Skin Conditions That Look Like Acne—But Aren’t | The Healthy

Fungal acne can be often confused with a typical whitehead or acne papule. The lesions are usually grouped together with white bumps or pustules or red bumps (papules) of very similar size from 1-2mm.
Fungal acne (Malassezia folliculitis) can happen anywhere on the body but most commonly appears on the forehead, temples, hairline, upper chest, and mid-back.

Pityrosporum folliculitis/fungal acne won’t clear up on its own, and it can get more intensely itchy without treatment and worsen as more areas are involved. If it’s not bothering you, you don’t have to treat it, but it can also be recurrent — you can treat and have it clear up, only for it to recur. There is no clear timeframe for recurrent flares.

Gram-negative bacterial folliculitis. Also called hot tub folliculitis, this is caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. It comes from sitting in contaminated water or a poorly treated hot tub or swimming pool. ‌Klebsiella and Enterobacter bacteria species can also cause this type of folliculitis. You might get this after you’ve been taking antibiotic medicines for a long time. ‌

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Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.

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What causes fungal acne on your face?

Eosinophilic folliculitis. If you have HIV, you might get this type of folliculitis. It’s not clear exactly what causes it, but it can also be a side effect of chemotherapy. It usually shows up on the scalp, face, and neck and might look like hives. ‌

Before treating fungal acne, consult a doctor to make sure that you do not have another skin condition. Even if fungal acne is suspected, a doctor or dermatologist may want to conduct a fungal test (skin scraping and look under the microscope) to diagnose fungal acne aka fungal folliculitis other causes before prescribing treatment.

What Is Fungal Acne

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To diagnose fungal acne, your doctor may ask about your symptoms and look at your skin. They may use Wood’s lamp, a small black light, while they look at your skin. Some fungi, such as Malassezia yeast, will glow under a black light. Malassezia usually glows a yellow-green color.

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Types of Folliculitis

Antifungal shampoo and body wash can help slow down the growth of the fungi that cause infection. Most products can be purchased over-the-counter (selsun blue), but some may require a prescription from a doctor. They are applied to the affected area and rinsed off immediately or after a few minutes. While these products can be very effective, they can lead to side effects if you use them too often such as skin irritation. These can also be used to prevent the fungal acne from coming back.

The difference is in what causes the infection. In fungal acne, the infection is caused by a fungus called Malassezia (pronounced mah-luh-See-zee-uh) yeast that’s gotten into your hair follicles because they’re damaged or blocked. In regular acne, your hair follicles are blocked with dead skin, oil, and bacteria.

Fungal acne is not really acne and is actually a fungal infection or folliculitis that is caused by extra yeast growing in your hair follicle. While it may initially be mistaken for your typical blemish, acne should ideally be looked at by a doctor, who can help determine the appropriate treatment.
Thankfully, fungal acne is treatable and will likely go away within a short time with proper treatment.
You do not need to feel ashamed or embarrassed if you suddenly notice these irritating small bumps. Sometimes they are simply caused by living your life, and the best thing you can do is consult a doctor.

Pityrosporum folliculitis: What to know about fungal acne

Is yeast bad for acne?

Noticing more facial blemishes than usual? Or little bumps on your face and body that just won’t go away? You might have fallen prey to a particular type of skin condition – fungal acne . While this may sound intimidating, it is both normal and treatable.

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What is fungal acne?

Anti-yeast and antifungal treatments are needed. For mild disease, you can start by using a topical antifungal cream or lotion, applied daily to the affected areas. Dandruff shampoo can be used as a body wash and topical antifungals can be applied to areas on the trunk. If you use the shampoo on your face, be sure to rinse off thoroughly and in a timely fashion.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae. This kind of folliculitis is also called razor bumps, and it doesn’t always cause a skin infection. This often happens to people who have curly-haired facial hair. After shaving, the hair curls back and grows into the skin, causing inflammation and bumps. ‌While it mostly affects facial hair, this type of folliculitis can happen anywhere you shave. It’s also common to have ingrown hairs on your groin where your clothes rub against your skin a lot.

Acne vs. Face Rash

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Fungal acne is not really acne (blockage of the pores by sebum and bacteria and with inflammation). Fungal acne is actually a fungal infection of the hair follicle by malassezia (used to be called pityrosporum) that looks like regular acne (acne vulgaris). While often mistaken for regular acne, the cause is different.
Sebaceous or “oil” glands naturally keep our skin protected against friction and make the skin more impervious to moisture. Acne happens when your pores (Hair follicles) are blocked with dead skin cells, sebum(oil) and then can become pustules and/or have inflammation.
In contrast, fungal acne (fungal folliculitis) is an overgrowth of yeast within the hair follicles. When there is yeast in the sebaceous glands, your hair follicles become inflamed, causing “fungal acne.” Let’s explore what that can look like.

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What does fungal acne look like?

For a more prolonged or significant outbreak, your dermatologist may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. Maintenance treatment may be needed as well because this condition can recur, especially when the environment is right for the yeast to proliferate.

Demodex folliculitis. The Demodex folliculorum mite causes this type of folliculitis. Most people have this mite on their skin without developing folliculitis, but it may cause a reaction in some people with weakened immune systems or those who already have skin conditions.‌

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