Vitiligo or tinea versicolor?

vitiligo or tinea versicolor

It can be hard to tell the difference between vitiligo or tinea versicolor.

Vitiligo and tinea versicolor are two chronic skin disorders that are often mistaken for each other. This is not surprising, because they typically have similar symptoms. However, those who have either of them have to know for certain which condition they are suffering from in order to get the proper treatment that they need.

 The difference between vitiligo and tinea versicolor

While the two conditions may appear similar, there is no confusion as to what causes them. Vitiligo is generally regarded as an autoimmune disease, wherein the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys or disables the melanocytes, the cells which produce melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its normal color. Recent studies also suggest that it can also be hereditary in nature, or caused by certain nutritional deficiencies as well as extreme trauma or excessive stress. Tinea versicolor, on the other hand, is caused by an overgrowth of the Malassezia globosa fungus, which resides naturally on human skin. Warm and humid conditions often trigger this growth, and it more commonly occurs in people whose immune systems have been weakened. Having oily skin and sweating a lot is also a contributing factor to the fungal infection.

Among the common similarities between vitiligo and tinea versicolor is a marked discoloration of the skin. There is, however, a big difference when it comes to this particular similarity. The spots or patches on the skin of a vitiligo patient tend to be white, as they are completely depigmented. They are often found on fingers, toes, knees, around the eyes and mouth, the genitals and lower back. There is no noticeable scaling or itching. The spots on the skin of a tinea versicolor patient, on the other hand, is more like a rash that occurs mainly on the upper trunk, and are often lighter or darker that the skin around them. While these patches could appear white, they can also appear pink, red, or brown in color. They could also become dry, scaly and even itchy.

Vitiligo may affect people of any age. On the other hand, tinea versicolor is more common in teenagers and young adults.

One fortunate similarity between the two skin conditions is the fact that neither of them is contagious. Whether or not a person is suffering a mild or severe form of vitiligo or tinea versicolor does not matter, as you could not catch it from them, nor can they infect other people with their disorder.

Treatments for vitiligo and tinea versicolor

Even the available treatments for either condition vary greatly. For vitiligo, patients often resort to phototherapy, corticosteroid creams or ointments or even skin grafts to manage their condition. Meanwhile, tinea versicolor sufferers are encouraged to use topical antifungal creams, l

otions or shampoos which contain substances such as selenium sulfide, miconazole, clotrimazole, and terbinafine, all of which keep the fungus under control. There are also antifungal pills for those with serious or recurrent cases of tinea versicolor. However, taking medications for the condition require the close monitoring of a doctor, as they tend to have side effects.

To be absolutely sure, the best thing to do would be to visit a dermatologist, who will conduct certain tests that will determine if the condition is vitiligo, tinea versicolor or something else.

White spots on my arms – is it vitiligo?

white spots on arms, face or legs - vitiligo or tinea versicolor?

Have you experienced, as you were looking at your face in the mirror,  a small white speck at the side of your mouth? Perhaps you didn’t give much thought to it, thinking it’s just something trivial. However, a few weeks later you see that white speck turn into a white spot. If that white spot turns into a much-bigger white spot much later, perhaps it’s time to for a visit to a dermatologist’s office and have yourself checked for vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a skin disorder that is characterized by white patches of skin, which occur because that area has lost its pigment. In many cases, these white patches become bigger. For some, the depigmentation spreads fast and wide until their skin is entirely white. There is no definitive way to tell the speed or degree of its progress though.

Vitiligo or tinea versicolor?

That white spot, however, can also be mistaken for other skin conditions, tinea versicolor in particular. Both are chronic skin conditions, and are characterized by a certain degree of discoloration of the affected area. They are also fortunately not contagious. The major similarities, however, end there. Vitiligo and tinea versicolor are different in so many ways.

Vitiligo, for one, is widely regarded as an autoimmune disease, although many studies suggest that nutritional deficiencies, heredity, trauma and too much stress may also give rise to the condition. Tinea versicolor, on the other hand is essentially a fungal skin infection. Fungi are part of our normal skin flora, but when the Malassezia globosa fungus grows out of control, it leads to tinea versicolor.

Even the major similarity between the two skin conditions differ in one aspect. While vitiligo sufferers only have white patches on their skin because of depigmentation, the spots that mark tinea versicolor can also be white, pink, red, or brown in color. The white patches of vitiligo generally do not cause any physical discomfort, while the spots of tinea versicolor, which is actually more of a rash, can be dry, scaly and itchy.

The white patches of vitiligo are also commonly found in sun-exposed areas of the skin, particularly the face, hands and feet, although they can also appear in the armpits, the groin and genital areas. The ras

h that characterizes tinea versicolor, meanwhile, tends to appear on the upper trunk of the body. People of any age may develop vitiligo, while tinea versicolor affects teenagers and young adults more commonly.

Topical antifungal creams, lotions or shampoos containing selenium sulfide, miconazole, clotrimazole, terbinafine and other substances are often recommended for use in treating tinea versicolor. Doctors may also recommend antifungal pills for more severe cases. Vitiligo patients, for their part, undergo such treatments such as phototherapy, skin grafting, depigmentation or corticosteroid creams and ointments to treat their condition. They can also resort to cosmetic solutions in order to make their skin look normal and even. There are also several natural treatments for vitiligo.

Only a dermatologist will be able to tell with any certainty what your condition is, so waste no time in dropping by the doctor’s office and having yourself checked.