ABC Medical Center > Pityriasis versicolor

What is Pityriasis versicolor?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a common skin condition caused by a fungal infection that causes a pigmentary anomaly in the outer layer of the skin, forming depigmented or excessively pigmented spots, depending on the case, mainly on the shoulders, chest, back, arms, armpits, and neck. Pityriasis versicolor, also known as ringworm, has a higher incidence in adolescence, youth, and early adulthood, occurring more frequently in places where it is hot and there is a high percentage of relative humidity. This mycosis is not contagious and does not cause pain, but it can cause a lack of confidence and stress in those who suffer from it, since the spots have an unattractive appearance, affecting self-esteem. Its name “pityriasis” means peeling and “versicolor” refers to the changes in tone that it produces in the skin:

  • Pink or beige in summer.
  • White in winter.

The fungus that produces it is called malassezia furfur, which can have the form of mold or yeast, lives in areas of the skin with the greatest amount of fat, and only when it multiplies causes infection in people with a weakened immune system or with genetic tendency to develop it. For this, the following factors are required:

  • High temperatures.
  • High percentage of relative humidity.
  • Hormonal imbalance.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • High levels of skin fat.
  • Family history.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Immunosuppressive treatments.
  • Diabetes.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Poor nutrition.

Signs and symptoms Pityriasis versicolor

The characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Appearance of small, round spots.
  • Changing color in the spots.
  • Itch.
  • Inflammation.
  • Scaling.
  • Sweating.

Diagnosis and treatment Pityriasis versicolor

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and your medical history, they will perform a physical examination with which they can almost make a conclusive diagnosis, although it may be advisable to extract some samples from the infected area to be analyzed in the laboratory and confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment consists of the topical application of antifungal creams and solutions, as well as oral medications that help fight the infection and control symptoms.

Once the treatment is finished, the abnormality in skin color will take several months to disappear, so it is important to follow up to avoid recurrences, and if necessary, continue taking antifungals for long periods.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • Sánchez CAL, Fernández MRF, Moreno CG, et al. Pitiriasis versicolor y Malassezia spp: una revisión. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2014;12(1):52-57.
  • Morales BME, Padilla DMC, Martínez MJA. Pitiriasis versicolor variedad hipercrómica. Comunicación de un caso. Rev Cent Dermatol Pascua. 2007;16(2):93-95.
  • Sandoval CA, Ortiz FA, Morales CC. Pitiriasis versicolor: variantes cromáticas, morfológicas y topográficas de interés clínico. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2021;19(1):47-51.
  • Ramírez-Godínez JB, Carreño-Gayosso EA, Soto-Ortiz JA, et al. Pitiriasis versicolor: una actualización. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2018;46(3):166-175.

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