DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pityriasis versicolor causing light patches on the skin of a 21-year-old woman. This common skin disease, also called tinea versicolor, is caused by an unusual proliferation of a yeast-like fungus (Malassezia furfur) that normally exists unnoticed on human skin. Climatic factors or sunlight are thought to trigger the condition, which is most common in young and middle-aged men, and is not contagious. Treatment consists of regular application of an antifungal cream all over the upper body and washing clothing rigorously. This usually removes the fungus, but the spots may take months to return to their normal colour.
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