In Latin, meaning skin of many colors.
Medically known as Pityriasis Versicolor.
A skin condition that is common in teenagers and twenty-somethings, both dark and light-skinned. It is due to an overgrowth of a skin surface yeast, Malassezia furfur, which is a type of fungus.
The overgrowth of this yeast prevents the normal pigmentation process resulting in uneven skin color and scaling that can be unsightly and sometimes itch. This yeast normally lives in the pores of everyone's skin. It thrives in oily areas such as the neck, upper chest, back and sometimes even the abdomen.
The fungus grows slowly and prevents the skin from tanning normally. As the rest of the skin tans in the sun, the pale spots (affected by the yeast) become more noticeable, especially on dark skin.
Thankfully, Tinea Versicolor is fairly easy to get rid of and is NOT CONTAGIOUS. I have had it twice myself, so it does tend to reoccur. Excessive sweating tends to bring it back, so try to use a baby powder to keep your skin dry.
Applying lotrimin or spraying lamisil to the affected area twice a day for two to four weeks will eradicate the condition.
However, even after the fungus is killed off, it may take weeks or even months in some cases, to regain normal skin color.
For photographs and more information on Tinea Versicolor, check out http://www.dermis.net/doia/diagnose.asp?zugr=d&lang=e&diagnr=111000&topic=t