Tinea versicolor, also known as ringworm or pityriasis versicolor is a common fungal infection that affects the skin. The symptoms include patches of discolored skin, usually on the chest, back, or arms. The patches may be scaly or itchy, and they can vary in color from white to brown to pink.

While tinea versicolor is not dangerous, it can be difficult to treat and lead to uncomfortable, unsightly skin. If you’re looking for relief, there are a number of effective Ayurvedic treatments that can help to naturally treat the fungal infection and prevent it from recurring.

What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection that causes patches of discolored skin. The fungus that causes tinea versicolor is called Malassezia, and it’s found on the skin of many people. However, tinea versicolor only affects people who have an overgrowth of the fungus.

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Tinea versicolor is also known as tinea flava. It’s a common skin condition that usually affects young adults. The fungus that causes pityriasis versicolor thrives in warm, moist environments. This is why the condition is more common in summer months.

You may also observe that the condition goes away in winters and reappears in summer season or hot weathers.

Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor

The symptoms of tinea versicolor include several scattered discolored patch on the skin. The patches typically manifests as numerous tan, brown, salmon, pink, or white scaling patches on the trunk, neck, abdomen, and occasionally face. This can make the affected skin look darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) than the surrounding healthy skin.

Tinea infection may also lead to itchy, scaly and dry skin. Usually the lesions are pretty small, however they may also join together to form bigger patch.

Because the spots do not tan in light-skinned individuals, the condition is frequently diagnosed during the summer months when compared to tanned healthy skin. Tinea versicolor is non-contagious and benign in nature.

Health complications of Pityriasis Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is usually harmless, but it can be uncomfortable and difficult to treat. If left untreated, the condition can cause the affected area to become thick and crusted. In severe cases, tinea versicolor can lead to hair loss and permanent scarring.

If you think you have tinea versicolor, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. With proper care, the condition can be controlled and the symptoms will eventually go away.

Risk Factors and Causes of Tinea Versicolor

There are several risk factors for tinea versicolor, including:

– Weak immunity: People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to tinea versicolor.

– Moist, warm environments: The fungus that causes tinea versicolor thrives in moist, warm environments. This is why the condition is more common in summer months.

– Oily skin: People with oily skin are more likely to develop tinea versicolor.

– Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those during puberty or pregnancy, can increase the risk of tinea versicolor.

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to be extra vigilant about preventing tinea versicolor. Wearing loose, breathable clothing and avoiding hot, humid environments can help.

Diagnosis of Pityriasis Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination of the skin. Your doctor may also perform a skin scraping or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

A skin scraping involves taking a small sample of affected skin and examining it under a microscope. A biopsy involves removing a small piece of affected skin and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.

Conventional treatments for Tinea Versicolor

If you have tinea versicolor, your doctor will likely prescribe an antifungal medication. Treatment options include oral and topical antifungals.

Oral antifungals are taken by mouth and are generally used for severe cases of tinea versicolor. Topical antifungals are applied directly to the skin and are usually used for mild to moderate cases.

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Antifungal medications can cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects before starting treatment.

In some cases, pityriasis versicolor may go away on its own without treatment. However, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment to avoid complications.

Ayurvedic Perspective of Tinea Versicolor

In Ayurveda, fungal infections of the skin are classified as “Dadru Kusta Roga”, where “dadru” refers to fungus and “kusta roga” refers to skin disease. Specifically, tinea versicolor can be compared to Sidma Kusta, a category of major skin disease “Maha Kusta”. The root cause of tinea versicolor lies in imbalances in all three dosha and toxin build up in the body, which further vitiates the body tissues “dhatu”.

In fungal skin infection, usually the rasa “the blood plasma and lymphatic system” and rakta dhatu “the blood tissues” are affected the most. Also, depending on the type of dosha and intensity of the imbalances, the symptoms will vary.

Ayurvedic treatment for tinea versicolor involves internal detoxification through herbs, diet or panchakarma therapies. In addition, your Ayurvedic doctor will also suggest health protocol to build you immunity so that you can fend off any infections in future.

Ayurvedic herbs for treatment of Tinea Versicolor and Fungal Skin Infection

There are several Ayurvedic herbs that can be used for the treatment of tinea versicolor and fungal skin infections.

  1. Turmeric is a widely used herbal remedy for many skin conditions, including tinea versicolor. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties. Both external and internal use of turmeric can help to prevent fungus from growing further.
  2. Neem: Neem is another popular herb used in Ayurveda for the treatment of skin conditions. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Neem leaf oil can be regularly applied on the affected area to treat the skin infection.
  3. Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a popular plant used for the treatment of various skin conditions. The gel from the aloe vera plant contains compounds with antifungal properties. External application of aloe gel helps to heal the lesions. Aloe can also be taken internally to cleanse the blood tissues.
  4. Khadira: Khadira is an Ayurvedic herb that is commonly used in the treatment of skin conditions. The bark of the khadira tree contains tannins, which have antifungal properties. It can be applied externally and consumed for internal cleansing as guided by your Ayurvedic doctor.
  5. Tulsi: Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is an herb with immune boosting and healing properties. The leaves of the tulsi plant can be used to make a paste, which can be applied externally on the skin.
  6. Garlic: Garlic is a popular herb used for the treatment of many health conditions. It contains a compound called allicin, which has antifungal properties. You can take garlic supplements or apply a paste of raw garlic cloves to treat fungal infections.
  7. Gandhak: Gandhak is an Ayurvedic formulation that is natural antibiotic that is used in Ayurveda for the treatment of skin conditions.

These are some of the most commonly used Ayurvedic herbs for the treatment of tinea versicolor and fungal infections. Always consult with your Ayurvedic doctor before starting any herbal treatment.

Ayurvedic Tips for Tinea Versicolor Treatment

There are a few lifestyle recommendations that can help people with tinea versicolor.

  • Treating hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalances can trigger fungal growth and worsen tinea versicolor.
  • Avoiding foods that contain estrogen-mimicking compounds, such as soy products, can help to prevent the growth of fungi.
  • Eating a balanced diet: A balanced diet helps to support the immune system and prevent the growth of fungi. Avoiding sugary and processed foods can help to keep the skin healthy.
  • Exercise: Exercise helps to improve circulation and promote the elimination of toxins from the body. It is important to avoid over-exercising, as this can lead to a weakening of the immune system.
  • Stress reduction: Stress can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to fungal infections. Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can help to prevent tinea versicolor.
  • Keeping skin clean and dry: Fungi thrive in moist environments. Keeping the skin clean and dry can help to prevent the growth of fungi. Wearing loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers can also help to keep the skin dry.
  • Avoid harsh personal care products: Harsh personal care products, such as soap and shampoo, can strip the skin of its natural oils. This can make the skin more susceptible to fungal infections. Choose mild, natural products that are designed for sensitive skin.
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Following these lifestyle recommendations can help people with tinea versicolor to prevent the growth of fungi and improve their overall health.

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Dietary Tips for treatment of Tinea Versicolor

There are a few dietary tips that can help people with tinea versicolor.

  • Avoiding sugary foods: Sugar feeds fungi and can promote the growth of yeast. Avoiding sugary foods, such as candy, cookies, and cake, can help to prevent the growth of fungi.
  • Eating anti-fungal foods: There are certain foods that have anti-fungal properties. Including these foods in the diet can help to fight off fungal infections. Some anti-fungal foods include garlic, onions, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Consuming probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. Including probiotics in the diet can help to improve digestion and support the immune system. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is important for overall health. Drinking plenty of water can help to flush out toxins and keep the skin healthy.
  • Remove caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can promote the growth of fungi. Eliminating these substances from the diet can help to prevent tinea versicolor.

Home Remedies for Tinea Versicolor

Home remedies are often more effective and less likely to cause side effects.

  • One of the most popular home remedies for tinea versicolor is apple cider vinegar. Vinegar has natural antifungal properties that can help to kill the fungus that causes tinea versicolor. To use apple cider vinegar as a treatment, simply apply it to the affected areas with a cotton ball or brush. Be sure to dilute the vinegar with water, as undiluted vinegar can irritate the skin.
  • Another effective home remedy for tinea versicolor is use of essential oils as tea tree oil, oregano oil or rosemary oil. These essential oils have powerful anti fungal properties that can help to clear up the infection. To use essential oils as a treatment, first dilute it with base oil as coconut oil and then apply it on the affected area.

At first glance, it may appear that tinea versicolor is a permanent condition. However, this is not the case. While the fungus that causes tinea versicolor can live on the skin for months or even years, the condition itself is not permanent. With proper Ayurvedic treatment, the fungus can be effectively eradicated and the skin will return to its normal color.

In some cases, tinea versicolor may come back after treatment. However, this is usually due to reinfection and can be prevented with good hygiene. With timely treatment and proper care, tinea versicolor does not have to be a permanent condition.

Consult with Medhya’s Ayurvedic Doctor to get your personalised health plan involving prescription for Ayurvedic medicine, diet, yoga and lifestyle guidelines.

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1. What triggers tinea versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition that is caused by a yeast infection. The yeast, which is known as Malassezia, normally lives on the skin but can overgrow in warm, humid conditions. This can occur when someone perspires heavily or wears tight-fitting clothing that doesn’t allow the skin to breathe. Tinea versicolor usually appears as small, scaly patches that can be white, pink, red, or brown. The patches may be itchy, but they are usually not painful. While tinea versicolor is not harmful, many people seek treatment to improve the appearance of their skin. There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be used to treat tinea versicolor. In most cases, the condition will clear up with treatment within a few weeks. However, tinea versicolor can sometimes come back, so it is important to take precautions to prevent the yeast from overgrowing again. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and keeping the skin cool and dry can help to reduce the risk of recurrence.

2. Why won’t my tinea versicolor go away?

There are many possible reasons why tinea versicolor may not go away. It could be that the treatment regimen is not effective for the particular strain of fungus causing the infection. It is also possible that there is an underlying condition that is supporting the growth of the fungus, such as a weakened immune system or a lack of good hygiene. In some cases, tinea versicolor can be difficult to get rid of because it is resistant to treatment. If this is the case, it is important to work with a healthcare practitioner to find the most effective course of treatment. With persistence and the right approach, tinea versicolor can be successfully treated.

3. Can tinea versicolor spread from person to person?

Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition that is caused by a type of yeast that is naturally present on the skin. The yeast overgrowth leads to the formation of scaly patches on the skin that can vary in color. While the condition is not contagious, it can spread from person to person if the yeast comes into contact with another person’s skin. The best way to prevent the spread of tinea versicolor is to practice good hygiene and to avoid sharing personal items such as towels and clothing. If you have the condition, be sure to wash your clothes and bedding frequently to remove any yeast that may be present. You should also avoid close contact with others who have tinea versicolor.

4. How do you stop tinea versicolor from coming back?

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection that causes a change in skin color. The fungus affects the upper layer of the skin and can cause the skin to become lighter or darker. It can also cause the skin to become scaly or itchy. The best way to prevent tinea versicolor from coming back is to maintain good hygiene and avoid contact with contaminated surfaces. In addition, you should avoid sharing personal items such as towels or clothing with others. If you do develop tinea versicolor, there are several treatments that can help to clear the infection. Over-the-counter antifungal creams or shampoos can be effective, but you may need to see a doctor if the infection does not clear up within a few weeks. In severe cases, oral antifungal medication may be necessary. Taking preventive measures and seeking treatment early can help you to avoid recurrence of tinea versicolor.


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About the Author

Dr. Pawan Bansal (Ayurveda Acharya)

Namaskar! I am a registered Medical Practitioner with more than 40 years of experience in Ayurvedic and Herbal treatment. Ayurvedic principles allow us to awaken the incredible physician within our body, help us to attain our potential, to perform, and to heal naturally.
Some areas in which I have successfully applied Ayurvedic medicine – Cysts, PCOS, Obesity, Fibroids, Infertility, Chronic Digestive Disorders, Autoimmune Disorders such as ​Thyroiditis, IBS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Joint Pain, Inflammation, Chronic Cough, and Sinusitis.

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