Tinea versicolor, also called pityriasis versicolor, is a common fungal infection of the skin. Anyone can develop it, but it is more common in adolescents and young adults.
Fungi of the genus Malassezia are normally present on the skin’s surface without causing any problems. However, at times they begin to grow out of control, affecting the pigmentation of the skin.
This results in skin patches that are lighter or darker than your original skin color. The discolored patches usually appear on the back, chest, neck and upper arms.
The discolored skin patches may disappear in winter days and reappear in hot and humid summer days. The affected skin also becomes dry and scaly. Though not common, at times, they may also cause itching.
Doctors are not sure why this fungus starts growing abnormally. Possible contributing factors include hot and humid weather, excessive sweating, oily skin, a weak immune system and hormonal changes in the body.
Tinea versicolor is not painful or contagious, but can cause emotional distress or self-consciousness. There are many over-the-counter and prescribed antifungal treatments. You can also try some simple, inexpensive home remedies.
Here are the top 10 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.
- Add 5 to 7 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
- Apply this oil on the affected area using a cotton ball.
- Allow it to dry on its own, then rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
- 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 2 or 3 times daily until the infection clears up.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has a protein called 14 kDa that possesses antifungal 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, 2 or 3 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 2 or 3 times a day.
Plain, unsweetened yogurt is a natural cure for fungal infections 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 2 to 3 cups of plain yogurt daily to help fight the yeast internally.
5. Oregano Oil
You can clear up tinea versicolor using oregano essential oil. It is one of the most potent antifungal oils, which can fight the fungi responsible for the condition as well as reduce the symptoms.
- Prepare a solution with equal amounts of oregano essential oil and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Apply it on the affected areas using a cotton ball.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Follow this remedy once daily for a few weeks.
You can also take oregano essential oil supplements, after consulting a doctor.
Garlic is also an effective remedy for tinea versicolor. Its antifungal 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 2 to 3 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.