Fungal Acne is a type of infection in which the hair follicles of the skin are affected. The fungal acne appears as small pus-filled pimples accompanied by skin irritation, itching, and sometimes whiteheads. It should not be confused with regular acne because the causing reason for both of them is different. If you would treat fungal acne just like regular acne, it makes the condition even worse.
According to Dr. Jaggi Rao, Fungal acne appears like normal regular acne but the cause is different, a particular type of bacteria known as Propionibacterium.
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Fungal acne is not due to the collection of oil and bacteria in the pores as in the case of regular acne while the oil and sebum in fungal acne can be a portion of food for the bacteria that causes it. Fungal acne is mainly due to the overgrowth of a type of fungus, ‘yeast’. Fungal acne is also called Pityrosporum Folliculitis or Malassezia Folliculitis. This overgrowth of yeast can be due to fluctuation in the natural balance of yeast on the skin because yeast is always present on the skin in all conditions but the overgrowth of it is actually the reason behind fungal acne.
There are some important factors that upset the natural balance of yeast on the skin causing Fungal acne:
If you work out regularly, you sweat more than usual. Sweating causes the overgrowth of yeast on the skin. So, you must change the clothes after the gym to avoid acne due to yeast.
- Tight Clothes:
Tight clothes are also a cause of fungal acne because they are non-breathable and hence responsible for excessive sweating.
- Dietary Changes:
People who take more amount of carbohydrates daily are prone to it. Anything that contains carbs in large amounts such as sweets can cause an overgrowth of fungus on the skin.
If you live in a warm, humid environment the chance of you getting fungal acne is increased because the high temperature of that hot environment will make you sweat more and ultimately acne due to yeast.
People having a weak immune system are susceptible to fungal acne.
There is a difference between fungal acne and acne vulgaris. We can find the difference between the two of them by following symptoms:
The size of the acne due to Pityrosporum Folliculitis is the same throughout and the pimples as filled with pus often while that of acne vulgaris contain whiteheads of different sizes.
Fungal acne can be found on the arms, back, face, and chest while bacterial acne is most common on the face.
Acne due to the yeast consists of small clusters of whiteheads whereas bacterial acne is less clustered and more sparse.
Itching is more common in yeast acne and rarely in acne vulgaris.
If you have fungal acne, you may face some other issues related to the overgrowth of yeast such as dandruff and Psoriasis.
Your condition can be diagnosed by the symptoms mentioned above but here are some common methods to diagnose the problem:
- Skin Biopsy:
A sample of the skin where fungal acne can be seen is sent to the lab for confirmation
- Skin Scrapping:
A sample of the skin’s hair follicles is examined under a microscope to see the presence of the overgrowth of fungus.
- Your Dermatologist may asks you some questions such as:
- How long have you been suffering from the issue?
- What treatment methodology were you using?
- What type of symptoms are you having?
The Treatment of this type of acne is easy once it is identified that whether the acne is due to yeast or regular acne. Following tips are useful for treating fungal acne:
- Try to maintain the natural balance between yeast and bacteria on the skin.
- Wear loose clothes because tight fabrics are a reason for friction and ultimately overgrowth of yeast.
- Shower more frequently to avoid sweat and fungal acne.
- Take over-the-counter OTC anti-fungal creams, ointments such as for athlete’s foot.
- Rinse your body with body washes. You can also use dandruff shampoos with zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide regularly for this purpose.
- Take Oral medication such as itraconazole, fluconazole to get rid of the infection.
- Use products with Clotrimazole cream, butenafine, ketoconazole, etc. According to research in China 2016, ketoconazole was the top seller with 67% of the market. Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1052870/china-topical-antifungal-product-market-distribution-by-product-group/
Fungal acne is common in people with poor hygiene issues. It is different from acne vulgaris hence it is important to identify the condition first to treat it. Treatment ways can vary from person to person depending upon the cause and symptoms of the infection.