Fungal acne is the scourge of many people, and sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether or not you have fungal acne. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you don’t have fungal acne.
If you’ve been wondering if you have an allergy to something, try keeping a food journal. Just like with any allergy, it’s good to know what foods you have trouble digesting so that you can avoid them. If your symptoms improve after cutting out some foods, you may want to consider eliminating more foods from your diet.
Having eczema is one of the most common reasons that people get eczema and allergies. Eczema is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin. This causes the body to produce antibodies against the skin cells, which leads to inflammation and other symptoms.
Eczema can be very itchy and uncomfortable, but there are ways to treat it without medication.
Fungal acne is not uncommon in my practice and it can be very stubborn. It is a lot easier to treat than eczema, but sometimes requires a bit of detective work to figure out the cause.
The symptoms are easy to spot. They tend to look like acne, but are usually redder in color and do not respond well or at all to acne medications and treatments. There is usually some itching involved, but not always. Often there are small pustules that look like whiteheads that can be itchy or painful and feel like they have a hard head when you touch them (there is no whitehead, just a hard bump). This can be confused with acne, but often acne will also be present on other areas of the face. The skin on the chin and the jaw area may also have a fine flaking or peeling, giving it a dry appearance. There may also be an occasional blackhead present as well as tiny red bumps similar to papules or cysts that are not pus-filled which may or may not be itchy.
Fungal acne is most common on the face, neck, chest and back and can be found alone or along with eczema (and sometimes psoriasis) in these areas as
Fungal acne is a very real problem that many people are struggling with. It is not acne, nor is it a fungal infection. Just to be clear, fungal acne is a misnomer.
Fungal acne is actually an allergy to a specific fungus. The scientific term for this type of allergic reaction is Pityrosporum folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis. The fungus in question is called Malassezia globosa (or M. furfur). The specific form of the fungus that causes fungal acne is called Pityrosporum ovale.
Pityrosporum folliculitis can be treated topically and with oral anti-fungals but it does require an anti-fungal and not just a topical antibiotic like benzoyl peroxide, which will only make it worse.
What is Fungal Acne?
Fungal acne is a non-medical term for folliculitis caused by Malassezia, which is a form of yeast. Fungi are very different in nature to bacteria and viruses, so are treated differently.
Who is affected?
Fungal acne can affect anyone, but it seems to be most common in people with oily skin or who sweat more than usual. It also appears to be more common in countries with hot and humid climates.
What does it look like?
The appearance of fungal acne can vary greatly from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:
scaling on the skin (resembling psoriasis)
pimple-like bumps (resembling acne)
redness and itchiness around the spots
How do I know if I have fungal acne?
If you suspect you may have fungal acne, please see a doctor as soon as possible. Fungal infections are treated very differently to bacterial infections and an incorrect diagnosis could delay getting your skin healthy again. If a doctor diagnoses you with fungal acne they should prescribe an anti-fungal cream or oral medication.
What is Fungal Acne?
A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia is the cause of fungal acne. This fungus lives on everyone’s skin, and while it doesn’t usually cause any problems, sometimes it can get out of control.
A very simplified explanation is that the Malassezia can break down your sebum into fatty acids, which in turn irritate the skin. There are many types of Malassezia, and each breaks down sebum in different ways to a different degree, so there are different degrees of this reaction depending on the type of Malassezia you have.
Another reason why fungal acne may be more common than previously thought is that people will have a reaction to one or two types of Malassezia but not others. For example, you might have one type that causes you problems but not another type. You won’t get fungal acne from this other type because it doesn’t cause you any problems.
The reason for the confusion is that fungal acne has been misidentified as a type of bacterial infection. The culprit is actually a yeast-like fungus called Pityrosporum (Malassezia) which like most fungi is microscopic. It can only be seen under a microscope.
Fungal Acne is often misdiagnosed as bacterial folliculitis because it may look very similar and symptoms can include redness, bumps, itching, flaking and in severe cases, scarring.
Like bacteria the fungus will have the opportunity to spread to other areas of the body, but unlike bacteria it will not die off when you take antibiotics or use topical antibacterial products. In fact using these types of medications are likely to make things worse since they destroy much of your skin’s natural defenses making it easier for the fungus to thrive and spread.
The other day I popped into Sephora and picked up a new foundation – I had been using the same one for years and figured it was time to try something different. It was a liquid mineral foundation that I was excited to try out. The next morning, I woke up with a few pimples on my face – nothing too crazy, but definitely unusual for me.
I’m not sure if the foundation caused this reaction or if it was just a coincidence, but it did make me wonder – can makeup cause breakouts?