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What Causes An-an: What You Need to Know About Tinea Versicolor

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Kip Soliva · Updated Nov 23, 2023

What Causes An-an: What You Need to Know About Tinea Versicolor

What causes an-an?

Tinea versicolor, or “an-an”, is a common fungal skin infection that affects the pigmentation of your skin. It is also known as pityriasis versicolor. Tinea versicolor appears as small, discolored patches of skin. The color of these patches may either be lighter or darker compared to the surrounding skin. An-an is more prevalent in patches of skin located around the trunk and the shoulders. But what causes an-an?

Tinea versicolor or an-an cases are more frequent in teens and young adults. The visibility of tinea versicolor may be affected by the presence or absence of sunlight.

While an-an is not known to be a very dangerous condition, the look of it may bother people who have it.

An-an may be treated by antifungal creams, shampoo and lotion. However, one must take note that even after treatment has been applied, it may take weeks or even months for the skin color to return to normal.

Symptoms of an-an

What are the symptoms of an-an?

  • Development of discolored skin patches that are usually found on the chest, back, shoulders, and in the neck and upper arms.
    • The skin patches you may find are usually seen as brownish or with a yellow tint, and at times, pink or red.
    • These patches of skin are usually either darker or lighter than the skin surrounding it.
    • While the affected patches of skin minimally change color after exposure to the sun, they are undeniably more noticeable when a person gets a tan.
    • The affected areas of skin may also turn scaly.
    • Some rare cases of patients experience mild itching as well

    What causes an-an

    Tinea versicolor or pityriasis versicolor is a superficial fungal infection.  It is caused by yeasts in the genus Malassezia (formerly known as Pityrosporum). Currently, there is no clear explanation as to why and how the fungus grows in human skin. Problems only tend to begin when a fungus overgrowth develops.

    A series of factors can trigger the development of tinea versicolor. These are:

    • Warm, humid, or hot climate and weather
    • Having naturally oily skin or having oily skin by way of oils or cosmetics
    • Being naturally sweaty
    • Undergoing hormonal changes
    • Having a weakened immune system

    A person’s hygiene has no correlation to an-an, nor has it been observed as contagious in any way or form.

    When to see a doctor

    Consult with a dermatologist on how best to treat an-an. Doctors may recommend skin or oral treatments such as selenium sulfide, itraconazole, fluconazole, ketoconazole, and others.

    Speak to your doctor if the condition worsens or returns after treatment. Similarly consult with a professional when your skin does not improve when you apply self-care measures, or when the skin patches brought about by tinea versicolor begin to cover larger areas of your body.

    Key takeaway

    An-an is caused by fungal overgrowth. Its growth may be affected by humid environments, or other factors related to your hormones or immune system. Although harmless, people with an-an may take skin or oral treatments to help manage the symptoms.

    Learn about Other Skin Diseases here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Kip Soliva · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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