Do you know why those itchy pimples on your back, chest and along your hair line won’t go away with acne treatment?
This article is Part 1 of a two-part series on pityrosporum folliculitis acne. This is a type of acne even doctors overlook.
Did you know that most acne medicines are designed to treat the common form of acne called acne vulgaris?
Ingredients often include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and glycolic acid such as in my Ultimate Acne Solutions Kit. Sometimes a Professional Retinol Night Cream is used too. They work well for common acne. If you’ve tried the usual acne treatments and you still have pimples and blackheads, then you may actually have pityrosporum folliculitis.
What areas of the skin are most affected by the breakouts of pityrosporum folliculitis acne?
- The breakouts of pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne are usually the worst on the forehead, along the hair line and jaw line.
- They can involve the sides of the neck too.
- Pimples and blackheads may also be present on the back, even going all the way down to the waist.
- The chest can be affected too.
- You may even get an occasional tender pimple on the scalp.
People with pityrosporum folliculitis acne have both pimples and blackheads, but they’re slightly different than the pimples and blackheads seen in acne vulgaris.
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As an esthetician for the last 12 years it has been a revolutionary yet gentle & simple fix for my clients. The zinc cleansing bar helps profoundly with sensitivity conditions across the board! From folliculitis, rosacea, and dermatitis, I’ve seen it’s magical results time and time again.” Leah C 7/4/14
How are the pimples and blackheads of pityrosporum folliculitis acne different from acne vulgaris?
- The pimples of pityrosporum folliculitis are slightly different from those of acne vulgaris.
- The may be brighter red and both itch and hurt. Sometimes they have a bright red area around the pustule and almost look like a bug bite with a central pimple.
- In contrast, the pimples of acne vulgaris are typically a deeper reddish-purple and my patients usually describe them as painful, but not itchy.
- Pityrosporum folliculitis pimples heal differently too, often leaving a brown color along with the red scar.
- Accompanying the pimples of pityrosporum folliculitis, the skin is often studded with many blackheads. These too are different than the blackheads of regular acne because they may be closed over and look like tiny pimples that aren’t red and that feel rough. They can also be open and look more like a normal blackhead. Some people have just a few lesions, others have thousands.
Know that you can have both types of acne – acne vulgaris and pityrosporum folliculitis at the same time, which is so unfair! The good news is that some of the skin care treatment routine and products overlap.
Who gets pityrosporum folliculitis acne?
Anyone can get pityrosporum folliculitis, but you’re particularly prone if:
- You sweat often (for example, if you’re an athlete, have a job where you work up a sweat, or you live somewhere with hot weather).
- You have a personal or family history of asthma, eczema, life-long extreme skin dryness, keratosis pilaris, or hay fever (this genetic collection of conditions is called an atopic diathesis).
What causes this pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne?
The reason that the pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne is different from acne vulgaris is that it’s caused by an overgrowth of the pityrosporum yeast germ that we all have in the pores situated above the waistline. This yeast germ loves sweaty skin and it’s the reason that some people get pimples from sweat. It also grows well in people with an atopic diathesis because of the unique elements in their skin’s immunity.
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I also have finally found the facial sunscreen for me through Dr. Bailey- Citrix. I actually look forward to the application everyday! And given my complex skin issues, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, that is saying a lot! The extra gentle buff puff and her hand lotion are also favorites. What more can I say, I love this woman and refer all my friends to her blog site! ~ Kim N 6/24/14
What is the treatment of pityrosorum folliculitis acne?
I see a lot of people with pityrosporum folliculitis. It can be the sole reason for their pimples or it can coexist with acne vulgaris as a double whammy.
My treatment strategy for pityrosporum folliculitis is two-fold:
1. Control the growth of the yeast.
2. Clean out the pores.
Click here to read more about how I treat my patients who have pityrosporum folliculitis of the face. In the easiest routine, I add Calming Zinc Soap as a morning skin cleanser, to the routine with my Ultimate Acne Solution Kit products. Daily treatment also involves applying Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to help balance the skin’s inflammatory stress. The Green Tea comes together with Calming Zinc in my Redness Relief Kit. Sunscreen is worn on top to help prevent hyperpigmentation of healed pimples. My top choice for this skin problem is EltaMD Clear with niacinamide.
Click here to see how I treat acne on the back and chest in my dermatology practice. I usually use my Back Acne Kit. This acne often is caused by pityrosporum yeast. Remember, I recommend that you start any treatment by seeing your dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and medically-supervised care.
In Part 2 of this two-part series on pityrosporum folliculitis acne , I’ll give you additional info on my treatment approach to this treatable form of acne.
The take home message is that not every breakout of pimples and blackheads is acne vulgaris. The skin yeast germ pityrosporum can cause acne too and standard acne medicines don’t treat it. Treating this yeast may be all that stands between you and clear skin. See your dermatologist if you think you have pityrosporum folliculitis acne. ~ Dr. Cynthia Bailey, Dermatologist