Fungal acne typically forms on your back, chest, and arms. However, your forehead is particularly susceptible due to its close proximity to your scalp. One of the causes of dandruff is a yeastlike fungus called malassezia—a key factor in fungal acne onset. If you suffer from a flaky scalp, chances are much higher of developing fungal acne as well.
First, it's important to recognize that 'fungal acne' isn't really a thing. The proper technical term is malassezia folliculitis. It's a common misconception due to the fact that MF looks so much like acne that people just assume it must be.
It occurs as a result of having excessive yeast called malassezia on the skin. This is a form of fungus commonly found within hair follicles. It results in inflammation on the skin, and the symptoms include itchy eruptions that resemble acne.
Malassezia is normal on your skin. It only becomes a problem when it grows out of control. And certain actions can lead to you getting malassezia folliculitis, including:
Most people call malassezia folliculitis 'fungal acne' because it really does look like zits. However, there are some distinct characteristics of this condition that helps you tell it apart from regular acne.
Normal acne can be sporadic. You may develop pimples at random areas of your face and body. However, fungal acne is more uniform in appearance. The redness and bumps stay in one area.
With regular acne, you may see blackheads or whiteheads. These are both terms to describe blemishes caused by clogged pores. You don't get these with malassezia folliculitis.
Regular pimples tend to have a distinct white head. This is pus inside the pimple. Fungal acne just produces red bumps with no heads.
Regular pimples are usually not painful or itchy. However, when the breakout occurs as a result of a fungus, you usually want to scratch the area.
There are plenty of over-the-counter products to help treat pimples. If you use one on malassezia folliculitis, you don't find any improvement in your symptoms.
Dandruff can come from numerous sources, including oily skin and certain hair products. However, it can also be a result of the fungus, malassezia.
Since your forehead is close to your scalp, the fungus can make its way to that area. This is a tell-tale sign you have fungus rather than acne. If an acne breakout on your forehead is accompanied by dandruff, then you probably have malassezia folliculitis.
Fortunately, fungal acne is treatable. You may need to try a few until you find one that works for you. And you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if no over-the-counter methods work.
Wearing tight clothing and failing to shower after exercising can increase your risk of excessive fungal development. You can prevent an issue on your scalp and forehead by avoiding saunas and showering immediately after a workout.
You need to look for a shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione if you have dandruff and/or fungal acne. When you wash your hair, let the shampoo rest there for a few minutes before rinsing.
Tea tree oil contains anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. You can apply topically to the area and let it rest there to soak into the skin. Do a patch test first to make sure you're not allergic to it.
While acne breakouts and pimples are inevitable at some point in your life, it's not something you have to live with forever. There's a wide range of treatment options that have shown to combat those pesky red bumps for good.
We understand how annoying and bothersome acne breakouts can be. Whether it's picture day at school, or you've got a job interview, acne is not a welcome friend. Fortunately, it's a treatable condition. Our licensed physicians make it easy and more comfortable to have a discussion about your skin and the best treatment options available for you.
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