Tinea Versicolor Vs Vitiligo: Know the Differences

Tinea Versicolor Vs Vitiligo

Tinea Versicolor Vs Vitiligo: Skin darkening is a common feature of both Vitiligo and Tinea Versicolor, although there are some important distinctions between the two conditions. The itchy, scaly patches of tinea versicolor, which are typically found on the chest, back, and shoulders, can be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. This condition is brought on by an overabundance of yeast. An autoimmune disease called vitiligo causes a person to permanently lose pigment, resulting in smooth, white patches that can develop anywhere but are most frequently on the elbows, hands, and face. Comprehending these differences is essential for accurate diagnosis and therapy, as antifungals can be used to treat Tinea Versicolor, whereas medicines or light therapy are needed to control Vitiligo.

blog banner blog banner

Difference Between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo

Tinea versicolor and vitiligo are both skin disorders, although they have distinct origins, symptoms, and treatments. Here are the differences between the two.


Tinea Versicolor



Fungal infection (Malassezia yeast overgrowth)

Autoimmune (immune system attacks melanocytes)


Lighter/darker patches with fine scales

Depigmented white patches or spots


Often on oily areas like chest, back, and arms

Can occur anywhere on the body


Mild itching, scaling

Often asymptomatic, but may cause itching/discomfort


May come and go, influenced by climate

Can spread over time


Visual examination, skin scrapings, Wood's lamp

Visual examination, sometimes skin biopsy


Antifungal medications (topical/oral)

Topical corticosteroids, phototherapy, surgery

Risk factors

Hot/humid climates, oily skin, immunosuppression

Family history, autoimmune diseases, environment


Not contagious

Not contagious


Responds well to treatment, may recur

Treatment may be challenging, and complete repigmentation is not always achievable

Browse Best Scrubs Collection

What is Tinea Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor, commonly known as pityriasis versicolor, is a fungal infection that creates discoloured patches of skin that are often lighter or darker than the surrounding areas. It often affects the chest, back, and upper arms, and can be irritating. Tinea versicolor is treated with antifungal lotions and shampoos.

Key Features of Tinea Versicolor:

  • Tinea versicolor causes spots of skin to appear lighter or darker than the surrounding areas. These patches might be pink, yellow, brown, tan, or white, and they can occur on the chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.
  • Rub the afflicted region gently to expose a fine, scaly texture, similar to rubbed-off bran flakes. This is a defining feature of tinea versicolor.
  • Tinea versicolor patches, unlike healthy skin, seldom tan or deepen when exposed to sunlight. This is especially evident during the summer.
  • While not always present, some people may notice moderate itching, particularly after sweating or taking a hot shower.

blog banner blog banner

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune illness that causes pigment loss in skin cells, resulting in white patches that can develop anywhere on the body, but are most prevalent on the face, hands, and around body openings. Vitiligo is incurable, however therapies can help control the illness and improve skin tone.

Key Features of Vitiligo:

  •  Vitiligo causes patches of skin to lose pigment, resulting in smooth, white patches that lack texture or scaling. These patches can appear anywhere on the body, but commonly affect areas exposed to the sun like the face, hands, arms, and feet.
  • Vitiligo patches may occur symmetrically on both sides of the body, forming a mirrored pattern. This is more prevalent in generalised vitiligo, which is the condition's most widespread type.
  • Hair on or near vitiligo spots may lose colour and turn white or grey. This is not always true, but it can help to make the disease more visible.
  • Unlike tinea versicolor, which is caused by a fungal infection, vitiligo has no definite single cause. It is thought to be an autoimmune illness in which the body's immune system incorrectly assaults pigment-producing cells.

Shop Best Lab Coats from Here!

Similarities Between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo

  • Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo Both disorders result in alterations in skin pigmentation.
  • They can afflict people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.
  • A visual examination by a healthcare practitioner is frequently used to diagnose both conditions.
  • Treatment for both seeks to alleviate symptoms and may include topical medicines or phototherapy.
  • Both illnesses can have psychological effects owing to changes in appearance, albeit this varies depending on the severity and visibility of the ailment.

While both Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo generate discoloured areas on the skin, they have very different causes and appear in quite different ways. Tinea Versicolor, a fungal infection, causes areas that can be brighter or darker than the surrounding skin and have a scaly appearance. It typically affects the chest, back, and arms. Vitiligo, an autoimmune illness, causes permanent pigment loss, resulting in smooth, lighter-than-normal areas on the face, hands, and elbows. Understanding the primary distinctions between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Check out More Articles
Difference Between Cartilage and Bone
Difference Between Endocrine and Exocrine Glands
Difference Between Cell Wall and Cell Membrane


What is the difference between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo?

Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection caused by yeast on the skin, resulting in patches that may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Vitiligo, on the other hand, is a condition where the skin loses its pigment cells, leading to white patches. While both conditions involve skin discoloration, Tinea Versicolor is caused by a fungal infection, whereas Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition.

Are there any similarities between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo?

Both Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo can cause patches of discoloration on the skin. These patches may vary in size and can appear anywhere on the body. Additionally, both conditions can affect individuals of any age or ethnicity.

What are the common features of Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo?

Both Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo are characterized by patches of skin that are lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. These patches may be more noticeable in individuals with lighter skin tones. Additionally, both conditions may cause psychological distress due to their impact on appearance.

How do I distinguish between Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo?

Tinea Versicolor patches often have a fine, scaly texture and may be more prominent in areas with higher humidity, such as the chest, back, and shoulders. In contrast, Vitiligo patches typically have well-defined borders and may spread over time. A dermatologist can provide a definitive diagnosis through a visual examination and, if necessary, skin tests.

Can Tinea Versicolor be treated with over-the-counter products?

Mild cases of Tinea Versicolor may respond to over-the-counter antifungal creams, lotions, or shampoos. However, more severe or persistent cases may require prescription-strength medications, such as oral antifungal agents or medicated shampoos.