Updated: 5 days ago
This guide focuses on the differences and management strategies for fungal acne and bacterial acne, providing clear, evidence-based information.
What is Fungal Acne?
Fungal acne, or Pityrosporum folliculitis, arises from an overgrowth of yeast in hair follicles. It's distinct from bacterial acne, often resulting from an imbalance in the skin's microbiome.
Key Characteristics of Fungal Acne
Small, uniform, itchy pustules.
Commonly on the chest, back, arms, and sometimes the face.
Triggered by factors like excessive sweating, humid environments, or prolonged antibiotic use.
Causes of Fungal Acne
Humid conditions and tight clothing can encourage yeast growth.
A diet rich in carbohydrates may contribute to yeast overgrowth.
A suppressed immune system can increase susceptibility.
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What is Bacterial Acne?
Bacterial acne, or acne vulgaris, is caused by clogged hair follicles or clogged pores, leading to a proliferation of Cutibacterium acnes AKA Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.
Key Characteristics of Bacterial Acne
Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, cysts, or nodules.
Appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders.
The severity varies, and it can lead to scarring.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dermatologists diagnose these conditions based on appearance, sometimes requiring skin culture or microscopy.
Fungal Acne Treatment
Antifungal medications: Topical or oral antifungals like ketoconazole, fluconazole, or itraconazole.
Skincare routine: Non-occlusive, oil-free products.
Lifestyle changes: Avoid tight clothing and showering after sweating.
Bacterial Acne Treatment
Topical treatments: Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids.
Oral medications: Antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or isotretinoin for severe cases.
Skincare: Gentle cleansing and non-comedogenic products.
Prevention and Management
Maintaining a balanced skin microbiome is critical. Regular cleansing, avoiding harsh products, and a diet low in sugars and refined carbohydrates are beneficial.
If your acne resulted in dark spots, you will find my article on getting rid of dark spots due to acne very useful.
When to Consult a Dermatologist
You should consult a dermatologist before starting any form of treatment, but especially consult one in the case of ineffective over-the-counter treatments, severe acne, or distressing symptoms.