Pityriasis versicolor is a harmless skin fungal disease that causes a non-contagious, but in rare cases itchy rash. This skin fungus is treated with the help of locally applied medication such as ointments or creams. However, the risk of recurrence is very high, since the causative agent of bran lichen is part of the natural environment of the skin.
What is pityriasis versicolor?
Pityriasis versicolor is a harmless infection of the top layer of skin with a fungus called Malassezia furfur. Bran fungus is very common, is not contagious and is considered harmless. See sportingology for Meaning of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in English.
Even if pityriasis versicolor has no real clinical significance, it causes a change in the skin’s appearance, which most patients perceive as disturbing. The fungus causes a brownish or pigmentless rash that usually consists of round patches that can be about three centimeters in size. In pityriasis versicolor, these patches often merge into one another and are usually located on the chest or back, since most of the sebum and sweat glands in human skin are located there.
If the bran rash spreads very quickly, the actually harmless rash can itch or be uncomfortable. Some people have increased scale formation on the skin in the area of pityriasis versicolor, which can worsen when scratching.
Everyone carries the fungus responsible for causing pityriasis versicolor on their skin, although most people find it particularly dense on the scalp. Some people develop a skin rash typical of branworm. Presumably, the development of pityriasis versicolor is favored by heavy sweating in the summer months and by an overactive thyroid gland.
Other diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, and taking certain medications, such as birth control pills, can also promote the outbreak of the rash. In general, people who develop pityriasis versicolor often have a weakened immune system.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The main symptom of bran lichen is patches of different sizes on the skin. These can have a diameter of a few millimeters up to a few centimeters. These spots vary from person to person and depend very much on the type of skin.
On tanned areas of skin and on dark skin types, the spots usually appear lighter than the area around them. There is a loss of pigment in the epidermis. Lighter skin types are more likely to have reddish or brownish spots and thus an increase in pigments. However, the dead skin fungus can also leave light spots after treatment.
The spots usually only appear sporadically and can also occur in flocks. The spots can also merge into one another and thus become large patterns on the skin. The bran worm does not colonize the entire body, but prefers the back, the upper abdomen, the upper arms and the shoulders. The neck and face are rarely affected. The scalp is not affected. All infested areas can be completely colonized by the fungus. The spots are itchy in the very least cases and can sometimes be raised. If they are scratched, they sometimes shed.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of pityriasis versicolor is made by a dermatologist who examines the affected skin regions with a special black light lamp. In addition, a sample of the patient’s skin is taken with the help of a strip of adhesive film, which is later examined under the microscope for the fungi responsible for bran ringworm.
In this way, the diagnosis of bran worm is ensured. The harmless skin disease usually runs its course with appropriate treatment and regresses well. However, it recurs in many patients after a certain period of time, since the causative agent of pityriasis versicolor is part of the natural human skin flora.
Pityriasis versicolor is usually a harmless disease. There are no particular complications and the disease can be limited relatively well. The risk of infection is also relatively low with pityriasis versicolor, so that the personal environment is usually not affected by this disease. Those affected suffer from various spots on the skin.
In most cases, these are brown or red and relatively large. Many of those affected suffer from reduced self-esteem or inferiority complexes because they are ashamed of the symptoms. A rash on the skin can also occur and significantly reduce the quality of life of those affected. In some cases, patients with this disease also suffer from itching.
This can lead to teasing or bullying, especially in children, so that they develop mental health problems or depression. Pityriasis versicolor is treated with medication. There are no complications. However, this disease has a relatively high risk of recurrence, so that in many cases those affected fall ill with this disease again.
When should you go to the doctor?
Psoriasis in the area of the upper arms, chest and face indicate bran psoriasis. A doctor’s visit is indicated if the symptoms clearly indicate a serious illness, affect well-being or persist for more than a week. People who suffer from chronic skin diseases should consult the responsible dermatologist if they suspect pityriasis versicolor.
The doctor can diagnose the condition based on a visual diagnosis and prescribe a suitable remedy. No further visits to the doctor are necessary during the therapy, as long as there are no unforeseen complications or complaints. The cause of bran lichen can sometimes be determined dermatologically, but the trigger can often no longer be clearly traced back.
In addition to the dermatologist, you can go to the family doctor or internist with the disease. A therapist should be consulted if there are permanent skin changes such as scars or pigment spots that have a negative impact on mental well-being. Talk therapy in a support group can also help to accept the condition and the external flaws that come with it.
Treatment & Therapy
Pityriasis versicolor is treated with topical antifungal agents. Depending on the severity of the rash, the dermatologist can prescribe a cream, lotion or ointment, all of which are reliable against the bran worm.
Special washing lotions and sprays are also excellent. However, the patient affected by pityriasis versicolor must use the prescribed medication regularly and massage it in carefully. It is advisable to extend the treatment of the skin to the surrounding skin areas and to continue the treatment for about two weeks after the visible rash has disappeared to prevent recurrence.
If a patient is very badly affected by pityriasis versicolor or if the locally applied antifungal agents are not effective, there is the possibility of taking antifungal tablets that also work against pityriasis versicolor. There is no risk of infection with bran mushroom lichen.
Outlook & Forecast
Pityriasis versicolor can be cured in most cases. However, a doctor should be contacted as soon as the first symptoms and signs of the disease appear, so that the disease does not spread further and other complications and symptoms do not occur. Self-healing of pityriasis versicolor cannot occur, so that the person affected with this disease is usually always dependent on medical examination and treatment.
If the disease is not treated at all, the symptoms usually spread over the entire body and significantly reduce the quality of life of those affected. This can also lead to psychological upsets or depression if the fungus also occurs on the face.
With the help of creams or ointments, pityriasis versicolor can be well limited and also completely cured. However, some people fall ill again after treatment and are therefore dependent on regular use of the medication. However, life expectancy is not restricted or otherwise reduced by this disease. As a rule, pityriasis versicolor cannot be prevented either.
Effective prevention of pityriasis versicolor is to take good care of the skin and keep it dry. Especially in the warm summer months, care should be taken to wear loose, breathable clothing made from natural materials, as heavy sweating promotes the development of pityriasis versicolor. In patients who have already had pityriasis versicolor, preventive drug treatment of the skin is recommended, especially during the summer months, to prevent the rash from breaking out again.
In most cases, those affected with pityriasis versicolor have only a few or only limited follow-up measures available. First and foremost, the affected person must contact a doctor very early on, so that further complications or the occurrence of further symptoms do not occur. As a rule, self-healing cannot occur, so that those affected are dependent on a visit to a doctor in any case.
In many cases, the symptoms of pityriasis versicolor can be alleviated by using creams or ointments. Those affected should always follow the doctor’s instructions and also pay attention to the correct dosage and regular use of the medication. If there are changes on the skin, a doctor must be consulted in any case, so that there is no tumor on the skin.
In the case of children, parents should especially monitor the child’s skin and also ensure proper use of the medication. Pityriasis versicolor usually does not reduce the life expectancy of those affected. However, complete healing is not always possible, so that no general course can be given.
You can do that yourself
Pityriasis versicolor can only be cured with antimycotics, but can be contained with home remedies. However, self-therapy for bran worm is not to be seen as a substitute for therapy with an antifungal drug. In this respect, the methods described are particularly suitable for preventing the fungus from multiplying while waiting for treatment.
As an experiment, those affected can rub the affected areas of skin with five percent vinegar. Any form of vinegar is suitable, but the concentration should not be exceeded, otherwise skin irritation may occur. If necessary, the vinegar is diluted. The body can be rubbed with a sponge or washcloth soaked in vinegar. After a contact time of ten to fifteen minutes, the vinegar is washed off. This procedure can be done twice a day and can kill the skin fungus in many places. However, the spore reservoirs on the head cannot be eliminated in this way.
It is important that those affected keep their skin dry in order to destroy the preferred environment for the fungus. Scratching should be avoided if possible, as this only leads to dandruff and skin cracks.
It is also important to deal with areas of skin that have become discolored as a result of the fungal infection. For example, using make-up and similar products does not make sense because exposed skin regenerates much better. However, it sometimes takes months for the pigmentation to return to normal.