What Causes Fungal Acne?

“Fungal acne” is a term commonly used to describe a skin condition called pityrosporum folliculitis. It’s not actually acne but rather an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia on the skin. The overgrowth can result in red, itchy, acne-like bumps. Here are some factors that may contribute to the development of fungal acne:

  • Malassezia overgrowth: Malassezia is a type of yeast that naturally resides on the skin. However, an overgrowth of this yeast can occur, leading to fungal acne. Factors such as warm and humid environments, excessive sweating, or compromised immune function can contribute to the overgrowth.
  • Humidity and heat: Fungal acne tends to thrive in warm and humid conditions. Sweating and wearing tight, occlusive clothing can create an environment conducive to the growth of Malassezia.
  • Use of occlusive products: Certain skincare and haircare products, especially those containing ingredients like oils and fatty acids, can provide a favorable environment for Malassezia to thrive. This includes products such as coconut oil.
  • Antibiotic use: Prolonged use of antibiotics can disrupt the natural balance of microorganisms on the skin, allowing Malassezia to proliferate.
  • Weakened immune system: Conditions that compromise the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or immunosuppressive medications, may increase the risk of fungal infections, including pityrosporum folliculitis.
  • Excessive sweating: Sweat provides a moist environment, and the warm and damp conditions can encourage the growth of Malassezia, contributing to fungal acne.
  • Tight clothing: Wearing tight clothing, especially in areas where friction occurs, can create an environment favorable for the development of fungal acne.

If you suspect you have fungal acne, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Treatment may include antifungal medications, topical or oral, and adjustments to your skincare routine to reduce conditions that favor Malassezia overgrowth. Maintaining good hygiene practices, using non-comedogenic skincare products, and avoiding excessive moisture and occlusive agents can help prevent and manage fungal acne.