Tinea Versicolor: To Treat or not to Treat?

July 1, 2006

What are the consequences-if any-of not treating tineaversicolor?

What are the consequences-if any-of not treating tineaversicolor?
-MD

Untreated tinea versicolor has no grave sequelae.However, cutaneous dyschromia-hypopigmentationor hyperpigmentation-will persistwithout treatment (Figure). Dyschromia canhave social ramifications, because the degree ofdiscoloration can be striking and can affect the face aswell as the trunk in some patients. Also, tinea versicolorcan be pruritic; the degree of itching tends to correlatewith the extent of involvement. Neglected tinea versicoloris likely to become extensive and result in an uncomfortabledegree of pruritus. Since the various topical therapiesare benign, I would encourage treatment.
-Ted Rosen, MD
  Professor of Dermatology
  Baylor College of Medicine
  Houston