Is Tinea Versicolor Contagious? [Causes, Symptoms And Natural Remedies]

What is Tinea Versicolor? It’s a mouthful to say. It’s also called Pityriasis Versicolor or Dermatomycosis Furfuracea, which is even harder to pronounce. In certain parts of South Asia, it’s referred to as Peter Elam’s Disease.  Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin, resulting from naturally-occurring yeast that has grown out of control. The condition initially manifests as a rash. In this post, we’ll be learning about the causes, symptoms, and natural treatment options for reducing the discomfort associated with Tinea Versicolor.

 Is Tinea Versicolor Contagious - Tinea Versicolor Rash

Tinea Versicolor Rash

Tinea Versicolor interferes with the pigment in the skin. It blocks the release of melanin commonly resulting in white patches or spots on the skin. Characterized by patches of discolored skin, these patches can be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin, typically appearing on the arms, back, chest, and neck. It is not contagious.

Patches can appear anywhere on the body, including the face. The rash may be dry and itchy, and be multi-colored, including patches of red, pink, brown, or tan. In fact, “versicolor” means variation in color. Most commonly affecting teenagers and young adults, the condition improves during cool weather, and worsens with heat and humidity.

The rash may become more apparent after tanning and exposure to the sun. The condition isn’t contagious, and skin color is not a risk factor. Tinea Versicolor looks similar to an autoimmune condition called Vitiligo, but is less intense. Tinea interferes with skin pigment, while vitiligo actually destroys the skin’s melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells.

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Diagnosis And Treatment

One method for diagnosing Tinea is by using an ultraviolet light.  The affected area will appear yellowish green in color, under the light, if it is Tinea. A painless skin sample may also be taken. It is then viewed under a microscope to determine if the rash is fungal in nature.

Tinea is treated with antifungals like, fluconazole, and over-the-counter topical products containing zinc, such as, micanozole, clotrimazole, and terbinafine. Selsun Blue and Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoos are also used. Treatment is dependent on the location and severity of the area infected.

Although, prescription and over-the-counter medications, may quickly resolve the infection in severe cases, the skin discoloration may take months to clear. Supporting the immune system and microbiome are paramount in preventing reoccurrences. Read more about this below.

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Causes of Tinea Versicolor

The most common causes of this condition are:

  • Oily skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hot and humid conditions
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Weakened immunity due to cancer or medications that affect immune function, such as antibiotics and cortisone cream

Prevent this fungal infection by avoiding conditions of excessive heat, prolific sweating, and the use of skincare products that contain oil. Reduce sun exposure if you have an active infection, as it may worsen it, and be aware, that a tan will make the Tinea rash more apparent.

Engage in healthy lifestyle strategies to keep your immune system functioning optimally, and your hormonal system balanced. The rash, frequently, appears after a round of antibiotics or conditions where cortisone cream is recommended. Diabetes and pregnancy may bring on the condition, as can nutritional deficiencies, and changes in biochemistry.

The chances of recurrence are prevalent in those who have previously suffered with the condition. Healing leaky gut and restoring the microbiome are essential to prevent recurrences. This outward condition is really an internal problem, and needs to be dealt with as one.

Tinea Versicolor Natural Remedies

Are there natural treatment options for Tinea Versicolor? Fortunately, there are foods you can eat that will help, as well as effective topical applications. Eating fermented foods on a regular basis restore the microbiome and repair gut function. Foods like sauerkraut, kefir, fermented vegetables, raw cheese, Kombucha, and yogurt with live bacteria, all help restore healthy bacterial colonies that are so crucial for optimal immune function, and nutrient digestion and absorption.

Remedies, like oregano oil and tea tree oil, are potent anti-fungals that can be applied topically to alleviate the infection. To apply, mix three or four drops of your chosen oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Gently apply it to the rash, preferably before bed so it can work its magic while you sleep. Terrasil is an anti-fungal containing peppermint and jojoba seed oil that helps to clear the discoloration and uncomfortable itch associated with Tinea.

Fermented Lemonade Recipe

Treat Tinea Versicolor

Here’s a recipe for fermented lemonade that is perfect for summer. You can whip it up in minutes, and it’s full of probiotic-rich bacteria sure to boost your immune system, and prevent infections.

This awesome recipe comes from Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home Economist. Visit her site for more helpful tips and tricks. Be sure and follow her if you don’t already. Your family will love this easy, nourishing, refreshing beverage, on a hot summer day.

Prep Time: 10 minutes


– 6-8 freshly squeezed lemons or limes. Please don’t buy store-bought lemon juice. I use this handy citrus squeezer.

– 1/2 cup sucanat

– 1/2 cup liquid whey – you can make this by hanging plain, full-fat yogurt in a nut bag overnight to capture the liquid whey.

– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

– 2 quarts filtered water


– In a one-gallon glass jar, mix all ingredients together, and cover with a white dishcloth that hasn’t been bleached.

– Cover and leave on the counter for two days. Transfer to fridge.

– The lemony flavor gets better with time, but you can drink it after the two-day fermentation period.

– Use a pinch of stevia to sweeten if the lemonade is too tart for your liking.

Drink away and enjoy, and then make some more….

Key Points

if you suffer from annoying, embarrassing skin conditions, like Tinea Versicolor, try potent antifungals you most likely already have at home. Probiotic-rich foods support the immune system and can help prevent future recurrences.

Do you or someone you know have skin conditions that are hard to clear up? Let me know in the comments:)


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(1) healthline: Tinea Versicolor

(2) WebMD: Tinea Versicolor

(3) Merck Manual Professional Version: Tinea Versicolor

(4) WebMD: Is tinea versicolor contagious?

(5) Harvard Health Publishing: Tinea Versicolor

(6) NCBI: tinea versicolor: Overview

(7) Medical News Today: Tinea Versicolor: What Is It?



Disclaimer: “I am not a medical doctor, and therefore, cannot diagnose or treat any medical condition, nor do I claim in any way to cure disease. Please be diligent and always do your own research in regard to any material I present on this site. I claim no responsibility for any distress, whether it be physical or emotional, that may occur as a result of the information you obtain from my blog.”



2 thoughts on “Is Tinea Versicolor Contagious? [Causes, Symptoms And Natural Remedies]”

    • Hi Andrea,

      Yes, you can take both if you need to. Apple cider vinegar will help with digestion and mineral absorption. Probiotics help with digestion, absorption, detoxification, and immune function, and are beneficial if you have dysbiosis, which is an imbalanced ratio of good and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract. Supplementation will depend on what your particular imbalance is, but there is no harm in taking both. Let me know if you have any other questions:)


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