Understanding Sun Fungus
Sun fungus, also known as Tinea versicolor or pityriasis versicolor, is a yeast infection that causes patches or spots on the skin. They are irregularly shaped or oval and tend to be about ¼ to one inch in diameter. They sometimes are joined together and form the appearance of a larger patch. The affected area has scaly looking skin. The spots have a sharp border and the rash like look makes the skin look pink or darkly tanned. Sometimes this area starts looking reddish especially if the patient is feeling uncomfortably warm. Sun fungus is also marked by a sharp itching sensation prior to the body breaking into a sweat. Sweating seems to alleviate the need to scratch. The spots tend to appear on the back, upperarm, underarm, chest, neck and lower legs of the patient. In rare instances, the spots are also visible on the face.
Patients with dark skin tones are found to lose color in the affected patches and those with lighter pigmentation find the infected area becoming darker. This hypo pigmentation and hyper pigmentation is usually more noticeable after some sun exposure – this is part of the reason that the disease is seen as related to the sun, and hence the name Sun Fungus.
Sun Fungus is thought to affect anywhere from two to eight percent of the population and it is mostly found in teenagers or young adults. The yeast infection tends to be particularly prevalent in places with warm and humid climatic conditions. Sweating, oily skin, immune-suppression and hormonal changes are some of the conditions associated with the occurrence of these skin patches or spots.
The preferred treatment for the problem is topical antifungal medications. Selenium sulfide and hydrogen peroxide are among the ingredients in the topical treatments that are thought to be effective. It is best to consult with a medical professional before choosing a treatment to make sure that the diagnosis and treatment are appropriate. Doctors may also suggest oral antifungal medicines for those who have a stubborn case of Sun Fungus. The oral medication is sometimes given as a single dose and sometimes over a week. Having the patient exercise a couple of hours after taking the single dose and letting the film of sweat sit on the skin is thought to increase the efficacy of the single dose of antifungal oral medication.
There is a high possibility of recurrence of this problem and so it is a good idea to initiate a preventive regimen. One suggestion is to add some anti-dandruff shampoo to the bath water. It is also recommended that patients shower soon after exercising and dry off thoroughly to make sure that the body is not a breeding ground for yeast. Clothes that allow the skin to breathe, which means avoiding clinging clothes, are recommended. It is considered advisable to use natural fibers such as cotton and jute rather than synthetics such as nylon. In particularly persistent cases it may be necessary to take a pill once or twice a month to prevent the onset of the problem.
Those who find themselves prone to Sun Fungus should also explore alternative medicine systems. There has been some documented success with using diet modifications to prevent frequent recurrence of the yeast infection. There are also tea oils and such applications which seem to help the body in fighting the yeast. However, it is to be stressed that it is not a good idea to apply non-prescribed oils as this can lead to an aggravation of the problem.
Sun Fungus, much like other fungal infections, is an irritating problem to deal with but it is not life-threatening and with some proactive management it is possible to keep the problem in control.