What the yuck?!

Posted on December 6th, by Helen in Dermatological Advice, Skincare, What the Yuck?!. 9 comments

What the yuck?!

I have had this white patchy spot on my shoulder since the end of summer. It seems to be spreading. It started as one spot and it’s been getting bigger and blotchier since. When I come out of the shower, the area looks like a red rash and then it dries to a lighter colour. It’s not itchy, just unsightly looking. I’d like to get rid of it, help please!    – Veronica A. 


Dr. Lisa Kellett says: This is a very common condition called tinea versicolor, which is a type of fungal infection. It is more like a type of yeast. The yeast resides in the sweat, so people find that when they sweat, it gets worse. However tinea versacolor can look like other conditions, some of which can be very concerning. I can prescribe an anti-yeast treatment, which can be in the form of a cream or an oral treatment that can help to clear up the condition in about 3-4 weeks.

Additional information on tinea versicolor from The American Academy of Dermatology:

Is tinea versicolour contagious?


Who gets tinea versicolor?

The yeast that causes tinea versicolor lives on everyone’s skin. It is not clear why the yeast overgrows on some people’s skin and not others. We do know the following about tinea versicolor:

  • People of all skin colors get it.
  • Teens and young adults are most susceptible because they have oily skin.
  • Older adults and children rarely get it unless they live in a tropical or subtropical area.
  • People who live in non-tropical areas often see tinea versicolor disappear during the cool, dry months.

What causes tinea versicolor?

Yeast normally live on our skin. When the yeast overgrows, it causes the skin disease tinea versicolor. It is believed that the following can cause the yeast to overgrow:

  • Hot, humid weather.
  • Lots of sweating.
  • Oily skin.
  • A weakened immune system.



If you have discolouration on your skin that doesn’t go away on it’s own, consult a dermatologist to get a proper diagnoses and treatment plan.



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