“‘Fungal acne’ is actually not acne at all but rather a type of folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) that results when yeast becomes trapped inside of hair follicles, leading to acneiform pustules and nodules,” board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD tells mbg.
Here’s how to spot the difference: “Pityrosporum folliculitis manifest as small red bumps centered around hair follicles,” Marcus explains. “Unlike typical acne, fungal folliculitis can itch.”
The area can also help you decipher if it’s acne or folliculitis: “The breakouts are most commonly seen on the chest, back, posterior arms and face,” board-certified dermatologist Lian Mack, M.D., FAAD notes.
If you can’t tell (it isn’t always easy), visit your dermatologist. “In the setting of an office visit, a board-certified dermatology can also perform a scraping of the skin and look under the microscope which reveals the organism,” Mack says.