Other conditions with symptoms similar to tinea versicolor

Several skin conditions have symptoms similar to those of tinea versicolor. In some cases the rash's location on your body can help you know which condition is present. Exams and tests can also reveal the type of skin condition.

  • Vitiligo results in a loss of all color (depigmentation) of the skin, unlike the lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) color seen in tinea versicolor. Vitiligo's white patches are often found on fingers, toes, knees, and around the eyes and mouth; white patches can also appear on the genitals and lower back. There is no noticeable scaling with vitiligo.
  • Pityriasis rosea is a common skin disorder that causes a rash on the chest and back. The rash often begins with a large, oval, pink patch that is scaly with a raised border. Within a week or two, more patches appear on the chest, back, arms, and legs. The rash can be itchy and usually lasts six to eight weeks, but will eventually go away without treatment.
  • Pityriasis alba, a type of rash common in children, appears as off-white scaly patches on faces and upper arms. Areas with the rash don't tan, and there is usually no distinct border around the rash.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that can be long-term (chronic). The condition often shows up on the scalp, where it is called "cradle cap" in babies and "dandruff" in adults. The scales can be either red and greasy or white and dry and can be found anywhere on the body.
  • Secondary syphilis can show up as patches of round, pink rash distributed all over the body, including on the palms and soles. The rash will not be scaly.
  • Guttate psoriasis often follows a strep throat infection and appears suddenly as a raised, scaly, salmon-pink rash, usually on the trunk of the body.

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