Fungal acne: pimples different from conventional acne

Fungal acne: pimples different from conventional acne

What is fungal acne? How is it different from regular acne? What are the reasons for its appearance? What does it look like? What are the available treatment methods? The answers are in this article.

Fungal acne: pimples different from conventional acne

Fungal acne is known medically by several different names, such as Pityrosporum folliculitis and Malassezia folliculitis.

What is fungal acne?

Contrary to what its name might suggest at first glance, fungal acne has nothing to do with acne. Rather, it is the common name for a different health problem. Fungal acne is just one of the many types of folliculitis, and folliculitis is a skin problem that may arise as a result of An infection or inflammation within the hair follicles.

Fungal acne usually arises as a result of an overgrowth of some types of yeasts in the skin for some reason, and yeasts are a type of fungus. Folliculitis can develop in any area of ​​the skin where hair grows.

Fungal acne can linger on the skin for a relatively long time, especially if it is misdiagnosed as conventional acne and treated as such. Although fungal acne is treatable once diagnosed, it often recurs after treatment.

Ordinary acne and fungal acne: how to distinguish between them?

This skin problem appears in the form of small pimples that resemble real acne pimples, so the condition is often misdiagnosed as acne, but there are some differences that may help the patient differentiate between them, as fungal acne is characterized by the following:

It does not respond to conventional acne treatments.

It may be itchy.

It may appear in the form of white or black-headed pimples, one of which may reach a height of approximately 1 millimeter.

Causes of fungal acne

This skin problem usually arises as a result of an infection that may affect the capillary sebaceous unit, and this infection arises as a result of the overgrowth of some types of Malassezia yeasts within the hair follicles located in the skin, especially types such as:

Malassezia (M. restricta).

Malassezia (M. sympodialis).

Malassezia species (M. globosa).

In normal cases, Malassezia yeasts live on the surface of the skin, but under certain conditions, they may trigger some health problems, such as fungal acne and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Fungal acne triggers and risk factors

These are the most prominent factors that may increase the chances of developing fungal acne:

Excessive production of sebum in the skin.

Direct physical contact with someone who has fungal acne, as this condition can be contagious.

Excessive sweating, so these groups may be more prone to fungal acne: residents of humid and hot areas, and those who do intense sports.

Use of some types of medications, such as antibiotics and immunosuppressants.

Wearing tight clothes or not changing clothes and showering immediately after an activity causes sweating.

Clogged skin pores as a result of the use of certain products, such as emollients and sunscreens.

Fungal acne is more common in males and adolescents.

Symptoms of fungal acne

These are the main symptoms that may appear on a person with fungal acne:

Severe itching of the skin.

Small red blisters appear on the skin, often in clusters.

The appearance of pimples is often monomorphic and of the type of papules or pustules.

Irritation of hair follicles.

The condition did not improve despite the use of some conventional acne medications.

Fungal acne may also coincide with other skin problems, such as acne and seborrheic dermatitis.

Fungal acne may appear on any of the areas where normal acne may appear, such as: the chest, back, upper arms, and face.

Fungal acne diagnosis

To diagnose this skin problem, these are the most important procedures that the doctor may resort to:

Physical examination of the skin.

Skin swab or skin biopsy, which may help confirm the presence of the yeast responsible for the disease in the skin.

Histopathological examination, which may help monitor the presence of the yeasts responsible for the disease in and around the follicles.

The mentioned tests and some other tests may also help confirm the diagnosis by excluding the patient from some conditions similar to fungal acne, especially cases such as: steroid acne and bacterial folliculitis.

Fungal acne treatment

Here are the most prominent treatment methods that may help combat fungal acne:

Use of some types of prescription antifungals, such as the following medicines: Fluconazole and Ketoconazole.

Use some over-the-counter antifungal ointments or some antifungal shampoos that contain sulfur.

Resorting to some home recipes and methods, such as: eating yogurt, applying honey on pimples, and wiping pimples with tea tree oil diluted with water.

Adopt some healthy practices, such as: eating loose-fitting clothes, always showering after exercising, and changing into sweaty clothes immediately after you finish exercising.


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