Tinea versicolor affects the upper body -- usually the chest and back, but sometimes the neck and upper arms. You'll notice that most of the fungal types covered here will use the word "tinea" because this refers to dermatophytes. Although there are many species of fungi that fall under the category of dermatophytes, a single species can affect different parts of the body and cause different skin reactions.
Tinea versicolor is particularly marked by a discoloration of the skin. This is because it causes small spots on the skin that form into patches. These patches can make the skin either lighter or darker, and they can appear white, brown, tan or pink. You can't tan these patches away because the fungus prevents them from tanning with the rest of your skin [source: Mayo Clinic].
This kind of fungus latches on to oily parts of the upper body and can make the skin flake and itch. If over-the-counter anti-fungal lotions don't work, go to the doctor. Treatment may include prescription-strength anti-fungal lotion or cream, or the doctor may even prescribe taking pills with one of the following ingredients: ketoconazole, itraconazole or fluconazole.
But don't expect a miracle overnight cure. It may take quite some time -- weeks or months -- for tinea versicolor to clear up completely.
Next, we'll talk about a non-tinea type of skin fungus.