'Liver spots'

Skin Care Matters

With Michelle Vernon

Sunday, December 02, 2018

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TINEA Versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin. It's also called pityriasis versicolor or as us Jamaican's would call it “liver spot”, which is caused by a type of yeast that naturally lives on your skin.

When the yeast grows out of control the skin develops white patches due to the acidic bleach from the growing yeast, which causes areas of skin to be a different colour than the skin around them. These can be individual spots or patches. Specific signs and symptoms of the infection include:

• Patches that may be white, pink, red, or brown and can be lighter or darker than the skin around them.

• Spots that do not tan the way the rest of your skin does.

• Spots that may occur anywhere on your body but are most commonly seen on your neck, chest, back, and arms.

The spots may disappear during cool weather and get worse during warm and humid weather. They may be dry and scaly and may itch or hurt, although this is not common.The infection can happen for any of the following reasons:

• You have oily skin;

• You live in a hot climate;

• You sweat a lot;

• You have a weak immune system.

Because the yeast grows naturally on your skin, tinea versicolor is not contagious. The condition can affect people of any skin color. It's more likely to affect teens and young adults.

At-home remedies for tinea Versicolor

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an effective home remedy for tinea versicolor because of its anti-fungal properties. It will inhibit the spread of the infection and prevent recurrence. In addition, it will provide relief from itchiness.

1. Add five to seven drops of tea tree oil to one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

2. Apply this oil on the affected area using a cotton ball.

3. Allow it to dry on its own, then rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat dry.

4. Follow this remedy twice daily for a few weeks.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an effective remedy for any type of fungal infection, including tinea versicolor. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil work as natural fungicides. This means it helps stop the growth of the fungi responsible for the infection.

• Apply some extra-virgin coconut oil on the affected areas. Allow it to dry on its own.

• Another option is to mix 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil and 5 or 6 drops of cinnamon oil. Apply it on the affected skin. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

Follow either of these remedies two or three times daily until the infection clears up.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has a protein called 14 kDa that possesses anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in treating tinea versicolor. It can significantly reduce the fungi's ability to spread. In addition, it has many healing properties that promote healing of the damaged skin.

• Extract fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe vera leaf. Apply the gel directly on the affected skin areas, two or three times daily for several weeks.

• Another option is to mix a few drops of lavender oil in 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Apply it on the affected areas two or three times a day.

4. Yogurt

Plain, unsweetened yogurt is a natural cure for fungal infection like tinea versicolor. The probiotics present in plain yogurt keep the growth of fungi in check. This in turn promotes quick recovery and prevents recurrence.

• Apply plain yogurt on the affected skin. Leave it on for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.

• Also, eat two to three cups of plain yogurt daily to help fight the yeast internally.

5. Garlic

Garlic is also an effective remedy for tinea versicolor. Its anti-fungal properties help stop the growth of fungi and provide relief from itching.

• Apply garlic oil or freshly extracted garlic juice on the affected areas. Wait 20 minutes, then take a bath or shower. Do this once daily for a few weeks.

• Also, consume two to three cloves of raw garlic with warm water on an empty stomach daily to treat and prevent recurrence of tinea versicolor.

• A garlic supplement can be a great addition to your regimen to prevent any kind of skin infection. Consult a doctor for the correct dosage.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy for tinea versicolor. Due to its antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar helps control the abnormal growth of the fungi. In addition, it helps prevent recurrence of the infection.

• Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water. Dab a cotton ball in this solution and apply it on the affected area. Wait 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Follow this remedy once daily for a few weeks.

• Also, mix 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it twice daily.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is another popular traditional remedy for tinea versicolor. Its natural antiseptic, antibiotic and anti-fungal properties promote healing and prevent the infection from recurring.

Add three to four teaspoons of raw unprocessed tumeric to a large jug of water. After taking a bath, pour this turmeric-infused water on the affected area.

• Alternatively, mix equal amounts of turmeric powder and sandalwood powder. Add enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then take a bath or shower.

Follow either of these remedies once daily until the spots disappear.

• Oil and apply it on the infected area. Do this twice daily for at least two to three weeks.

Over-the-counter remedies for tinea versicolor

Over the counter treatment of tinea versicolor can consist of creams, lotions, or shampoos that are put on the skin. It can also include medication given as pills. The type of treatment will depend on the size, location, and thickness of the infected area

Treatment options include:

• Topical anti-fungals: These products are applied directly to your skin and may be in the form of lotion, shampoo, cream, foam, or soap. They keep the growth of the yeast under control. Over-the-counter anti-fungal topical products containing ingredients such as zinc, pyrithione, selenium sulfide, miconzale, clotrimazole, and terbinafine are available. if these over-the-counter medications don't work, its advised to see a specialist where prescription medications may be needed prescription.

• Anti-fungal pills: These may be used to treat more serious or recurrent cases of tinea versicolor. Or, in some cases they may be used because they can provide a simpler and quicker resolution of the infection. These medicines are given by prescription and can have side effects. So it's important to be monitored by your doctor while using anti-fungal pills.

Treatment usually eliminates the fungal infection. However, the discoloration of the skin may take up to several months to resolve.

Lifestyle tips for managing tinea versicolor

Recurrent episodes are very common because the yeast that causes the infection is a normal fungus that lives on skin. Medicated cleansers may be used one or two times a month to help prevent tinea versicolor from coming back. You may need to use these cleansers if the infection keeps returning, especially if you live in a warm and humid area.

Here are some tips to help you manage tinea versicolor:

• Avoid using oily skin products.

• Reduce your exposure to the sun. Exposure to the sun may trigger or worsen an episode, and a tan makes the rash more visible.

• If you have to go out in the sun, consider using an anti-fungal shampoo daily for a couple of days prior to sun exposure.

• Put on sunscreen every day. Use a non-greasy formula with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.

• Do not wear tight clothing.

• Wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to decrease sweating.

Michelle Vernon is a licensed aesthetician who operates the Body Studio Skincare located at 23 Central Plaza, Kingston 10, and Fairview Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. She may be reached at telephone 908-0438 or 684-9800; IG@bodystudioskincare; E-mail: ; Website:

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