Bran lichen is also known under the name "Pityriasis versicolor“.
It is a fungal disease of the upper layer of the skin that can also be accompanied by signs of inflammation. The localization on the neck or the upper trunk (chest and back) is typical. The causative agent of the bran lichen is Malassezia furfur, a yeast of the normal skin flora. The infection leads to small patchy pigment changes. The foci appear light on tanned skin because the fungus can absorb UV light. In winter, the fungal foci appear brownish next to the pale skin.

How contagious is bran lichen?

As it is with Malassezia furfur If it is a yeast of the normal skin flora anyway, the bran lichen is not a contagious disease. Everyone carries this yeast on their own skin. Symptoms only occur when certain risk factors apply.

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Read more on this topic at: How contagious are yeasts?


The skin symptoms caused by the yeast Malassezia furfur of the skin flora only appear if certain risk factors the Promote yeast growth.

The risk factors include heavy sweating and a Overproduction of the sebum glands. There is also a hot and humid climate. The yeast feels comfortable and can spread well under these warm and humid conditions.

Also Obesity is one of the risk factors, as a suitable climate also forms in large skin folds. Also can stress be responsible for the disease, as the immune system is weakened under stress.

Concomitant symptoms

With bran lichen you can next to the brown to reddish ones or bright when exposed to sunlight appearing foci also experience other symptoms. A slight itching is possible, for example, but does not have to occur.

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In patients with a weakened immune system (for example with HIV-infected people or under chemotherapy) it is also possible to go beyond the pure "spots" one inflammatory infection the hair follicle exits occurs.


The diagnosis of pityriasis versicolor can usually be made by the typical color change of the fungal centers compared to tanned or un-tanned skin. Furthermore, dermatologists stroke the foci with a spatula, making it into a fine whitish flaking comes. This so-called "Wood chip phenomenon“Is typical of the disease. In addition, the pathogen can be detected under the microscope with the help of an adhesive strip smear and a methylene blue stain.

Treatment / therapy

The bran lichen is not a dangerous disease. It is mainly treated for cosmetic reasons. Azole antimycotics can be used locally on the skin for therapy. These are also included in Shampoos. Washing your hair twice a week prevents the yeast from spreading from the hair follicles.

If there is no response to local treatment, azoles also applied systemically become. For this purpose, triazole antimycotila such as itraconazole or fluconazole can be given systemically in the form of tablets for over a week.

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Home remedies

In addition to antifungal therapy, it is to combat the risk factors of the bran lichen sensibly. Weight reduction and Stress relief can be helpful. However, particular care must be taken to withdraw its milieu from the yeast by making it feel good. For this, one should avoid the formation of a humid and warm climate (especially in skin folds).

If you sweat heavily or after showering, all damp areas should therefore carefully dried become. Affected skin areas can also with Tea tree oil be rubbed in. Tea tree oil is said to have antiseptic, bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

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Homeopathic therapy can in addition to therapy with antifungal agents can be used for support. The taking of is suitable for this Arsenicum iodatum and Arsenicum album, such as Sepia beads. Sulfur complexes have also been used successfully in pityriasis versicolor. A combination of Sulfur and Arsenicum album twice a day is another alternative to support antifungal therapy.

  • Arsenicum iodatum
  • Arsenicum album
  • Sepia beads

Duration of illness

The fungal attack should recede as part of the antifungal therapy. Mostly finds this take place over one to two weeks. However, since the affected skin areas could not tan with the rest of the skin, the spots remain to be seen for a while. As with other areas of skin that are initially untanned, it can take a while for the skin symptoms to adapt to the surrounding skin color.

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