38 patients were entered into a controlled randomised trial, comparing two forms of topical treatment for pityriasis versicolor. Diagnosis was made on clinical criteria and confirmed by direct microscopic examination of Parker Quink/KOH preparations. 20 patients were treated with bifonazole solution daily for 2 weeks. 18 patients were treated with 2.5% selenium sulphide shampoo daily for one week and weekly for six weeks. Mycological examination showed that Malassezia furfur was present in all patients prior to treatment. At the end of the trial, 1 patient (5%) treated with bifonazole and 4 patients (22%) of those treated with selenium sulphide shampoo showed the presence of the fungus in the skin. This study demonstrates that bifonazole solution is an effective and well-tolerated form of treatment for pityriasis versicolor. A 2-week course of bifonazole solution was as effective as a 7-week course of selenium sulphide shampoo in eradicating the disease and had a lower relapse rate at 4 weeks.