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Tinea Versicolor Remedies

Last Modified on Feb 22, 2015

Home treatments for tinea versicolor can be effective in a matter of days or might take much longer. The fungus can be very stubborn. If a treatment is working, it’s important to stick with it as the infection will break out again if not completely cured.

What is Tinea (or Pityriasis) Versicolor?

Tinea versicolor is an out-of-control fungal skin infection, also known as pityriasis versicolor. It is not contagious. An acidic bleach produced by the yeast causes a rash with patches that are colored differently than the rest of the skin and do not tan. This skin infection can appear anywhere on the body, but normally appears on the chest, back, neck and arms. It appears on people who have oily skin, sweat frequently or who live in a hot, humid climate. It may be linked to a weak immune system.

Natural Remedies for Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is normally treated at home by applying an antifungal to the affected areas. Apple cider vinegar is an effective natural cure for many ailments, including tinea. Essential oils with anti-fungal properties are effective home treatments. For many years, grapefruit seed extract has been used to heal many differing infections.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a successful home remedy for many ailments. ACV applied topically to the tinea and also taken as a tonic with baking soda dramatically decreased the rash. Olive oil or aloe vera gel can be applied to soothe the skin between ACV applications. Aloe vera has many healing properties also.

Essential Oils

Lavender oil and tea tree oil (diluted with water) are effective home remedies for tinea. These natural remedies have been used for centuries to treat infections. Lavender oil is a powerful anti-fungal that will kill the fungus.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is a natural cure for fungus infections. It is applied to the rash 2-3 times a day. This natural cure also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Tinea versicolor can be treated effectively at home. Natural remedies with anti-fungal properties will kill the fungus causing the rash and discomfort. Tinea versicolor may disappear in cool weather only to reappear in the summer, so it is important to continue treatment until the rash is completely gone.

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Most Popular Tinea Versicolor Remedies:

Coconut Oil4
Castor Oil4

User Reviews

Aloe, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil   1  0   

Posted by Steve (Darwin, Nt) on 03/19/2013

[YEA]  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 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.

Replied by Cazza
Darwin, Nt

Honey is said to be able to treat Tinea Versicolor, manuka honey which has tea tree oil pollen as a14 day treatment, is too sticky for me though. I have tried everything, including oral ketoconzole, 400mg per day for 10 days. Then 400mg once a month. After 6 months I am just seeing a little improvement. Now also using listerine 2 times a day, soak a cotton swab and then wipe over. Virgin coconut oil has some natural acids and I also use once a day. This does appear to be minimizing the motley look on my neck area. OTC creams were useless, I tried them all over 20+ years:(

Anti-Fungal Powder   1  0   

Posted by Ray (Hammond , La) on 02/01/2014

[YEA]  I have tried everything to get rid of Tinea Versicolor, with no success, ive used selsun blue, zinc shampoo, sulphur shampoo and sulphur soap, tea tree oil soap, defense soap, benzyl peroxide acne medication, ivarest, you name it, ive used it and none of it worked. Including a bunch of stuff for dogs and horses lol (you get desperate after a while). This is what ive done and its almost gone now - course its winter time and we'll see if it still helps once it gets warmer. First, I sleep in a tshirt now, I bathe as regular and afterwards, dust the areas with lotramin antifungal powder I found on amazon. Usually everything will help to a small degree when first using it - but then after a week or two it starts getting hold and worse again. This time with the powder, it just keeps getting better and better every day, I have also binged with chocolate and cookies and waaalaaa, still getting rid of it using this powder it did not get worse. Before, a sugar binge would screw up any progress and have me starting all over again but this powder works!! No more putting shampoo or soap on - letting it dry for 30min and then washing it off or leaving it on all day or night. Just powder in the morn and before bed. Hope this helps, I've had this for 3yrs now on my neck, chest, and armpits. My armpits were almost black from it being so bad - now btw - they are almost back to regular skin color. The powder is cheap too - 17 bucks for a 3pk. Note- I'm not even through the first bottle and its almost gone. After spending hundreds on other junk, this is my pick, down here in Southern Louisiana its humid as all hell so I am happy to have found this.

Apple Cider Vinegar   0  0   

Posted by Lyn (Chicopee, Massachusetts) on 07/25/2010

[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS]  I started doing the acv and water. However since doing so the area where I have the tinea versicolor is now very itchy and tends to have a burning sensation, but the discoloration is gone. Can anyone give a clue as to what's going on. By the way, the acv is definitely helping with my sinuses!

Replied by Ahmad
Asheville, Nc

Hi Lyn! I've actually used ACV to get rid of a viral skin infection called Molluscum Contagiousum that was as HORRIBLE as the name sounds and literally NOTHING worked for, even medicines that cost $800.00 (believe it or not). I got it from sharing a towel and it was impossible to get rid of because there are very few things that aren't completely harmful to the body that will also kill viruses. Luckily, Tinea Versicolor is a fungus and much easier to kill or at least treat. For the virus, I had to apply ACV soaked cloths to my body over night once at the beginning of the week and once at the end of the week. In addition, I took ACV pills that you can find at any health food store (Whole Foods, Green Life, etc.) and/or drank a tablespoon of it everyday.THIS IS A VERY DRASTIC MEASURE THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED UNLESS NOTHING ELSE WORKS (for Tinea especially).

An explanation of why and the actual answer to your question are below. THE ANSWER : The reason that the treatment I did (described above) should be avoided for something like Tinea is because directly treating your skin with ACV is the equivalent of chemically burning yourself (Freezing off a wart, etc.), especially for the length of time that I did it for. Because it is a vinegar, it is very acidic (the acidity content can usually be found on the bottles) and it is more likely than not diluted in bottle to achieve that acidity level. The extent to which your skin may burn from this really depends on how resilient or tuff your skin is. I have pretty resilient skin, so the ACV didn't burn me as badly as it could have, but I have heard horror stories about people who tried the same treatment for the virus I had and ended up having to seek medical attention.

So, perhaps you can try diluting the ACV further with some water or maybe applying it for less time. You could also try taking ACV pills everyday or drinking a table spoon or two in the morning (I would mix it with apple or orange juice if I didn't feel like taking a shot of it). I took 2 every morning and once again later in the day (more than was directed, but I was desperate and, hey, it's ACV, so it couldn't be as bad as loading my body with chemicals). It may be my mentality, but when the ACV was burning I knew that it was working, so perhaps a little discomfort is normal and even desirable. Still, there are other methods you can try before trying ACV and if it's burning your skin badly enough, it would obviously be good to stop.

My Final Argument for ACV : All of this being said, and as tough as my skin is, I've had bad luck all my life with skin problems. While taking ACV for the virus and continuing the regimen well after the visible infection disappeared, I noticed a SIGNIFICANT improvement on my skin of all other ailments. Acne COMPLETELY disappeared and I rarely got pimples anymore. I got Scabies (bed bugs) from my roommate in college and it even helped for that! And those are just the visible benefits. Anyway, I'm just letting you know all of this because I understand what it feels like to be desperate for something to work and was SHOCKED and SO relieved when I finally tried ACV. Good luck with your Tinea!!!

Replied by Laurie
Fort Valley, Ga

I enjoyed reading your article. I have had Pityriasis Versicolor for a couple of years. My daughter had it as a child but I did not know I was the one she got it from... But long story. I use ACV to clean counters, the fridge really any surface. I retired a little over a year ago and could not walk much at all had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and bad circulation. I started taking ACV capsules and everything is good. I ran out about 7 days ago. (order lost in mail thing) well now that I got it back in my system I will see if this makes my Pityriasis better. Because I feel that having that in my system is why everything has improved.

Posted by John (Phoenixville, Pa, Usa) on 12/23/2009

I have suffered from Tinea Versicolor for several years now. The selenium shampoo the doctor prescribed worked at first, but over time it was less effective. My routine now includes Apple Cider Vinegar applied with a cotton pad at bed time, followed by a lathering of coconut oil. In the morning I only have time to apply a moisurizing lotion after my shower. (The tinea versicolor dries out the skin.) After reading elsewhere on this site I may try a topical application of coloidal silver.

EC: Hi John, is the apple cider vinegar helping? Thanks.

Replied by John
Phoenixville, Pa, Usa

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   My combination of treatments helps, but does not cure. One thing I've added to my regime is castille soap when I shower. I think it helps. I am also contemplating oil pulling.
Replied by Spots
Honolulu, Hawaii

I apply the ACV at the beginning of every shower. Then scrub with Dr. B's 18-in-one oil soap. After showering, I apply at least a tablespoon of CO onto my skin. So far, it has been two weeks and the results are good. The tinea versicolor is starting to fade. Hasn't completely disappeared. Patience is key. As well as less sun exposure. Thanks for sharing your solution. Good luck to next readers!!
Replied by Ceci
Anchorage, Ak

I've had the visual spots for about two months now, went to the doctors and he says I have tinia versicolor. He perscribed a medication for me to apply on the area but decided to treat the three sections of spots with three different items. One section with the prescribed medication, the other with apple cider vinegar, and the third with smoething the health food store recommended which is a neem leaf salve. I have researched a bit on each of these and there is a large positive review on the neem salve. I hope something will work and when I do I will post again. I keep reading people that get this come from a warm, tropical area but I live in ALASKA so I don't think I agree with that. Also, usually folks that get this are young adults but I am way past my 50's. Go figure! Patiently waiting to see what happens.
Replied by Lisa

Hi I too am from Alaska and seem to have this condition - Went to Anchorage Dermatology treated very poorly by the doctor - I insisted on biopsy as what is on my face presents almost like a cold sore (at times I thought they were staph) and they take weeks to heal. Diagnosis was "itchy skin rash" - I applied anti-fungal foot otc meds on them and for the first time and within 3 days they started to die off so I at least know it's fungal. I have the white spots on my neck and upper back. I know mine is a result of a very low immune system - it's been a very hard year to say the least - I've got severe internal candida also - Hard to try and fight all this off when you have no energy. I had this on my face so bad it look like I had gotten into a car wreck - I did find that Alli-C garlic does help keep it at bay and when I ran out it came back and has been horrendous.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda, Vitamin C   1  0   

Posted by Maggie (Dayton, Oh) on 12/07/2009

[YEA]  Cold apple cider vinegar applied to affected area with a cotton ball dramatically decreased the rash and redness that come with tinea versicolor. I think this has something to do with the properties of the acv balancing out the yeast/fungus on the skin. It also helps to orally take 2tbsp. acv with 1/4 tsp baking soda with 8 oz. distilled water 5 days, then break for 2 days. Vitamin C along with the regimn helps with the supposed loss of this vitamin by the sodium bicarbonate. Hope this helps others with this funk, it worked for me, but we all know...things effect people in different ways, so Good luck!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil   1  0   

Posted by L.C.l. (Pa) on 12/30/2014

[YEA]  Tinea Versicolor: I decided to try applying coconut oil topically and also to drink a daily dose of ACV 2x a day *2 Tbsp mixed with 8 oz of water* a week my TV was totally gone!! The spots were on my neck and back mostly and they were pretty obvious....looked like hives or something and it made me feel very self-conscious. In 4 days, there was a significant difference, the spots had already begun to fade... now a week later, they are impossible to see! I am so glad I didnt have to go to the dermatologist for medication--the natural treatment worked for me.

Baking Soda   1  0   

Posted by Caroler (Kilgore, Texas) on 12/19/2011

[YEA]  Baking soda is a great remedy for tinea versicolor if you apply it transdermally. Dissolve it in hot water, soak a cotton cloth and apply in to the skin for at least 15 minutes on each area, keeping it warm. I devised this remedy after reading that baking soda is effective against skin cancer, which also loves acid.

Borax   0  0   

Posted by Wydo (Ventura, Ca, United States) on 05/10/2011

Put a few grains of borax in the palm of your hand then ad a small amout of hand cream or other type of cream with water as one of the ingrediants. Then mix the two together and apply to the infected area. You will also need to treat the fungus inside of you as well. See candida under ailments here at EC.

Castor Oil   4  0   

Posted by Brian (Central, Nj) on 07/07/2014

[YEA]  My wife has been dealing with Tinea Versicolor for many years and had tried just about every product and home remedy out there. Unfortunately it continued to get worse, particularly during and after her recent pregnancy.

I had been to Earth Clinic previously but always pasted over castor oil and focused on other remedies instead (none of which worked for her). So this time we decided to try castor oil and after 5 straight days of external application, her Tinea Verisocolor is gone. We were shocked to see how effective this stuff was and I can't even see traces of where it was on her body. I highly recommend this for anyone struggling with this condition!

For reference, we use the brand sold at Whole Foods, which appears to be pure, unrefined castor oil for skin care.

Replied by Kev
Newcastle Uopn Tyne, UK

Many thanks for the post. My wife has Tinea Versicolor and suffers badly. Can you please tell me how you applied it. Many thanks kev
Replied by Josh

[YEA]   After reading your review, I bought a bottle of castor oil and started applying externally like you have stated. 4 nights of application and my Tinea Versicolor was gone. Thank you Brian. :)
Replied by Nikky

[YEA]   This is day 2 of my trial on Caster Oil. I rub my whole body in and leave it on overnight. No results yet but I would like to know if it is the correct way of putting it on?
Replied by Nikky

This is day 2 of my trial on Caster Oil. I rub my whole body in and leave it on overnight. No results yet but I would like to know if it is the correct way of putting it on?
Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Nikky,

That is what I would be doing if it were me, assuming the tinea is all over your body. Otherwise, I would put it only on the affected areas.

Castor oil can detoxify the body. If you notice any unusual symptoms, work on smaller areas at a time.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Ravencurls (Deerfield Beach, Fl) on 07/09/2013

[YEA]  About 2 weeks ago I learned that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is antibacterial and antifungal. I put a few ounces of a very good brand of organic, raw, unfiltered ACV undiluted into a small bottle and added a few drops of lavender oil to improve the fragrance. For about 2 weeks, about 2-3 times a day, I used a cotton disk to swab the affected areas with the ACV/lavender solution. I also kept my back as clean and dry as possible, and changed my sheets more often. The splotches started fading. But if the hot Florida sun made me perspire for a while, the splotches came back in full color again.

Coincidentally, over the last week I had been studying everything I could about castor oil packs and castor oil rubs. I got a bottle of cold-pressed, cold-processed castor oil from Whole Foods. One health practitioner on Youtube recommended doing a castor oil rub anywhere the body seems to be in need of support.He also said in another video that skin-fungal infections stem from gut problems. "As the root to the rose, so the bowel to the skin, " he said.

For the past 3 nights, I've massaged the castor oil all over my back, as well as in the front over my liver-spleen-gut area and slept in cotton pajamas. And each morning I was amazed that the splotches had faded significantly.

By Day 3, the splotches are almost completely gone! There are faint ghosts of a few of them, but I think that with one or two more nights of castor oil treatment, they will be completely gone! I can soon start wearing low-backed dresses and swimsuits again!

Replied by Ravencurls
Deerfield Beach, Fl

I didn't realize I hadn't completed the story. In exactly one week, I completely cured my Tinea Versicolor with castor oil. I had reported above after my 3 days that the condition was almost completely gone. On the 4th day, following the advice of Dr. Majid Ali on Youtube (about skin fungus, etc. ), I finished the first cycle by applying sesame oil to my back before bed. Then I did another cycle of 3 nights' application of castor oil and 1 of sesame oil. Before the cycle was complete, I could not see a trace of the TV!

With no further treatments, my back remained completely clear for a month. But this week I see small, faint splotches appearing in a small area. I suspect it could be because I had stopped taking my probiotic (seeing if fermented foods would be enough).

Skin problems come from gut problems according to Dr. Ali. With the castor oil I had cured the symptoms. With improved diet, probiotics and fermented foods I had cured the cause. When I am less vigilant about my gut health, especially with the August heat and perspiring, my skin symptoms are starting to return. But I know what to do!

BTW, I don't know whether keeping the body in an alkaline state helps. For a few months before my TV had completely disappeared I had been taking fresh lemon with cayene in warm water every morning 30 min before breakfast, and a "cocktail" of 1Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a big wine glass of water 30 min before dinner. Because organic lemons aren't available here now and I ran out of B.... 's ACV, I had slacked off on that habit a week ago. I wonder if that too contributes to TV's return.

Coconut Oil   4  0   

Posted by Jennamarie (Florida) on 02/13/2014

[YEA]  Being from Florida (a quite humid environment) I've personally been dealing on and off with tinea versicolor on my arms for the past 5 years. These appeared on my arms as small, white, circular spots with a dry/bumpy texture, and somewhat itchy. About 3 years ago it became so bad that I was too embarrassed to expose my arms, and eventually made an appointment for the dermatologist (this was after trying the age-old selenium sulfide treatment).

Long story short, the dermatologist diagnosed me with a slight case of keratosis pilaris and prescribed me a topical ointment to try to get rid of it. Unfortunately this treatment didn't work at all, and I eventually just waited it out and it went away.

Since then, I've gotten many cases of what I now now is tinea versicolor, always off and on, and always at the worst times! Just recently I was in the market for a certain type of oil for another reason and began reading about coconut oil and its many benefits. As I read about its anti-fungal, anti-Candida, and anti-bacterial qualities I was thrilled (as I also suffer from occasional bacterial/yeast/candida infections) because I am aware of the fungal nature of tinea versicolor. This discovery also occurred coincidentally during one of my worst tinea v. outbreaks ever.

I decided to purchase some liquid coconut oil and apply it topically on my arms to see if it would live up to its properties/claims, and WOW I'm simply amazed. After only 3 days of use, the spots almost completely vanished (even more so than their normal-state very faint appearance). How the dermatologist missed this one is beyond me, and I'm always thrilled to find a natural remedy for my ailments. Coconut oil for tinea versicolor is a godsend!!!

Posted by Nita (Somerset, Ky) on 11/02/2009

[YEA]  My daughter also has this condition and her doctor said it is tinea versicolor-a skin fungus. If the hair growing in the white patches still has color then the pigment isn't gone. We rub virgin coconut oil on the white patches and are now seeing normal skin color returning! Hope this helps.

EC: This post was copied from the vitiligo page here:

Replied by Megan
Springfield, Mo

[YEA]   Coconut oil is the ONLY thing that has helped my tinea versicolor. I only been using a week and 90% of my affected spots has returned to normal. I still apply every night very generously.
Replied by Kevin
San Diego, Ca

[YEA]   Coconut Oil was the only thing that worked successfully for me. Selenium Sulfide worked occasionally.

Coconut Oil and Patchouli Essential Oil   1  0   

Posted by Shan (Md) on 02/22/2015

[YEA]  My Tinea Versicolor went away after I did this:

I made a lotion out of coconut oil and patchouli essential oil. I'm not sure if its the coconut oil or the patchouli but it went away after about week. I had it so bad for years...I only use it once a day, after I get out of the shower. I do notice that if I dont use it for a couple days I will start to get itchy again. And it smells a lot better than using ACV!

Colloidal Silver   1  0   

Posted by Arnold (Germany) on 05/09/2013

[WORKED TEMPORARILY]  I tried colloidal silver water for tinea versicolor, it helps, but as soon you you forget it is back again intense. :(

Posted by Ailis (New York) on 03/31/2013

[YEA]  My doctor prescribed a cream for Tinea Veriscolor that my insurance would not cover. It would have been $70 for me to fill it, so I said "No way!" Instead, I picked up a $7 tube of C----d Silver [contains Silver Chloride 55ppm, Antimicrobial]. I suppose any colloid silver solution would do. Result? In 3 weeks I was completely cured.

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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