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Tuesday 01 March 2005

Pityriasis versicolor alba.

By: Thoma W, Kramer HJ, Mayser P.

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2005 Mar;19(2):147-52

Pityriasis versicolor alba is a hypopigmented or depigmented variant of pityriasis versicolor characterized by maculous, partly pityriasiform, scaly depigmented lesions occurring particularly in seborrhoeic areas. Long-persisting hypopigmentation after healing of the pityriasis versicolor was first described by Gudden in 1853. Hypopigmentation and depigmentation were later differentiated as an independent variant of the disease. In 1848, Eichstedt recognized the pathogen-related character of pityriasis versicolor in its hyperpigmented form. Today it is generally accepted that the disease is caused by yeasts of the genus Malassezia, of which nine species are differentiated. It is controversial whether a single species is responsible for the disease. The pathogenesis of depigmentation has not been established. A screening effect by the scale layer as well as toxic effects on pigment synthesis by fungal metabolites have been discussed. With regard to the second mechanism, the newly discovered tryptophan-derived metabolites of M. furfur might be significant. Evidence-based data concerning the therapy of pityriasis versicolor alba do not exist. According to current recommendations, pityriasis versicolor should be rapidly treated with antimycotics, followed by ultraviolet therapy to induce maturation of existent melanosomes and accelerate repigmentation. However, depigmented lesions are difficult to improve by ultraviolet therapy.

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