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I've had these weird brown blotches on my neck for sometime now. I thought it was dirt at first but they don't wash off and it seems to be spreading. It used to be one spot and now it's more. I've attached a photo to what it looks like. Any clues to what it may be?


These scaling patches on your neck look like tinea versicolor, a very common yeast infection of the skin.  The yeast that causes it lives in our hair follicles on the scalp, neck and trunk, even though the rash may be visible only in certain spots.  This is not considered contagious because everyone has this yeast in their hair follicles.  In some people due to the composition of their skin oils and due to heat and humidity this yeast overgrows and causes a rash.

It's called tinea versicolor because sometimes the patches may be brown or tan or lighter than skin color or pink.  Usually you can see the yeast very easily under the microscope when you do a light scraping of the skin just to get the scale from these patches.

As to what to do, depending on the extent, you may need prescription topical medication or shampoo to treat this.  Start with an over the counter shampoo, like Selsun Blue or Nizoral.  Wash the affected areas as well as the scalp, chest and back daily for three weeks, then continue once a week during the warm months and once a month during the cold months.  There is no cure for this condition because the yeast is a normal resident of our hair follicles, but it can be controlled.

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