How is fungal acne diagnosed, and what tests are performed for fungal acne?

Doctor's Answers (4)

“Fungal acne” should be properly diagnosed and differentiated from acne vulgaris as it is actually a form of folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) and not true acne. “Fungal acne” is also known as malassezia folliculitis.

A doctor may be able to diagnose this confidently without additional tests if the clinical presentation and history is very suggestive. 

A Wood’s lamp (available in some clinics) can be used to illuminate the lesions, which portray a yellow-green fluorescence.

Proper diagnostic studies include microscopic evaluation of the presence of yeast, cultures, and biopsies. 

You may also have pomade acne (due to the use of certain hair products) if your condition tends to affect your hairline too. 

Do seek out a trusted doctor for advice and treatment! 

Regards,

Dr. Joanna Chan

Fungal acne is also known as pityrosporom folliculitis. It tends to affect areas like the neck, and trunk and limbs and present with a sudden eruption of red bumps, which can look like acne. The forehead and hairline though are not common areas where you develop pityrosporum folliculitis. 

An experienced doctor can often make the diagnosis clinically from the history and appearance of the rash without the need for further testing. However, both acne and pityrosporum folliculitis can often be present at the same time and this can make the diagnosis more tricky.

A skin scraping can be done to confirm the presence of fungal spores which supports a diagnosis of pityrosporum folliculitis.

If you have any concerns, do speak to your doctor/dermatologist who can advice you further on your condition. 

“Fungal acne” should be properly diagnosed and differentiated from acne vulgaris as it is actually a form of folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) and not true acne. “Fungal acne” is also known as malassezia folliculitis.

A doctor may be able to diagnose this confidently without additional tests if the clinical presentation and history is very suggestive. 

A Wood’s lamp (available in some clinics) can be used to illuminate the lesions, which portray a yellow-green fluorescence.

Proper diagnostic studies include microscopic evaluation of the presence of yeast, cultures, and biopsies. 

You may also have pomade acne (due to the use of certain hair products) if your condition tends to affect your hairline too. 

Do seek out a trusted doctor for advice and treatment! 


Regards,

Dr. Joanna Chan


Hi Natalie!

''Fungal acne'', also known as pityrosporum folliculitis or malassezia folliculitis is the infection of hair follicles and sebaceous glands by fungi, characterised multiple tiny acne bumps around the typically sweaty areas like the hairline, chest, and upper back.

It can be clinically diagnosed with a good history and physical examination, but a definitive test would be a fungal scraping (whereby some dead skin cells are scraped off the affected area and looked under the microscope) showing fungal spores or hyphae.

It is important to get a proper diagnosis before starting treatment because antibiotics (for acne vulgaris) could actually worsen "fungal acne".

Hope this helps!

Regards,

Dr Harvey Ho

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