What is “White Spot”?
“White spot” is a
superficial fungal infection of the skin. The medical term is Pityriasis versicolor
or Tinea versicolor.
It usually affects
adults and causes an itchy, scaly rash that appears as white, pink or brown patches
on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and limbs. The condition is often
aggravated by excessive sweating.
Hypopigmented tinea versicolor
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a common
term for superficial fungal infection of the skin which appears as scaly, red, rounded
patches with a tendency to form rings. It is known as tinea corporis when it
affects the body, and tinea cruris when it affects the groin. Tinea capitis, or
ringworm of the scalp, affects mainly children and can cause hair loss.
However, this condition is relatively uncommon in Singapore. Healing may result
in pigmentation of the skin.
What is Malassezia
is an inflammatory skin disorder that is triggered by yeast known as Malassezia,
which occurs naturally on skin.
resembles acne because it is characterised by clusters of raised, red bumps of
various sizes that look very much like pimples. Malassezia folliculitis bumps
tend to itch and are uniform in size. The skin surrounding the bumps tends to
have a diffuse redness that’s not typically seen with acne.
can be diagnosed by a fungal scrape, and thereafter treated with topical or
oral antifungal agents.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
This is known as tinea
pedis and is one of the most common fungal infections of the skin. The skin on
the soles and toewebs becomes very scaly and peels. It is itchy and
occasionally small blisters may appear. The infection can also affect the toenails.
What is Moniliasis /
This is a yeast
infection that often affects moist areas like the skin folds, armpits and
groins. It also occurs commonly on the genitalia and can cause a vaginal
discharge in women. It is more common in people with diabetes mellitus, and
appears as itchy red spots or patches.
How to prevent
superficial fungal infections:
1. Fungi grow where the
skin is warm and sweaty. Keep the space between your toes, the skin folds in the
groin area and the armpits dry to prevent such fungal infection. The use of powder
2. Do not walk around
bare-footed in areas where the floor is wet – (e.g. common showers, gyms, public
toilets, swimming pools) as fungi can be present. Wear slippers.
3. Avoid sharing
personal napkins, towels, combs and hair brushes as they may be infected. Make
sure you use your own personal items because these fungal infections are easily
4. Nylon socks and
covered shoes make your feet sweat. Wear cotton socks to absorb the sweat, or open-toe
sandals if your feet sweat profusely. Always change your socks daily.
5. Avoid wearing damp
shoes. Try to alternate between two pairs of shoes.
How to treat
superficial fungal infections:
1. Apply anti-fungal
cream on the affected areas 2-3 times a day for 4 weeks.
2. Do not stop using
the medication even when the rash has cleared. Continue using it for at least 7
days after the infection appears to be cleared. In the case of white spots, the
white colour remains even after the infection has been successfully treated.
However, this will gradually improve over time as the skin regains its normal
3. Oral anti-fungal
medication are needed for fungal infections affecting large areas. Your doctor
may prescribe them.
4. For prevention of
white spots, use an antifungal shampoo once a month; on your scalp and body, leave
it on for 10 minutes before washing it off. In the event of an infection, use
this daily for 7 to 14 days consecutively.
5. Seek medical
attention if the condition does not improve. Do not attempt to further
6. Fungal nail
infection can be treated but often requires prolonged treatment. It is
important to realise that eradication of the fungi does not guarantee that the
nails return to a normal appearance.
DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE IN DERMATOLOGY
By National Skin Centre (Singapore)
Copyright (C) 1995 - National Skin Centre (Singapore)