The following is what I did to get rid of tinea versicolor using readily available over the counter products. In the past, I used stronger, prescription medications, but my tinea always returned after a few months and it never really resolved the rash. Using this approach, I was able to treat my tinea and remove the unsightly rashes. I think it is important to mention, that in almost all cases, tinea with return if you do not stay on top of it. There is no cure, but you can learn to treat it and keep it under control.
The following list of items contains about 3 months of treatment, enough to get you through the first two phases (active treatment phase and step down phase). All these items are available on Amazon.com. Total approximate cost is around $200 for 3 months of treatment which should resolve your tinea versicolor. You may be able to find cheaper multivitamins, biotin, and probiotics on Amazon, but I trust the ones below because of the reputation and purity of the products as well as they are what I use.
(4) Nizoral A-D Anti-dandruff shampoo -7 ounce (you will need 2 for phase one, 2 for phase two)
(2) 12 oz - Arm and Hammer Pure Baking Soda (this on comes in a handy waterproof container which you can keep in your shower)
Description: During the active treatment phase, your tinea versicolor is fully active. The purpose of this phase is to attack and kill as much of the tinea fungus as we can by using over the counter, anti-fungal products, along with a few dietary supplements (such as probiotics and vitamins).
For more information on using probiotics and vitamins and their role in treating tinea versicolor, please check out of my article, Dietary Supplements and Tinea Versicolor.
My experience: As you can see from the following photo, significant fading occurred in just 10 days of active treatment. (I wish I had better pictures. I took these before any thought of creating a website).
Full removal of my rash took around 3-4 months (end of Phase 2)
For more information on tinea versicolor rashes and how tinea impacts the skin, please check out my article, Does Tinea Versicolor Damage My Skin?
Preparation: Before starting your routine, please make sure you have all required items on hand. This is a short, but critical phase and you want to make sure that you maximize your chances of success.
You will need a few bath towels that have been washed and sanitized. You will need two per day during this phase so plan accordingly.
Make sure you sanitize your clothing as well, by adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to your laundry's rinse cycle for colored clothing, or a small amount of bleach to your whites only. About 1/4- 1/2 cup of bleach will suffice. Having this done ahead of time, helps reduce the amount of fungus that gets carried around on your clothes and you will want clean sanitized towels and clothing to use after you shower.
Description: During the step down phase, we have attacked and killed as much of the tinea fungus as we could. Assuming we have been consistent with phase one, the majority of the tinea fungus has been removed. During the next 90 day we will continue to hit it but less frequently to prevent its return.
Our primary focus, however, will be healing the skin and helping the skin pigment return to normal in the areas affected by the yeast.
To do this, I focused on keeping the yeast/fungus levels under control AND working on restoring my gut health and healthy eating habits.
I hate the term, tinea versicolor diet, because I believe the word 'diet' has an inherently connotation in that (a) most diets fail in the long term and (b) I do not believe in restriction, but rather choosing healthier choices.
What I have found through my research and experience is that certain foods (like grains, alcohol, heavily processed foods, sweets, etc) can cause rashes to flare-up or encourage them to become more noticeable by turning bright red. I believe certain foods can be triggers, but more often than not, the flare ups are a result of poor digestive health in general. If we can fix and restore the healthy bacteria in our digestive track, we can properly digest these foods and eventually east these foods without triggering our tinea because when the food is broken down properly it is not passed or 'leaked' through the gut in a state that caused inflammation and weakens our immune system all which benefits the growth of yeast. The more I studied the digestive system, the more I felt the need to add probiotics, Biotin(B7) and a multi-vitamin to my routine to get rid of and keep my tinea versicolor away. I feel the best long term preventative maintenance routine comes from within our own natural ability for our body to heal, and not from what we put on our skin.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we make poor food choices, such as processed foods, or foods too high in carbohydrates and/or preservatives and as a result, the beneficial bacteria in our gut gets destroyed over time. The use of antibiotics when we are sick also kills the beneficial bacteria (as well as the bad) and further weakens our immune system. That is not to say, do not use them as I believe they are necessary in some cases, but if you do use them, get back to restoring the beneficial bacteria as soon as possible, using probiotics or foods that help promote good gut health. Otherwise, poor diet can lead to a whole wide range of problems, many worse than tinea versicolor itself.
So, is there such a thing as a diet for tinea versicolor? Maybe, or maybe it is just making healthier food choices in general.
My experience: Removal of my rash took around 3-4 months. One or two very small spots took an additional month or two to resolve but it was mostly gone at the 3-4 month point.
Description: During the maintenance phase, we step down our treatment considerable and just exercise caution by monitoring it for its return.
Our primary focus is preventative and continuing with good nutrition and hygiene practices. In hot and humid conditions, we minimize wearing wet or damp clothing and we continue our shower routine, but only one day for applying our anti-fungal shampoo and baking soda.
My experience: My rash has stayed away since entering the maintenance phase (with one exception). While on a 2 week vacation to Florida where it was hot and humid and I let my maintenance phase go by the wayside. Upon returning, I saw two real small spots that appeared to pop up on my lower back (which for me is my biggest trouble spot). I resumed Phase One for a week, followed by Phase Two again and they cleared right up. As long as I stick to the maintenance plan though, I have been rash free. I have been rash free for over a year now and counting.