Getting rid of Tinea Versicolor Naturally (sorta)

What is it?
Tinea Versicolor is yeast normally found on the human skin which can get a little over-enthusiastic at times and result in a splotchiness to the skin. It’s especially triggered by heat & humidity, and and may also be a result of a weakened immune system.

Anyone that’s experienced the overgrowth of this otherwise normal skin fungus, knows what perpetual self-conscious misery it causes and the desperation that vanity can drive us to. And why not – your skin is probably the most prominent indicator of your overall health, and having nice skin is one of a precious few criteria that cross-culturally defines that elusive and relative notion of beauty.

The most common recommended treatment from doctors is antibiotics – which i was not so keen on taking, after a near-fatal experience involving a reaction to them, so I tried a number of things based on advice from friends, some internet research, and a couple of home remedy books – none of which qualify anything i say here as expert opinion, but i sharing experience is all  part of building knowledge, so…

What finally worked?


Since my original post, I had a small re-occurrence on my upper inner right thigh and decided to try out a few other things. It’s difficult to say if this method is MORE efficacious, or it simply went away quicker because it was only about the size of a quarter — unlike my previous occurrence which took over my whole chest and back.

In the shower:
Before showering, apply an anti-dandruff shampoo containing Selenium Sulfide to the affected area. I used Selsun Blue. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off.

Morning or before bed treatments:
Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to switch up Neem oil and Hydrogen Peroxide applications.

Neem oil: Dab the oil with a finger or cloth over the affected area. Let dry. I did this each morning before getting dressed. If your area of infection is quite large, this may prove inconvenient (or unpleasant to others) as Neem oil has a very pungent smell, akin to rotting grass. If that’s the case, then apply it at night (though you’ll probably want to change your sheets frequently… and put down some extra protection underneath lest your futon or mattress forever smell of Neem!)

Hydrogen Peroxide: I used use athletic tape to hold some gauze soaked in 3% hydrogen peroxide to my inner thigh, leaving it there to go to sleep. Because of the location this would have been annoying to deal with during the day, hence my choice to apply it at night.

Regardless of what you choose to do before bed and what you do in the morning, I think the important thing is that 1) topical treatments are permitted to linger on the infection, 2) they are dispersed throughout the 24 hr cycle of your day so as to inhibit the bacterial growth in their absence, and 3) they are used in combination — over the years I’ve learned that when working with herbs, the combination of a few methods seems to work the best.

METHOD 1 (summer/fall 2007)

Each morning:
Soak a close-fitting cotton t-shirt in 3% hydrogen peroxide, wring it out, and then wear it for 1 hour. Naturally, if you live in a cold climate you’ll want to put a sweater on over it (probably something white, and nothing you want to keep – peroxide tends to weaken and lighten clothing fibers; The composition of Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2 – basically water, but that extra Oxygen molecule makes it unstable and wants to bond with other stuff – like bacteria! Acidophillis secretes Hydrogen Peroxide.

In the shower:
Exfoliate using an antibacterial soap in order to slough off dead skin and the top level of spores, so other topical treatments to get to the heart of the problem.

1 application of  tea tree oil, followed by an application of Vicks Vaporub. Tea Tree is a natural antimicrobal. Vicks Vaporub contains Camphor and Menthyl, also topical analgesics, and the fact that it has a gel-like consistency means that you can apply it more liberally than tea tree oil, and it will linger on your skin. I noticed a greater difference the next morning if I applied both than if I applied the Tea Tree oil alone.

Marijuana abstinence:
A pot-head like myself hates to admit it, but according to my research, marijuana is responsible for a certain level of immunosuppression – probably more in some people than in others, and laying off the ganja (At the time I normally smoked about a gram a day, but dropped down to half a joint once a week) definitely helped. There was definitely a correlation between when it would flair-up and subside and how much I was smoking. To play devil’s advocate, I typically increase consumption during times of stress – the greatest immunosuppressant of all – so it may have been correlated to that.

I love garlic & eat a lot of this stuff as it is, so it’s a little difficult for me to know whether or not this was a determining factor, but during my treatment, I upped my consumption a couple cloves (normally I consume about 1-2 cloves in my salads and sauces; To get at the Tinea, I would have 3-4 cloves per day) Many a website I read on the disorder recommended garlic. Something not to do, which I found as profoundly ineffective as it was physically unpleasant: grinding up 5 heads of garlic along with some oregano oil in my blender, and then smearing it across my entire torso… until I discovered that undiluted garlic applied directly to skin causes a dreadful burning sensation.

I took 1 one these a day – it’s a normal bacteria that lives in the intestines and vagina, keeping other bacteria in check. I did notice a correlation between when I would take it regularly and when I would stop, thinking the Tinea was gone.

Give it a couple weeks – maximum. If you don’t see any improvement after that, I would suggest a different route!

24 Responses to “Getting rid of Tinea Versicolor Naturally (sorta)”

  1. Mark Harley says:

    Anti-fungal drugs, such as amphotericin B, itraconazole, and ketoconazole, are the usual treatments. Anti-fungals may be given intravenously depending on the form or stage of disease. In some cases, long-term treatment with anti-fungal drugs may be used.

  2. sam says:

    hahaha im a pot head to man but im willing to stay off of it lets see if it works :\
    thank you very much for your help anyways 🙂

  3. dragon says:

    I have this and I think the reason the marijuana didnt help is mostly because of what you eat , and most pot heads like to eat more sugar and breads because it kinda fights the high. Munchie food crap food with lot of sugar will feed the fungus its hard cause the fungus wants sugar so when u starv it it makes u feel crappy

  4. Aisa says:

    If it keeps recurring you may have candida overgrowth. My bf has this all over his back arms and chest and I got nail fungus on one foot. I believe these things to be a product of systemic candida. He is a 49 year old pot head and smoked every day since like 12. He won’t believe anything I say and won’t change diet etc. He only likes meat and potatoes and bread, cake and cookies and beer etc. All sugar to feed it. Sadly if I cleanse my system of yeast and my conditions clears I won’t be sleeping with him anymore because he might re-infect me with his yeast overgrowth. I am deciding on cures/remedies I found on Earthclinic.

  5. Dr. Anonymous says:

    Mark is correct. Those are the usual treatments, but they are short lived. There is no supportive evidence claiming this is a lifelong skin disorder, but one thing I can tell you for sure… I encountered a first case back in 2003 just after receiving some herb from the bay area. The sample yielded similar results on not only myself, but other patients as well. We had tried using DMSO in the office for weeks as a free-radical binder on the affected areas, but that did nothing.

    I am certain it had to do with this batch, as nothing in lifestyle was different. There were some prescribed medications I had tried, only the oral ones had immediate results of about 1-2 weeks. A few years later, it was back and I can only imagine that age / lifestyle / sun exposure has everything to do with it.

    Nine years later, still dealing with issues. It might just be something you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life. I recommend daily showers, anti-bacterial soaps, and cut out/back sugar & yeasts from your diet. Get sun exposure, maybe swimming in pools/spas with the chlorination might be of help which drys out your skin.

    What I do not recommend, is staying on any medications for any long period of time as many have side-affects. Quite simply, if you attack the little problems of weakness or deficiency, the big problems tend to go away. Keep your immune system healthy.

    Fungal infections like the moist/damp areas to culture its growth… just keep that in mind.

  6. joshua says:

    Everything sounds good here, except anti-bacterial soap is NOT such a good idea. Fungus is not bacteria, and anti-bacterial soap is widely known to cause a weakened immune system.

  7. Clark Denardo says:

    Tinea is usually cause by fungus and poor hygiene of course. Always clean your body, finger and nails thorughly if you came from a place where there are lots of dirt and people. *:”`*

  8. Steve says:

    I have finally found a natural treatment that works for tinea versicolor

    100ml Aloe gel 100 organic
    5-10ml Teatree oil
    5-10ml eucalyptus oil

    Mix in bowl till emulsified to a white cream suck back into empty aloe gel tube

    Apply generously twice a day after shower works a treat. See results fast, clear in about 3 days but continue treatment to stop reoccurrence.
    All the best.

  9. Lillie Protich says:

    Yeast named Pityrosporum Orbiculare or Malassezia Furfur is the main cause of this condition. It is lipophilic which means fats are its vulnerability. This provides you the reason of infestation in a specific area like chest, arms and back. As these parts have huge number of sebaceous oily glands. The yeast remains dormant in our skin and with specific changes in environment like warm weather it reacts to it accordingly. When the skin is exposed to excess heat it causes the skin to tan which is affected by the fungus. The warm weather aggravates this problem further…

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  10. Bill says:

    Hey Guys! I’m new to the forums and figured I’d first start off by sharing my success story that only came about recently. I had tinea most of my life and tried EVERYTHING to treat it. I’m from Bermuda and here we call it Bermuda rot. I’ve covered my body in various anti-fungal creams, sprays, you name it. I tried the holistic approach with borax, tea tree, and everything else. I finally found a company called Elk Haven Herbals that has a product SPECIFICALLY for tinea versicolor. Do some research, they have the literature that clarifies how it works! I was skeptical since I had tried everything but I thought, why not? Two weeks people! My entire torso was covered. At first it looked irritated but I put it on at night before I went to bed, showered in the morning, and in two weeks my skin was almost completely normal! Give it a shot. Tinea is terrible.

  11. linda says:

    I have had this skin condition for abiut 10yrs but more recently it seems to be spreading. Ihave tried all the fungal creams but lamisil once seemed to do the trick on my arm. No white marks left behind. It is just a matter of insoecting my self every day which is a pain and seems quite vain. I have been told about surgical spirits and hydrogen peroxide which I am going to use ad a prevdntion. Anyone else done this. If so, what were the results like. Eager to learn more. I am mixed race and my white spots left behind are making me another colour.

  12. Deb says:

    I’ve been applying coconut oil twice a day and tea tree oil three times a day!

  13. Lex says:

    I’ve had tinea versicolor now for about seven years and have tried the shampoos and prescribed creams from the doctor to no prevail. I’m now taking lamisil tablets which are really expensive $80.00 for a course of 42 tablets so we shall see how this works out. My whole chest, shoulders, arms and back are covered and it’s even starting to go onto my neck. So over it. Im 25 and just want to be able to wear a bikini in summer! I am also a big smoker and eat a lot of sugary stuff when I get the munchies, so I may have to sacrifice the mj for a while and see if there is any difference.

  14. zista says:

    My little baby has this condition…And since he’s so tiny I cannot make him obey to anything… He’s 11 months has it since he was 6 months… It’s come on hos knees… I’m putting miconazol ointment and clotrimazol powder… It’s clearing up but im scared of it appearing again.we stay in India vvv humid conditions..And he sweats profusely…
    Any help will b really honoured.

  15. HK says:

    Nooooooo. really no smoking:( maybe that’s my results were turtle pace. I like natural too,just because, and found coconut oil helped me along with tea tree oil. got the idea from here:

    it took a while but it didn’t cost a lot compared to prescriptions but got rid of mine in like 5 months and so far i’m ok. well for now!

  16. HK says:

    Oh and thankx for information btw will recommend neem oil to a friend with same problem, it’s taking a long time to go away for him.

  17. Blondie says:

    I have had tinea versicolor on my scalp for about a year now i just recently found out what it was. My hair was falling out in clumps and i was panicking. My scalp looked like I had greasy dandruff and was extremely red and itchy . This condition can be also brought on my hormonal changes from what my doctor tells me. I only have it on my scalp and no where else on my body. I have found in conjunction with the anti fungal shampoo I was prescribed that using selsun blue daily and using paul mitchell tea tree conditioner that my hair has stopped falling out and my scalp is now looking healthy again. No matter how clean you are this is a skin condition that affects everyone. I shower twice a day and wash my hair every other day and got this condition in the middle of winter in the midwest.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    I live in muggy Alabama, and have been dealing with tinea versicolor for almost 20 years. I have been given anti-fungal pills from doctors which have worked some times, but not others. It always came back within a few weeks. I have used the selsun wash, which smells horribly, and takes a long time to work.

    Recently I bought Prosacea which is a rosacea treatment gel for flare ups on my face, and figured while I had it out, I would test a patch of the tinea that is consistently flared up under my bra line. I put it on at night before bed, and by the next morning, I could tell a difference. I have been applying it in the morning before dressing, and in the evening before bed. It is almost completely gone after only 3 days! The active ingredient is sulfur 1x, and it also contains aloe, which Steve had mentioned.

    I am also trying apple cider vinegar on another area, which seems to be working as well. It has not cleared quite as fast, but is still doing the job, and is much cheaper.

    I have been extremely excited to find some things that work quickly, and wanted to share it.

  19. chic says:

    My 4yr old had it and I used baking soda(bicarbonate of soda) on it, leave it on for a couple of minutes and then wash off. After which I applied aloe vera gel which I leave on till it dries. It works wonders.

  20. Dave R. says:

    Yeast/fungal infections of the skin are NOT treated with antibiotic or antibacterial soaps. A good dermatologist can differentiate between bacterial folliculitis (infection) and fungal folliculitis. Antibiotics and antibacterial soaps to treat bacterial infections will actually make fungal infections worse because removing the natural bacteria on the skin allows the fungus to spread even more.

    The most effective topical treatment in the U.S. is ketoconazole shampoo (brand name Nizoral) – either 1% non-prescription (at drugstores or Wal-Mart) or 2% prescription strength through a doctor and pharmacy. Wash ALL over with it using a bath brush and leave it on for 10 minutes (or longer) before washing it off with a light spray. You want some to stay on your skin. Don’t towel dry since it will remove the residual medication, but rather air dry your skin – use a hair dryer on low. 2% Ketoconazole cream is also available by prescription and can be spread lightly on the skin while your skin is still moist, after using the shampoo.

    This can me combined with oral anti-fungal medication (pills) such as itraconazole, which has few side effects. Oral ketoconazole pills have a strong FDA warning for risk of liver damage, so it is best avoided, but the topical shampoo and cream are fine.

    In Europe, other very effective topical shampoos for fungus that you can use all over your body contain the similar chemical climbazole in combination with another antifungal called piroctone olamine. These are sold as anti-dandruff shampoos. You have to be careful not to get climbazole shampoo in your eyes since it can cause serious irritation to the eyes.

  21. Dave R. says:

    Oh, and give up the freaking dope. It is BAD for your health; any doctor will tell you that. It damages your lungs, weakens your immune system (promoting the infection), and it eventually damages your brain. This has been documented in numerous medical journal articles for years.

    “Medical marijuana” is for people who are DYING or have CANCER, to stimulate the appetite and reduce pain, when other prescription meds have failed. “Recreational use” is utter nonsense and makes as much sense as recreational use of prescription pain medication.

    I’ve seen dope destroy people’s lives and jobs with long-term use. A stoner is just an alcoholic with a different drug. Don’t wreck your life.

  22. StanBell says:

    One major cause of fungal infection is dermatophytes, also known as tinea, in which it can cause a round, scaly rash thay may also have blisters. When dermatophytes infect the nails, the nails become thick, split, become dull, and may fall off. Tinea versicolor can also lead to scaly patches that vary in color. It also develops rash but it not usually itchy. Treatments are usually antifungal and corticosteroid and most importantly, good hygiene.

  23. kimbo says:

    Apple cider vinegar the Bragg kind taken 2tbsp with water every day and neem oil and the acv 1 cup in bath tub or applied before or with shower works best for me

  24. MB says:

    We live in tropical north of Australia and have to deal with fungal issues constantly.
    I use Tincture of Iodine, works a treat. Dab some on the affected area (in my case bra line and folds of skin on my back) for about a week and the tinea clears completely. It stains your skin but that disappears after a few hours.
    My husband had terrible tinea on his feet for months which wouldn’t clear with any of the expensive over the counter anti-fungal creams. After a week of Iodine applications once a day he’s cured – one very happy camper. He was very skeptical but not any longer.

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