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Tinea Versicolor: There’s a Fungus Among Us

When you get to be my age (old), you have a propensity to talk about all your medical problems. As boring as that sounds, blog posts about my various ailments tend to get the most traffic because of the pictures I debate posting –  you wouldn’t believe how many people want to see photos of tonsil cysts and palm ganglions and severed limbs. And some day I’m going to have a severed limb to show you, just not yet. Darn it.

Anyway, I’ve reached the point in life where I’m no longer trying to impress you all with my freakish good looks, so freakish pictures in general is what you have to look forward to from now on.

And today we feature my tinea versacolor. Which sounds awesome, right? Like some new high definition cinema experience.

Tinea Versacolor is actually the medical term for the Creeping Mahungus. Which is the clinical term for Haole Rot (pronounced “Howley rot”). All these terms sound so fabulous, they should really be considered for any marketing campaign.

Supposedly, I may have picked it up from the beach sand – too many days playing beach volleyball has not only left me with a rotator cuff injury, but also with a delightful fungal thing that crops up every year or so. You get these pinkish spots and if you tried to tan, you’d have these white spots where the fungus resides. “Haole” is a Hawaiian term for Gringo, white people, so Haole Rot means “white people rot”, because of the white spots. Nice, right?

It starts off with one spot, maybe two and if you leave it alone (for like a year) the spots have sex with each other and breed like rabbits. Then, instead of one spot, you have this mess:

tinea versacolor on torso

Since it’s a fungus, you can apply Selsun Blue on it a few times and it can go away for awhile, but when you forget to do that, and you let it get out of control like I did this last time, then you have to go to the doctor to get a prescription for Ketoconazole which can do things to your liver. And not good things. So try to stay ahead of YOUR tinea versacolor with Selsun Blue.

And wish me luck with my liver.

tinea versacolor paw printBy the way, is it me, or does the splotch way over on the side look like a puppy paw print? Did you know tinea versacolor is also known as Dermatomycosis furfuracea? Did you catch that? Furfurcea? FUR FUR? As in puppies? Who knew a fungus could be so cute? Awwwwwwwwwwwwww……


And Another Thing…

Long time fans of NGIP know that I hate telemarketers. I have complained about them on





roblockerAnd then along comes my friend, Bryan Logie, who has invented a way to blacklist those automated “robocallers” or “robodialers”. And he has submitted his invention to the Federal Trade Commission for a Robocall Challenge. He calls it the RoBlocker.

You can check it out on his submission page, and let him know the answer to this: What do you think about having a device that would allow you to block any amount of numbers, even those with no actual number, with the push of just a button? AND… If such a device wasn’t free, what would be the most you would be willing to pay for it?

Feel free to leave your comment over there. Or just bitch about telemarketers in general.

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  1. Juli says:

    The *only* time I don’t hate telemarketers is when they have a sexy accent.
    Dear British and South African Telemarketers,
    I still won’t buy anything or give you what you want, but I will listen to you for about 20 seconds instead of hanging up on you immediately.

  2. slacker says:

    OMG you need some “BOUNDARIES!!!”

  3. Evelyn Schurmann says:

    Margaret… Try some tee tree oil on the fungus. It’s natural and an anti-fungal remedy. Won’t hurt, might help. Here are some other herbal suggestions:

    Good luck! I had it for years off-and-on. It’s finally gone!

    1. Margaret says:

      What? It goes away? What’s your secret? Did you use tea tree oil on it, or did it just mysteriously disappear one day and never come back?

  4. dog groomer new york says:

    Very insightful – thanks.

  5. Victoria says:

    Okay – I know I shouldn’t laugh but still, for some reason I did. Love that you are old enough to not care, brave enough to educate people about something that makes most of us cringe – fungus (yes, I’m cringing – especially about fungal sex) and hopeful enough to place your trust in Selsun Blue. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Margaret says:

      You know what, Victoria? I’m glad you laughed. That’s part of the point of my writing it. The other part is to help others and knowing I’m doing that motivates me to continue to post somewhat embarrassing photos. Turns out, there are way grosser photos out there of tinea versicolor so my picture is tame compared to those. Anyway, good luck with the Selsun Blue, and if you didn’t catch another person’s comment, you could try Gold Bond powder, apparently. And don’t leave the Selsun Blue on all day, it kind of mucks up your skin if you do.

  6. Who cares about the fungus … I want the RoBlocker!!

    (Just kidding about the fungus, hope you’re well again soon with no liver disorders.) 🙂

  7. Vicki says:

    Looks like the same thing I’ve struggled with for many years. I have found gold bond body powder to be pretty effective at keeping it relatively under control and even to get it back under control when it goes wild.

    1. Margaret says:

      Gold Bond? Thanks, Vicki! I’m totally making a note of that.

  8. Good ole tinea versicolor! I had that once. Finally got rid of it with some really nasty smelling lotion. That was about 25 years ago and I haven’t had a recurrence yet. But now that you brought it up, I’ll probably see it again real soon. Because my skin is just like that… give it a suggestion and it will go whole hog, trying to get some attention. Thanks for that, Margaret!

    1. Margaret says:

      You are SO lucky for it not to have come back so far, but you’re right, skin is always “me, me, me – pay attention to ME.” Selfish organ.

  9. Barbara says:

    Blog readers do like gross pictures of health problems. I have a blog with two years worth of pretty, awesome, cute, stunning photos of African wildlife, exotic scenery, adorable Tanzanian children, American National Parks…..and one time I posted about a bump on my big toe that was actually a little sack full of insect eggs just hatching into worms that was planted on my toe by a sandflea at the beach in Kenya. That post has received about ten times the views of the next most popular post. And the picture of the bump on my toe is pulled up by Google Images about three times a day! It has totally out stripped my goat meat recipe that you featured in NGIP–sorry! If you want to see the gross picture, here’s a link:

    1. Margaret says:

      Yikes! Well, there’s another hit on your toe post today… from me. 🙂

  10. Girl, all I can talk about are my health issues too. I totally get it. Apparently I’m at *that* age too.

    ‘It starts off with one spot, maybe two and if you leave it alone (for like a year) the spots have sex with each other and breed like rabbits”


    Also, that really DOES look like a paw print.

    Good luck to you and your liver!


    PS: Does it hurt? Itch?

    1. Margaret says:

      It doesn’t hurt or itch at all, Meleah, which is probably why it’s so easy to completely forget about it for a year before doing anything.

      Also? You are way too young to have so many ailments. You have lapped me several times already, girl!

  11. Ben Swilley says:

    Forget the Ketoconazole. Save your liver for strong drink. Find yourself four strong, good looking young men who work as masseurs and have them play “Twister” all over your body. They can use the Selsun Blue but it is against the rules to touch any spot smaller than a dime.

    Don’t tell anybody you are doing this. You already have a blog with a really weird name and I’ll bet in California it doesn’t take too much evidence like this to have one committed to a happy house.

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh dear, that’s true. I can’t wait to see the Google searches that land on this baby.

      Also? You are one imaginative dude.

  12. Dang, Margaret, for a perfectly normal woman, you get some weird ailments. If you were a surfer chick, or a porn queen, we might expect some weird ass fungus. But as a freakishly attractive person who does nothing really strange at all, you seem to be a magnet for oddball owwies. Happy New Year, anyway.

    1. Margaret says:

      I AM a magnet for oddball owwies, aren’t I? And I’m not done yet, is the sad thing.

  13. Linda says:

    Sorry about your puppy print fungi, and all my best to your liver!

    1. Margaret says:

      Thank you, Linda! Same to you! Oh…wait…

  14. SueAnn says:

    It does look like a puppy print!! Ha!
    Sorry about your rot!!

    1. Margaret says:

      I happened to notice it after I uploaded the photo and just HAD to do a close-up. It seemed uncanny.

  15. anjiknut says:

    Who thought the beach could be so dangerous. Children can get nasty fungus from cat poo in sandpits too (been there, done that). So careful with the puppy poo.

    We have a programme here in France that we have put our phone numbers into which blocks those calls EXCEPT for calls from companies we belong to, like banks and insurance companies. It works – so I hope that Bryan Logie is successful with his invention.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Margaret says:

      stupid telemarketers…why is the burden so much on us to ward them off? But let’s get back to cat poo…I don’t know which sounds worse, cat poo fungus or puppy paw fungus. I’ll have to ruminate on that one.

  16. Nicky says:

    You know, Margaret, if you ever get tired of blogging, you can always get a job as a Rorschach test. But I hope you don’t give up blogging… at least not until you’ve posted the pictures of your severed limb.

    1. Margaret says:

      If I do quit blogging, I promise to email you a picture of my severed limb. Or post it on your Facebook page. Or ship it to you with a box of Twinkies…if they ever come back. The Twinkies, I mean.

  17. Kate says:

    Loved looking at your red, itchy rash. That one place does look like a paw print. So cute. I think I see the profile of Mao Tse Tung in the big portion of your rash. Find it? Good job!

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi Kate! Oh my goodness, why didn’t I think of that. I could have had a contest to guess what people see, like cloud formations. I missed out on an opportunity, but I’m so glad you took it upon yourself. And it’s so nice to hear from you. 🙂

  18. That’s it! You caught it from puppies and you aren’t telling us! Ah, HA! Your cute little puppy habit is now known to us! 😉

    Thank you for the link! It is so awesome and progressive that the FTC has appealed to us all for help in tackling what is apparently a uniquely American problem. Hopefully one or some of us can come up with a solution to this annoying problem. Dare I say that it is the Haole Rot of the digital age? I’m not sure where we picked it up but hopefully a little routine salve application will keep it in check. Everyone post your own ideas and comments at the challenge site! 🙂

    1. Margaret says:

      (Grrr! having major problems with trying to reply to these comments, but I’ll try again…..)

      I hope you win, Bryan! Good luck!

  19. You never fail to edumaaacate me as to the more esoteric things in life. Thank you. I think

    1. Margaret says:

      Someday Pricilla, I will post the ultimate alien abduction-related gross-out photo.