Pityriasis versicolor, also called tinea versicolor, is a superficial cutaneous fungal infection caused by Malassezia furfur (formerly termed Pityrosporum ovale)


  • Incidence: 100.00 cases per 100,000 person-years
  • Peak incidence: 20-30 years
  • Sex ratio: 1:1
<1 1-5 6+ 16+ 30+ 40+ 50+ 60+ 70+ 80+

Clinical features

  • Most commonly affects trunk
  • Patches may be hypopigmented, pink or brown (hence versicolor). May be more noticeable following a suntan
  • Scale is common
  • Mild pruritus


  • Topical antifungal. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries advise ketoconazole shampoo as this is more cost effective for large areas
  • If failure to respond to topical treatment then consider alternative diagnoses (e.g. send scrapings to confirm the diagnosis) + oral itraconazole