Home Remedies for White Patches and Skin Spots (Tinea Versicolor)

Updated on March 17, 2019
Susan Hambidge profile image

Susan prefers to use natural ingredients whenever possible in the home and garden. It is usually cheaper, easier and greener.

Pale patches on the chest caused by tinea versicolor.
Pale patches on the chest caused by tinea versicolor. | Source

Natural Remedies for Tinea Versicolor

Selsun Blue
Tea Tree Oil
Natural remedies that can be used to reduce hyper or hypopigmentation due to Malassezia globosa overgrowth.

What Are These White Patches on My Skin?

If you have white or brown patches on your back, shoulders, neck or upper arms, you might have pityriasis versicolor, also known as tinea versicolor. These small imperfections can be itchy and may be slightly raised, bumpy or flaky. These spots cannot tan like the rest of your body and are sometimes called sunspots.

Tinea versicolor is caused by the fungus, Malassezia globosa. Malassezia globosa is in the same family of yeasts that cause dandruff. People in their teens or early twenties are typically affected by this condition. The yeasts multiply for unknown reasons and cause either hyperpigmentation (an increase in colour) or hypopigmentation (a loss of colour).

Tinea versicolor is not painful, but it can be annoying. If left untreated, the patches can get bigger and even join together. People are often embarrassed by the change in skin tone.

Men and women who tan frequently notice this condition more because their colour will be uneven. Some people think that you can catch this condition from a tanning bed, but in actuality, tanning beds simply make the appearance of tinea versicolor more pronounced.

If your tinea versicolor is diagnosed by a licensed medical professional, here are some home remedies you can try.

Home Remedies for Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor can be easily treated at home. There are prescriptions available, but you can effectively use inexpensive and easy-to-find remedies.

Dandruff Shampoo

Using a dandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide to reduce the fungus is straightforward and easy. These shampoos are available in the UK and USA in regular pharmacies and drug stores. Selsun Blue, known simply as Selsun in the UK, is a common product that contains selenium sulfide.

  1. Rub the undiluted shampoo onto dry, affected skin as you would a lotion.
  2. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then shower. (Selenium sulfide might sting sensitive skin, so try diluting it if this happens to you.)
  3. Wash your hair with Selsun Blue according to the instructions to get rid of the yeast on your scalp.

It will generally take a week or two before symptoms disappear.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural oil from Australia that is both antifungal and antibacterial. Using tea tree oil to get rid of discoloured patches on your back, upper arms and shoulders is fairly straightforward.

  1. Mix a small amount of virgin olive oil or coconut oil with five drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Massage it into the skin.
  3. Retreat the area if you are susceptible to this condition.

After a week or two, the yeast will be greatly reduced and your skin will normalize.

Tea Tree Oil to Treat Sun Spots

Tea Tree Essential Oil (Huge 4oz Bottle) Bulk Tea Tree Oil - 4 Ounce
Tea Tree Essential Oil (Huge 4oz Bottle) Bulk Tea Tree Oil - 4 Ounce
These tiny bottles are handy for treating and curing a huge range of ailments. I have a bottle with me at all times. It gets rid of jock itch, athlete's foot, skin spots, mosquitos bites and clears infected cuts and sores.


Garlic is an excellent, natural antifungal agent if you don't mind the smell. You must use fresh, raw garlic for this to be effective. Garlic is easy to get a hold of and is cheap to buy. Peel and crush a couple of garlic cloves and apply it to the skin to get rid of the tinea versicolor yeast.


Yogurt can also help cure most yeast overgrowths. Simply apply yogurt to dry skin and leave it on for as long as possible. Allow this treatment to sit overnight before rinsing it away if tolerable.

You can combine both garlic and yogurt as a treatment for tinea versicolor or use each remedy individually.

Natural remedies can resolve skin patches within a week or two.
Natural remedies can resolve skin patches within a week or two. | Source

Vitiligo Can Be Mistaken for Tinea Versicolor

There are other conditions that cause a similar lack of pigmentation. These conditions, however, cannot be treated using antifungals. Vitiligo, for example, which presents similarly to tinea versicolor, is not a fungus. It tends to occur on the hands, face and elbows, and the skin is often very pale in colour. It cannot be treated using these home remedies, unfortunately.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2015 Susan Hambidge


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      3 years ago from Kent, England

      I'm sorry to hear this Kris, however if meds help you then there is some relief for you. My daughter suffers from this but the Selsun works well for her, she just dislikes the smell so only applies it when it gets bad or she wants to look good for a particular occasion. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Several generations of my family have this. OTC's do not work for us. We have to use oral meds from dermatologist. The fungus makes the skin irritated also. Not pleasant. Starts at young age. Crazy stuff.

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      3 years ago from Kent, England

      Hi Darien, Thanks for reading. It is common for people to think it is the sun or tanning beds, and I guess it could be that for some, but the Selsun usually works after a few applications if it is in fact the yeast. I am fascinated by the number of things over-active yeast can do to different people, it seems a strange thing our bodies do to themselves!!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I always thought it was literally caused by the sun! I've had them on my back and shoulders all through out middle school and high school and since I live in Florida and am outdoors often, I just put two and two together. It went away for a couple months recently so I thought but came back after a weekend on the water. Definite to trying the selsun blue! Thanks

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      4 years ago from Kent, England

      Thank your Flourish. I first became aware of it when tanning on bed (I go at the beginning of summer to get a base tan in a controlled way to prevent burning outside). Many tanners blame the tanning beds themselves because they only see it when they get darker, but it is a good ole natural fungus!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I've never heard of this but have seen photos. Didn't know of the fungal connection. Thanks for the information. You never know when it will come in handy. I'm a fan a tea tree oil.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      Thanks for the extra info, Susan.

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      4 years ago from Kent, England

      Thanks Ann, I love tea tree oil - it helps with so many things on humans and animals, and once you have a bottle you can try it without it costing anything (as long as you aren't sensitive to it! - but you can dilute it in aloe vera, coconut oil, E45 cream or olive oil as you wish).

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      Interesting. I have some dark patches which are dry and sometimes scratch away so I'll try the tea tree oil and see what happens. Thanks.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)