Saturday, October 31

Skin care - Olive oil health benefits

Olive oil typesNutritionHealth benefitsFor skin careFor hair caremoisturizerBeauty tips

Olive oil health benefits are due to the presence of high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Prime health benefits of olive oil are in the reduction of risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancers.

Health benefits of olive oil in cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are among the main causes of deaths in the world. These arise out of our lifestyle, food habits, diabetes and use of alcohol and cigarettes.
Premature death are on the rise due to arteriosclerosis (hardening and loss of elasticity of medium and large arteries), atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries due to atheromatous plaques) and coronary heart disease (impaired circulation of blood to cardiac muscles).

The prime cause for these diseases is the presence of low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Cardiovascular disease can be reversed and treated even if the patient has a long history of the ailment.
Reduction in stress and diet control (like replacing fats with olive oil) benefits in preventing, eliminating and reducing almost all forms of heart disease.

Reduction in the overall consumption of fats is the first step in the prevention of heart diseases.
The second step is in replacing whatever fats consumed by monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA 73% in olive oil).
These fatty acids lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and thus help in the heart's health.

The wondrous olive oil has a whopping 73% 0f MUFA for our heart's health benefits.
Thus it helps in increasing good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Its health benefits in cardiovascular diseases involve in the primary prevention in the development of disease and in the secondary prevention in the recurrence of cardiac event.

Olive oil health benefits as antioxidant
Free radicals are the by-products of our metabolism in our routine activities. They have the capacity to oxidise and damage cells.
Antioxidants are the opposite of free radicals and they help in neutralising the free radicals and give many health benefits.
Vitamin E and phytonutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols present in olive oil have high antioxidant activity and help in protecting our body cells from oxidative damages.

Antioxidants present in olive oil by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Antioxidants have been found to reduce premature ageing and the risk of colon cancer.

Further health benefits of olive oil
Unlike other fats, olive oil can be added and used in our food without cooking and its flavour and taste are appetising.
Olive oil also gives health benefits like lowering blood sugar, preventing peptic ulcers, lowering blood pressure and improving skin condition.
People suffering from ailments like diabetes, gastric ulcers, rheumatic arthritis and asthma have been found to get relief by using olive oil. In skin care olive oil gives immense health benefits like moisturising it and making it soft, smooth, firm and elastic.

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Friday, October 30

Skin care - Olive oil nutrition facts

Olive oil typesNutrition factsHealth benefits factsFacts for skin careFor hair careMoisturizerbeauty tips

Exceptional nutrition benefits of olive oil are the presence of high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin K.
Olive oil is the main oil ingredient in the food of people of the Mediterranean region. Studies have revealed that heart ailments are comparatively low in this region.

This is attributed to the presence of nearly 73% monounsaturated fatty acids and the antioxidants like vitamin E in the olive extract. Though the exact composition of it varies in respect to extraction process, harvesting time, maturity of the fruits, altitude, region and the genetic line of the trees, the following nutrients are present in approximate values for 100 gms (109 ml).

Olive oil nutrition facts

Nutrients factsAmount in 100gms
Energy890 kcal
Total fats (lipids)100.0 gms
Total saturated fatty acids14.0 gms
Total monounsaturated fatty acids73.0 gms
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids10.5 gms
Phytosterols221.0 mg
Vitamin E (tocopherol)14.4 mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)60.0 mcg
Total choline0.3 mg
Betaine0.1 mg
Calcium1.0 mg
Iron0.6 mg
Potassium1.0 mg
Sodium2.0 mg

Facts on the role of fatty acids in olive oil for nutrition and cholesterol management

Saturated fatty acids increase the blood cholesterol levels (both high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein). The increase in LDL cholesterol leads to artery clogging and heart disease. Monounsaturated fatty acids help in reducing the LDL and increasing HDL. High HDL levels help in removing artery blocks and help in preventing heart disease. Polyunsaturated fatty acids lower both HDL and LDL. The lowering of HDL has adverse effects.

Facts on olive oil role in increasing HDL

The high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids present help in increasing the HDL and lowering the LDL. The facts are that in nutrition remove the deposits on the artery walls allowing better blood flow. The lowering of LDL prevents deposits on the artery walls. Thus olive oil nutrition proves very beneficial for heart care.

Facts on olive oil nutrition increasing antioxidant activity

The high content of vitamin E (a potent antioxidant) and phytonutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols gives a big role in reducing free radical activity. Our body gets protection from oxidative damages which cause many diseases and ageing.

Facts on limitations in olive oil nutrition

The quality of the olive oil is of prime importance. Only 'extra virgin olive oil' is rich in nutrition values. Other label terms like 'pure olive oil', 'refined ' and 'high quality' are misleading terms and facts and the product may not give us the expected benefits. Application for skin nutrition may be avoided by persons affected by tinea versicolor fungal infection as this fungus grows well in it.

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Thursday, October 29

Olive oil moisturizer - Homemade skin moisturizer

Homemade olive oil skin moisturizer
Olive oil is an excellent natural skin moisturizer, which can be formulated at home. It is devoid of all side-effects and harms attributed to chemical moisturizer.

What is a moisturizer?

  • Moisturizer is mixture of ingredients designed especially to keep epidermis smooth, soft and elastic.
  • It increases the water content of the epidermis by hydration and reduce loss of water from it by evaporation.
  • Apart from preventing and curing dry conditions, moisturizer also improve texture and tone of the skin.
  • It protects the sensitive and
    tender skin and masks the blemishes and imperfections.
  • They have multiple roles like absorbing water from surroundings and retaining it (humectant) and filling the space between the dermal cells (emollients) and giving smooth texture.

Olive oil as moisturizer

  • Olive oil is obtained by crushing and grinding the fruits. It yields pure extract which is rich in antioxidants.
  • Pure extra virgin olive oil by itself is a good moisturizer.
  • This extra virgin extract on adding to other natural homemade ingredients enhances their hydrating functions.
  • Moisturizers made with extra virgin extract do not normally clog the pores.
  • This is similar to sebum and penetrates the skin exceptionally well.
  • By deep penetration this homemade blend stimulates collagen synthesis making the dermis firm and supple.
  • This homemade blend does not give the greasy feel on application.
  • Homemade moisturizer neutralizes the free radicals in the epidermis and dermis and protects it from ageing and wrinkles.

Homemade olive oil moisturizer

  • Moisturizer blend # 1: Clean your face with a cleanser. Dab it dry with a clean cloth. Do not allow the face to dry out. Within three minutes take 2-3 drops olive oil on your palm and apply it on the face and neck evenly. It retains the moisture and softens the epidermis.
  • Moisturizer blend # 2: If your skin feels a bit dry take equal volumes of oil and water and blend them well. Apply this mix and after ten minutes dab lightly to remove excess mixture. Then apply three drops of the extra virgin extract to lock-in moisture.
  • Olive oil blend # 3: If your face is very dry then try the following method. Add pure honey and olive oil in equal proportion (1/2 teaspoon each) and blend well. Apply this mixture on the face and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Then wash thoroughly with clean water and dab to dry. Immediately apply 2-3 drops of the extra virgin extract to retain moisture. Honey being a good humectant will hold more water in the epidermis and the dryness may disappear within a few days.
  • Moisturizer blend # 4: Alternatively you can take equal volumes of olive and almond oils and blend them well with a little beeswax after heating them. Apply this homemade cream on the face and leave it for 1/2 hour as face mask. Then wash well and apply three drops of it to retain moisture.
  • Blend # 5: If you face has excess sebum, you can blend one tablespoon of olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice, apply and leave it overnight on face. The next day wash well and apply 3 drops of the extra virgin olive extract to retain moisture. This homemade olive oil moisturizer removes only the excess face sebum secretions and does not deplete the skin of its natural secretions.

Current topic:Homemade olive oil skin moisturizer.

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Monday, October 26

Pale white spots/patches on children skin face and body

White spots on the face of children

The cause of pale white spots and patches on the face and the body of children must be diagnosed and treated or else it may leave a psychological impact on the kids, apart from the physiological problems.

Various conditions and diseases can cause pale white spots/patches on the skin of children. Some are harmless and resolve by themselves. Many can cause health problems. It is very important for the parents to get the causes diagnosed and have the children treated if necessary.

Pale/white spots and patches arising out of injuries, burns and infections

These white spots are due to skin damage.
Repigmentation of these areas may take a long time or may not develop pigments fully.
These patches can be corrected by chemo or

Deficiency of vitamins (avitaminosis) causes pale white spots/patches on the skin

Vitamins are very essential components of our nutrition and the deficiency of them in children can cause many diseases and also affect their skin. Deficiency of B complex vitamins affect our skin in a number of ways.

The deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes pale white spots/patches on the skin especially on the forearms of the kids.These pale patches arise out of depigmentation of the skin and may later turn pink/red causing itching and distress to the kids. Giving food rich in vitamin B12 to the kids makes the pale white vitamin B12 deficiency spots/patches to disappear gradually.

Pale white spots and patches on the children caused by pityriasis alba

This is an asymptomatic condition, the cause of which is not known. The lesions initially appear slightly raised pinkish or reddish in color. Later they flatten out and turn pale white. This condition affects particularly children, more often boys. It usually affects the face of the child, especially cheeks, area around mouth and chin.

Pale white patches may also appear on shoulders arms and hands of kids. By puberty in most of the kids it resolves by itself. The condition may last to a few months or to years. may also recur. No specific treatment is required. Protective and preventive measures may be taken to avoid these pale white spots and patches on your children faces.

Milia (oil seeds or milk spots) causes small raised spots on the face, mouth roof and genitalia

Milia is quite often present in newborns and infants. These white may also affect older children and adults. Milia are keratin filled cysts and are benign and asymptomatic. Usually in newborns they disappear after a few weeks. In adults they may persist and can be removed by opening the cyst.

Fordyce pale white spots

These are usually found on the lips and genitalia. These white spots are actually sebaceous glands which do not have hair follicle association (ectopic sebaceous gland). These are harmless and of cosmetic worry only.

Pale patches caused by nevus depigmentosus

are hypopigmentation areas in the skin and may be present right from the birth. These pale spots are stable, harmless and non- contagious.

Pale white or brown patches/spots caused by tinea (pityriasis) versicolor

Skin yeast and M.globosa cause infections. This ailment usually affects teenagers and young adults. Kids are rarely affected. Malnourished children and kids with suppressed immunity are affected. The fungus can be treated with a number of anti-fungal topical and oral medications.

Pale white spots and patches caused by vitiligo (leucoderma)

is a skin disorder and gives rise to hypopigmentation of some areas of the skin. Autoimmunity is the main . In this ailment the immune cells kill the pigment producing cells (melanocytes) in some areas of the skin leading to white patches.

Pale white spots and patches of leprosy

Leprosy initially shows as pale white spots and patches on the skin, which are numb to touch. Though this is eradicated from most parts of the world, it is still persisting is some pockets of Africa and South east Asia. This is a curable bacterial disease. Areas of skin which lack sensation require immediate medical attention.
Sudden appearance of tender feeling to touch can be a hint of progressive damage to the peripheral nerves or even the spinal cord and the brain.

Pale white spots and patches arising on children must not neglected and immediate diagnosis and treatment must be given.

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Sunday, October 18

Pityriasis alba pale/white spots signs symptoms diagnosis

Pityriasis alba > Causes > Diagnosis > Treatment
In the diagnosis of pityriasis alba its signs and symptoms must be analysed to arrive at the differential diagnosis to exclude other conditions and infections.

Signs and symptoms of pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba is an asymptomatic, self-limiting and benign lesion.
It usually appears on kids of the age 3 -16 years.
The lesions are usually limited to face, especially cheeks, around mouth and chin.
Pityriasis alba may also affect shoulders, neck and arms.
In very rare cases extensive lesions of pityriasis alba may appear all over the body.

Pityriasis alba initially appear like raised red or pink patches sometime with mild itch.
After some time these pityriasis alba patches flatten out and look pale with depigmentation, which is not total.
The spots are oval or round, about 2cm in size and appearing in several numbers.
Pityriasis alba patches have small dry scales which can be seen on closer examination.
The spots appears to worsen during cold dry conditions and flake.

In summer the patches may appear prominent due to tanning of the surrounding areas of normal skin.
These lesions are not contagious and the causative agent is not known.
Pityriasis alba resolves by itself after some time and the patches may take a long time for repigmentation.

Diagnosis of pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba is diagnosed by taking into account its symptoms and excluding the other skin conditions and diseases by differential diagnosis.

Diagnosis of hypopigmentation to exclude the other diseases
The complete history of dermatitis in the patient is noted with especial attention to the area under investigation. Old skin injuries, marks of dermatitis and infections may show hypopigmentations and take a long time to get normal pigmentation.
The possibility of the affected area being the old hypo pigmented spot of earlier conditions has to be ruled out.

The possibility of the lesion being due to fungal infections is to be ruled out by conducting Wood's lamp test and KOH test.

Diagnosis to exclude psoriasis
The distribution of the lesions sparing scalp, knees and elbows excludes psoriasis.

Diagnosis to exclude vitiligo
In vitiligo the depigmentation is complete and it is usually a progressive condition. On the face usually the areas around the mouth and eyes are affected and margins are marked. There is no scale formation.

Diagnosis to rule out nummular dermatitis
Nummular dermatitis can be ruled out by its characteristic intense itch.
Nevus depigmentosus is present from birth and is stable.
If the diagnosis is pityriasis alba, relax and follow the skin care efforts given in the treatment post.

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Treatment of pityriasis alba - white spots/patches on children

Pityriasis alba > Causes > Diagnosis > Treatment
Treatment for pityriasis alba focuses primarily on healthy skin care efforts, understanding its benign, non-infectious and self-limited nature and educating the affected children about its universality and its resolution after some time.

Rule out other conditions and infections
For treatment of pityriasis alba it is very important for the parents to first rule out other conditions and infections like tinea versicolor, vitiligo and psoriasis.

Build the self-confidence of the affected child
The condition of pityriasis alba will resolve by itself after some time without treatment.
However the repigmentation process takes longer time. Self-assurance and confidence building measures should be undertaken as the affected children may face psychological stress due to the reactions of the school-mates and staff.

Avoid factors likely to trigger pityriasis alba
To reduce the lesion and to help in its resolution harsh soaps, solvents and detergents should be avoided.
Kids contact with allergy causing factors like dust, dust mites, molds, wool, dander from pets and pollen must be avoided.
Exposure to dry cold wind and sudden change of temperature and humidity should be avoided as as part of treatment.

Moisturize pityriasis alba affected area
As a treatment for pityriasis alba, to reduce and stop scaling, moisturising creams, cold creams and emollient lotions can be used.
For the treatment to be more effective it is advised to apply them within three minutes of washing the affected area to lock in moisture in the skin.

Possibility of pityriasis alba resolution with good balanced nutrition
The children food habits are to be monitored for any malnutrition.
A balanced food rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals should be given as part of the treatment.
Sufficient milk and milk products may be included in their diet.
Best part of the treatment for this non infective ailment is to find out whether the children are allergic to any food product and to stop use of such products.
Treatment of Pityriasis alba affected children for possible intestinal worms and parasites may resolve the condition.

Use of topical corticosteroid applications in pityriasis alba treatment
Treatment with mild nonprescription topical corticosteroids and hydrocortisone may be done.
The ointment may be applied for a week or two and stopped.
After sufficient gap of time it may be applied again for a week or two.
The treatment with corticosteroid topical ointments reduces scaling, inflamed appearance and pruritus if present.
Please note that prolonged use of corticosteroids must be avoided as this may give side effects like thinning of the skin.

Use of topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus in pityriasis alba treatment
Topical Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are approved medications to treat atopic dermatitis like pityriasis alba. They belong to calcineurin inhibitors and modulate the immune response.
They do not produce the side effects of long term use of corticosteroids like thinning of skin and decrease of effectiveness. However these ointments are very expensive.

Treatment of chronic and extensive pityriasis alba
Dermatologist's advice must be taken if the lesions are extensive.
He may consider oral psoralen and phototherapy.
Psoralen increases the sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet light and sunlight.
Ultraviolet A light photochemotherapy may give improvement in the condition.
Depending on the extent of the lesions the dermatologist may consider prescribing cyclosporine A, a potent immunosuppressant as the last resort.

Sun protection for pityriasis alba affected children
Adequate sun protection should be given to pityriasis alba affected children.
Affected areas do not tan when compared to the surrounding normal areas and the differential tanning can worsen the cosmetic look of the children.
Taking the precautions and suggested treatments may resolve pityriasis alba early.

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Saturday, October 17

Causes of pityriasis alba-white/pale spots/patches on children

Pityriasis alba > Causes > Diagnosis > Treatment
A number of causes are related for the occurrence of pityriasis alba white/pale spots and patches on the face and body of children. But the knowledge of real reason is elusive.

Pityriasis alba is considered as an atopic dermatitis occurring in children, especially on their face, shoulders and arms and could be an independent eczema. The exact causes of these white spots is not known. The investigations of skin scrapings of a number of patients have indicated non involvement of bacteria and fungus.

Pityriasis alba is not contagious and has no definite etiologic agent. Studies have revealed that the hypopigmentation is due to reduction in the numbers of functional melanocytes and decrease of melanosomes in size and number. Dryness of skin, especially in winter appears to aggravate this ailment and increase the scale formation.

We can infer that cold dry condition may trigger and cause it in persons predisposed to it. In summer months, though the patches appear prominent due to tanning of the surrounding skin, there is no aggravation of the condition. Another hypothesis is that the deficiency of calcium and related vitamins precipitates this pityriasis ailment.

The explanation and reasoning is that pityriasis alba often occurs during the growing years of children. The growing children tend to get deficient in vitamins and calcium easily. Infestation with intestinal worms and parasites has been associated with pityriasis alba occurrence. In rural India deworming of the children is done by feeding them with a spoon of Castor oil with the belief that the condition will resolve.

Some theories have associated public swimming pools as one of the reasons of occurrence of pityriasis alba. Though the condition is asymptomatic for the affected child, it is of a big worry for the parents. Schools and daycare facilities will be very apprehensive about pityriasis alba and its causes and may insist on evaluation of the infective status of the condition.

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Friday, October 16

Pityriasis alba pale or white spots/ patches on children faces

Pityriasis alba > Causes > Diagnosis > Treatment

Pityriasis alba is an atopic dermatitis with hypopigmentation affecting children mostly on the face as white/pale spots and patches.

Pityriasis alba is chronic in nature and affects children of the age between 3 and 16 years. It is non-cancerous and appears as oval and round dry pale patches, especially on the children's cheeks. To start with the patches may be pink or red. Later the rash fades and gives a pale look with depigmentation in the affected areas.

These hypopigmented pityriasis alba patches appear oval and round, slightly erythematous and scaly. These spots usually affect the chin, cheek and mouth areas of the face of the kids. The border of the pityriasis alba rash is not clearly marked. The spots appear to blend gradually with the normal skin. On closer examination the affected area show whitish scales and hence is the name pityriasis alba (white scales).

The lesions are not completely depigmented. 50% of the kids are affected only on the face by these patches. These white areas are more noticeable in kids with dark or tanned skin. In addition to face in some cases these hypopigmented patches may involve neck, arms and shoulders of the affected kids. The trunk and legs are rarely involved in pityriasis alba afflictions.

The affected kids may show multiple lesions numbering even up to twenty, varying in size from 1 - 5 centimetres. Both sexes are affected and boys are more prone to develop it. In dark skinned kids the pale lesions are very prominent. Though the children are asymptomatic, their cosmetic appearance is of concern to parents.

These lesions do not tan. In the summer months the pityriasis lesions appear more prominent due to tanning of the surrounding skin. In winter and in dry climate the lesions flake. These pityriasis alba affected spots may remain for months or years and resolve after some period of time with the growth of children.

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Malassezia furfur fungus - skin infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > Diagnosis > Treatment

Malassezia furfur fungus is one of the common flora of the human skin. Malassezia furfur is a saprophyte, living on the dead skin cell debris.

It is further found to be an anthropophilic fungus preferably living on the human skin. Malassezia furfur is dimorphic in nature, growing and existing in mold/filamentous/hyphal form as well as yeast form. On the healthy skin this fungus is present in the yeast form. This yeast lives on the superficial layer of the skin (stratum corneum) epidermis.

Many factors like heat, humidity, suppressed immunity, immune deficiency, excessive sweating and hyper sebaceous (skin oil producing) gland activity can trigger this yeast to become a pathogen and cause tinea versicolor. It causes ugly patches of various hues on the chest and back, which are sometimes very pruritic (itchy).

Tinea versicolor infections can become chronic and recurring. Malassezia furfur normally does not affect mucous membranes, nails and hair shafts. This fungus is lipophilic (oil loving) in nature and thrives well on oily skin. This fungus hydrolyses lipids in to fatty acids, utilising them for its growth and pathogenic activity.

Amino acids asparagine and glycine were found to stimulate the growth of the yeast and hyphal formation. Malassezia furfur fungus can be grown in a medium containing olive oil. It has been isolated from some the blood cultures of neonates and persons undergoing parenteral nutrition. Malassezia furfur is also associated with dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, folliculitis and many other infections.

In a particular incidence this fungus was found to have caused bronchopneumonia in infants in a neonatal intensive care unit leading to death of two children. In another systemic infection caused by Malassezia furfur a woman developed Malassezia furfur sepsis when total nutrition was given by parenteral supplementation. Many anti fungal medicines can be used to get rid of Malassezia furfur.

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Wednesday, October 14

Signs and symptoms of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > Diagnosis > Treatment
Tinea versicolor has very characteristic visual signs and symptoms on the body. Tinea versicolor skin yeast infections appear as discolored, flat, circular and oval patches on the skin with hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation.

The patches may be of hues of shades of white, bronze red to brown, differing from person to person. Each individual's lesions are mostly of the same color and show even pigmentation showing relatively sharp margins. The usual characteristic of other fungal diseases like inflamed outer margins with relatively clear centre is not seen in tinea versicolor skin yeast infections.

The lesions are at their worst in hot and humid climate and can cause intense itch. However the infected patches subside and fade away in cooler and drier climate. The infection is superficial and usually occurs in stratum corneum part of the epidermis. Tinea versicolor infections appear choosy and the symptoms are seen usually on the trunk region, sparing the face. Very rarely it may occur on the face of the children.

The appearance of these signs and symptoms on regular use of corticosteroids indicates tinea versicolor infections. Another indicative factor of tinea versicolor skin yeast infections is the recurrent appearance of the signs and symptoms in warmer months and worsening with heat.Tinea versicolor infected back
Tinea versicolor infected back

The smaller lesions are usually are circular or oval in shape initially and growing to merge with one another. The surrounding areas of the confluent patches have scattered oval and circular macules. Usually fine scales are present. Even if the scales are not apparent closer examination of the swabs will reveal their presence.

The tinea versicolor fungal skin patches do not tan and they stand out in a person with tanned skin and these symptoms help in the identification of the causative factor.

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Diagnosis of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal infections

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > Diagnosis > Treatment

Diagnosis of tinea versicolor can be easily done with visual examination and when in doubt can be confirmed by Wood's lamp or by KOH test.

Diagnosis of tinea versicolor by visual observations

An experienced dermatologist can easily do the diagnosis of the presence of tinea versicolor by visual observations. The area of infection, age of the person involved, climatic condition, and the history of earlier infections can guide him to the exact problem. The flat, round or oval lesions with thin dusty scales, growing and merging to form large patches shows the presence of tinea versicolor.

Diagnosis of tinea versicolor by Wood's lamp

Wood's lamp generates UV light and is fitted with Wood's filter alowing only rays of bandwith around 365 pass through. Though the use of Wood's lamp does not require particular skill attention must be given to following aspects to get correct results and diagnosis. The lamp must be allowed to warm up for one minute.

The examination must be carried out in a dark room. Alternatively a lamp with a hood to cover the area under examination with a peephole to see the affected area can be used. The lamp must be held about 4 - 6 inches from the skin lesion under diagnosis. Washing the affected area before the examination may mislead the diagnosis and should be avoided.

Topical applications on the skin should be wiped off as these may give their own fluorescence and mislead the results. Looking directly at the UV light should be avoided. There is very scant fluorescence from the normal skin whereas Malassezia furfur emits copper orange or yellowish white light. This examination can detect even subclinical tinea versicolor fungal infection and also show the extent of the fungal infection.

Diagnosis of tinea versicolor by KOH test

Alternatively skin scraping may be viewed under microscope to detect the presence of fungus. The superficial skin sample is taken by scraping the affected skin with a scalpel or blade. The collected sample is placed on a slide. The scrapping must be taken from the margin of the lesion.

About 3 drops of 10% KOH (potassium hydroxide) solution is added to the slide. The slide is warmed to dissolve the skin tissue. A drop of lactophenol blue is added and coverslip placed. The sample is examined with a light microscope at high magnification.
tinea versicolor infections
Tinea versicolor infection
spaghetti and meatballs appearance of tinea versicolor under microscope
Spaghetti and meatballs appearance of tinea versicolor under microscope

The KOH dissolves the skin tissue leaving behind the fungal cells. The fungal hyphae can be clearly seen. Malassezia furfur can be seen showing the spaghetti and meatballs appearance. Once the diagnosis is completed and the presence of tinea versicolor fungal infection is established the disease can be treated and resolved.

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Tuesday, October 13

Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections - treatment and cure

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > diagnosis > Treatment

Treatment for tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections is to be done after taking into consideration factors like age of the patient, extend of the disease and the climatic conditions.

Pityriasis yeast infections in the early stages can be treated with a number of topical creams and lotions which are available over the counter. For chronic disease oral antifungal medicines also are to be used.

Treatment of tinea yeast infections with topical applications

A big choice of topical medications are available for the treatment of pityriasis versicolor.

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a essential oil having antibacterial and antifungal properties. Application of 5% solution of tea tree oil over a period on the affected parts of the body is known to treat pityriasis versicolor skin yeast.

Selenium sulfide
Application of 1% selenium sulphide in the form of shampoo (Selsun) on the affected parts helps in resolving the pityriasis versicolor skin yeast infections. The application is allowed to remain on the body for 30 - 60 minutes and then washed. This application is repeated daily for 7 -10 days.

Selenium sulphide 2.5%
This formulation is a prescription medicine and applying it daily and allowing it to remain on the skin for 10 minutes resolves tougher infections.

Clotrimazole cream
Clotrimazole cream (Lotrimin) can be applied on the affected parts twice daily for about 15 - 20 days to get relief.

Terbinafine (lamisil)
Terbinafine cream application once daily for a weak treats tinea versicolor.

Cassia alata leaves
A study in India has proved the efficacy of treating tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections with the leaf extract of Cassia alata plant.

Ciclopirox olamine (Ciclopirox)
Ciclopirox is found to suppress pityriasis versicolor and can be used in the place of ketoconazole topical applications.

Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is found to relieve the symptoms and in some cases treat tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections.

Treatment of tinea (pityriasis versicolor) skin yeast infections with dandruff shampoos

Dandruff shampoos are effective in controlling the pityriasis versicolor skin yeast infections.

Ketoconazole shampoo
Application of 2% ketoconazole shampoo on wet skin and leaving it for 5 - 10 minutes on the skin before bath helps in resolving the pityriasis versicolor yeast infections.

Pyrithione zinc shampoo
Pyrithione zinc is a good fungicide and gives good results when used for treatment of yeast infections. Applying and leaving this shampoo on the skin for ten minutes daily for a weak gives good results.

Treatment of pityriasis versicolor with oral medications

Oral tablets of anti fungal medications are available for the treatment of pityriasis versicolor. Ketoconazole, fluconazole, itraconazole are some of the oral medications available for the treatment. Please take the advice of your doctor for dosage and suitability of the medicine in your case.

Cure for pityriasis versicolor

As this yeast is normally present in human skin after treatment the infection may recur. Frequent treatments for eradication are required.

Prevention of pityriasis versicolor

Once treated for pityriasis versicolor follow certain precautions to avoid the recurrence of the disease. Avoid prolonged exposure to heat and hot environment. Wear loose fitting clothes to enhance air circulation to the body. Avoid fatty food, oily food and fried food. Keep the skin dry as for possible. Avoid places and activities which may produce excessive sweat. Repeat the treatment at least once in two months for three times, even if there is no apparent infections of pityriasis versicolor.

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Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections - causes

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > diagnosis > Treatment
Causes of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections are factors like hot climate, humidity, profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis), high levels of skin oil, malnutrition and immunodeficiency.

Malassezia furfur, the yeast responsible for causing tinea versicolor is one of the normal flora of the human skin and is a saprophyte. Apparently healthy persons are also found to get infected and get tinea versicolor. However Malassezia furfur, being an opportunistic, triggered by conducive factors becomes a pathogen causing these yeast infections. Factors conducive in conversion of this yeast into a parasite and pathogen are discussed below.

Hot climate and excess heat

Hot climate and excess heat in the surroundings are conducive for tinea versicolor skin yeast infections. Hot climate has been associated with this disease. In the tropical countries this disease is very prevalent and even up to 50% of the population is affected. The pathogens like bacteria and fungi thrive well in higher temperatures. In temperate country like Sweden only about 1% population is affected. Apart from the climate if the working place environment or home environment is hot, the Malassezia species present in the body may turn into pathogens and proliferate.

Excess humidity and profuse sweating

Excess humidity and profuse sweating causes pityriasis versicolor. Malassezia furfur is a saprophytic fungus feeding and living off the skin debris on the outermost layers. High humidity and sweating keep the skin moist and provide a ideal environment for the saprophyte to turn into a pathogen. Further sweat containing traces of nutrients help in the proliferation of these fungi.

Oily skin and excess sebaceous gland activity causes pityriasis yeast infections

Malassezia furfur is lipophilic and in vitro it is found to grow well in media containing cholesterol and its esters. The high sebum producing regions of the body like chest, back and neck are first to get tinea (pityriasis) versicolor. The incidence of pityriasis is particularly high among the young adults and teenagers, with a very conspicuous rarity among the pre-teens and the elderly. This is attributed to the increase in the lipid levels on the epidermis of this young adult age group. Further it has also been found that the sebum-presence of amino acids like asparagine stimulated the growth of the fungal forms and glycine induced the formation of hyphae and triggering tinea yeast infections.

Immuno deficiency causes tinea versicolor

Acquired immuno deficiency virus affected persons are prone to all yeast infections. They are very likely to acquire tinea versicolor yeast infections.

Use of corticosteroids causes pityriasis yeast infections

Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids are generally used for suppressing inflammation, reducing swelling, itching and allergy. In some persons these drugs have been found to result in tinea versicolor.

Malnutrition and excess fat consumption causes fungal skin infections

In the developing countries and poor nations the populations are under nourished. Apart from making them weak it adds to lowering their immunity. These undernourished populations are prone to acquire tinea (pityriasis) versicolor yeast infections. In contrast in affluent population people consuming fad and junk food and eating excess of fat are malnourished and are equally prone to tinea versicolor.

Skin damages and burns can cause tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections

Skin damages and burns offer lots of nutrition for the skin fungi with skin debris. The fungus grows on the dead tissue and causes tinea versicolor.

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives can trigger tinea versicolor. Oral contraceptive alters the hormone secretions in the body and triggers and causes tinea versicolor.


Pregnancy may precipitate yeast infections. Pregnancy causes great hormonal changes in women. These changes can be of advantage to Malassezia furfur fungus and tinea versicolor may be caused.

Removal of adrenal gland

Removal of adrenal gland causes tinea versicolor to take over. The removal of adrenal glands causes disturbances in the endocrine system and results in impaired hormone secretions. This disturbance in hormones causes tinea versicolor.

Cushing's disease

Cushing's disease causes tinea versicolor yeast infections. Cushing's disease is a hormonal disorder. This is caused by continuous high levels of cortisol hormone. Cushing's syndrome causes many striking changes on the skin. Sufferers of this syndrome are prone to tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections

Genetic predisposition

Genetic predisposition causes pityriasis versicolor. Some families have been found to suffer from tinea (pityriasis) versicolor for generations.

Cell mediated immunity

Cell mediated immunity leads to tinea versicolor fungal infections. Normally general population is found to be sensitized against the antigens of this fungus. However tinea (pityriasis) versicolor affected persons are found to have their lymphocyte function impaired. This immunosuppression plays a role and causes this disease. Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor causes depression in afflicted people with apparent skin blemishes.

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Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal skin infections

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > diagnosis > Treatment

Tinea versicolor or pityriasis versicolor are fungal skin infections caused by fungi of the yeast variety of Malassezia group.

Overview and description of tinea versicolor

Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal infections are usually superficial, benign, common, recurrent and not contagious affecting the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis. They are characterised by macules (color patches) which may be hyperpigmented (darker) or hypopigmented (lighter) appearing in multi colors of white, creamy, pale pink and brown. These spots of fungal infections are usually found on the upper arms, back, neck and upper chest. These fungus patches may have fine scales and itching (pruritus) may be occasionally present.

Fungi Malassezia furfur and M. globosa cause tinea versicolor fungal infections

Tinea versicolor (sun fungus) is caused by Malassezia group of fungi which are residents of human skin. They are part of the normal flora of the human skin. Recent studies have revealed that Malassezia globosa and M. furfur cause most of the tinea versicolor fungal skin infections. Though this skin fungus is present normally on the skin, under certain situations it starts to grow, proliferate and cause these infections.

Warm and humid conditions appear to be conducive for this tinea fungus to turn into pityriasis versicolor skin infections. These fungi are lipophilic and oily skin provides the right environment for their multiplication. Further it appears to affect the teenagers and young adults. May be it is due to hyperactivity of sebaceous glands in these age groups. Young children and elderly people are least affected by the tinea (pityriasis) versicolour fungal infections. Depending on the affliction, there are many types of these fungal infections.

Tinea versicolor type 1

These fungi which are normally in the form of round or oval spores, when triggered put out slender filaments called hyphae and grow initially as small colonies. These colonies grow and overlap to form larger patches. There may be opportunistic infections and skin lesions present. The fungus produce azelaic acid which has skin bleaching properties, causing the white patches and the apparent symptom of this disease.

These areas do not tan and stand out as white or pale pink patches when the healthier skin gets tanned. In the basal layers of epidermis melanocytes produce melanin pigment clumps called melanosomes. In some persons the fungi can induce the melanosomes (brown pigments) to become bigger in size and give rise to hyperpigmentation and dark brown patches of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor.

Tinea versicolor type 2

In this type of infection apart from the usual areas of affliction, the disease may affect face, fore head, arm pits, groins and extremities. This tinea (pityriasis) versicolor type is generally found in persons with weakened immune system.

Tinea versicolor type 3

In this type fungal infections may involve the hair follicles on chest, back and hands.

Tinea versicolor type 4

In this fungal form, about 3mm size, several, firm, reddish brown, monomorphic, inflammatory and itchy papules are formed.

Universal incidence of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal skin infections

Though tinea (pityriasis) versicolor causing fungi are present in nearly all adults, the fungal disease condition is experienced in relevance to temperature, moisture and age group. Humidity and heat play an important role in the development of these fungi. In America about 10% people develop tinea (pityriasis) versicolor, whereas in some tropical countries nearly 50% of the population get these fungal skin infections.

In countries like Sweden only 1% of the population develop tinea (pityriasis) versicolor. In temperate regions the tinea (pityriasis) versicolor sets in warmer summer months, fading with the onset of winter. In tropical regions this fungal disease persists and becomes chronic. Though it may affect any age group, often teenagers and young adults are the most affected by this fungal disease.

Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor is not specific to any gender or race. Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal skin infections may recur after treatments. In most people though the disease may go away after treatment the restoration of the normal skin appearance takes several months. Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor fungal skin infections though have little or no physiological impact on the populations, they leave a psychological impact on the individuals with blemishes on the skin.

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