latent course and can be expressed in dermatomycosis.
- Diseases of the digestive system, pancreas and liver negatively affect the condition of the skin, human hair.
- Vegeto-vascular dystonia can also cause the development of pityriasis versicolor. In this case, the patient may note such health problems as dizziness, frequent depression, panic attacks.
- Diseases of the pulmonary system. Pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchial asthma negatively affect the skin condition.
- At the age of 7 years, pityriasis lichen is almost never diagnosed. Isolated cases of the development of this dermatomycosis in children can be explained either by a sharp decrease in immune forces, or by the presence of a serious illness in the child.
Women suffering from pityriasis versicolor should be checked for the presence of pathology of the ovaries, adrenal glands. It is possible to develop dermatomycosis during childbearing and during menopause.
- Frequent use of shower gels with antibacterial effect negatively affects the condition of the skin. The same applies to soap and other products used for personal hygiene.
- Avoid stressful effects on the skin, for example, visiting a tanning salon, excessive tanning, exposure to solar radiation.
There is a theory that pityriasis versicolor may be a genetic disorder. However, most scientists are of the opinion that close relatives have a tendency to disorders in the functioning of the immune system. This, in turn, leads to the development of various fungal skin lesions.
Why is pityriasis versicolor dangerous? Consequences and complications
Pityriasis versicolor does not pose a threat to human health. It is capable of leaving marks on the skin, but they are reversible. This means that a few months after recovery, the lightened areas will return to their previous color.
Diagnosis of pityriasis versicolor
Pityriasis versicolor is diagnosed in the dermatologist's office. The doctor examines and performs dermatoscopy of the skin with a discoloration.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor performs the Balzer test using iodine. The essence of the method is that an alcoholic solution of iodine in 5% concentration is applied to the skin. Due to the increased looseness of the areas damaged by the fungus, there is an enhanced absorption of the solution and a more intense color. For the same purpose, fucarcinum and brilliant green in the form of solutions can be used.
It is also necessary to confirm Benier's symptom, which consists in peeling of the skin after their light scraping. This symptom is also called the phenomenon of shavings.
An auxiliary diagnostic method is a luminescent study. For this, the patient is brought into a darkened room, where, in the light of special lamps, the affected areas of the skin acquire a dark brown or red-yellow hue.
During the microscopic examination of the scraping in the scales of the epidermis, elements of the fungus characteristic of pityriasis versicolor will be revealed.
To exclude the possibility that the skin problems are caused by non-syphilitic manifestations that are similar to those of pityriasis versicolor, the doctor may refer the patient for a PCR diagnosis or for an RPR test.
Answers to popular questions:
- Can I wash in the shower / bath if I get pityriasis versicolor? Yes, when confirming the diagnosis of pityriasis versicolor, you can safely take a bath and wash in the shower.
Can I go to the sea and sunbathe if I have pityriasis versicolor? Yes, you can go to the sea and sunbathe if you have pityriasis versicolor. Exposure to ultraviolet rays on the surface of the affected skin may not heal faster, but it does not make the situation worse. However, one should take into account the fact that the affected areas will not tan, which means they will become more noticeable against the background of healthy tanned skin. Plus, excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.
- What if I get pityriasis versicolor during pregnancy? Modern medicine does not have any data on the effect of the disease on the course of pregnancy or on the fetus itself. Therefore, if pityriasis versicolor manifested during childbearing, you should contact your gynecologist with this problem and follow his recommendations regarding the treatment of dermatomycosis.
- Are pityriasis lichen spots itchy? Mild itching may occur in the affected area.
- Is pityriasis versicolor dangerous? What consequences and complications can it provoke? The disease is not dangerous, the spots that it leaves on the skin disappear several months after recovery.
Can pityriasis spots be smeared with vinegar or boric acid? There is not a single scientific basis for the effectiveness of treatment of pityriasis versicolor with boric or acetic acid. Therefore, it is not advisable to recommend this method of therapy.
- Can pityriasis versicolor recur? Is it a chronic illness? Recurrence of the disease occurs with a high probability in people after the end of therapy for the next 1-1 years. If there is a predisposition of the skin to dermatomycosis, then pityriasis versicolor can become chronic and worsen from time to time. To reduce the number of relapses of the disease, the doctor may recommend taking antimycotics for prophylactic purposes.
Pityriasis versicolor treatment
Treatment of pityriasis lichen is within the competence of a dermatologist. You should not engage in self-treatment of the disease, taking antifungal drugs. Self-medication can not only not get rid of the problem, but also harm human health. The choice of the drug and the determination of the duration of the course should be carried out by the doctor.
- Some experts recommend sun exposure during the summer. They are of the opinion that ultraviolet rays are harmful to the fungus.
- Appointments are given regarding the use of local antimycotics in the form of ointments, cream, spray, solution. It can be Bifonazole (Mikospor, Bifosin), Clotrimazole, Terbinafine, salicylic solutions and gels, Cyclopirox, Tolcyclate. The course of local treatment is 1 week, ointments are applied to problem areas up to 1 time per day.
- If the affected areas have a large area, or the disease has followed a person for a long time, the doctor will recommend the patient to take antifungal drugs inside. These can be tablet forms: Ketoconazole (Fungavis, Oronazole, Mycozoral, Nizoral), Itraconazole (Irunin, Orunit, Orungal, Canditral, Itrazol, Rumikoz), Fluconazole (Flucostat, Mycosist, Diflucan).
- To avoid contamination of family members, for prophylactic purposes, it is recommended to perform daily wet cleaning in the room where the sick person lives. This is done using disinfectant solutions. Bed linen, the patient's belongings must be washed at maximum temperatures, and after washing, ironed on both sides. After completing the treatment, it is advisable to get rid of the old washcloth.
On the subject: Treatment of lichen at home
If a person is experiencing itching, which gives him anxiety, then you can use the following recommendations:
- Refuse to use soap, if possible, wash only with running water;
- For a while, refuse to take hot baths;
- After water procedures use moisturizing body creams;
- After consulting a doctor, you can take antihistamines, for example, Suprastin.
It is important during treatment to try to determine the reasons that provoked the manifestation of the lichen, and try to eliminate them. The risk of relapse can be reduced by following a healthy lifestyle, doing hardening activities, boosting immunity, and eating right.
[Video] Dr. Evdokimenko - spots on the skin are pink or white - an easy way to cure:
The author of the article: Kuzmina Vera Valerievna | Endocrinologist, nutritionist
Education: Diploma of the Russian State Medical University named after NI Pirogov with a degree in General Medicine (2004). Residency at Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry, diploma in Endocrinology (2006).
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