Q. Can pityriasis versicolor be treated with over-the-counter medications?

Answered by
Dr. Dilip Kumar Meena
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 14, 2022

Hello doctor,

I am a 20-year-old female. My height is 5’6, and I weigh 220.2 lbs. I currently do not take any medication but vitamins. I have had noticeable spots on my inner elbow for the past three months, and I am unsure what caused them. It scares me because I am not sure if it is a serious medical condition. I am not in any pain, but I still would like to know if it is something I can bypass or get treated with OTC medications. Kindly help.



Welcome to

I can understand your concern. This condition is known as Pityriasis Versicolor, a form of superficial fungal skin infection. The color of the lesions can be dark or hyperpigmented, light or hypopigmented, red or erythematous. It can worsen in summers and with sweating. These are usually asymptomatic, and one can see fine white powdery scales rubbing the surface with a finger. You can take the following treatment:

1. Capsule Itraconazole 200 mg once a day for one week.

2. Nizoral (Ketoconazole) 2 % shampoo applied at the time of bath on lesions, leave for 5 minutes, and then wash it off. Do it daily for one week and then twice per week for the next six weeks.

3. Apply Clotrimazole cream twice a day.

The second and third medicines are OTC, so try these two if you cannot take the first one. It is not a serious condition, just a superficial fungal infection, which is very common and easily treatable. The lesions usually take six to eight weeks to subside completely. Take care.

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