Welcome to DMSI


Patient Portal

Request Records

Is Pityrosporum Folliculitis Causing Your Breakout?

Have you noticed bumps on your back, chest, or shoulders? You may be assuming it is acne but there is a possibility it could be pityrosporum folliculitis. It is a lesser known type of acne, but common inflammatory skin disorder that should be diagnosed by a dermatologist to confirm if it is acne or pityrosporum folliculitis. If it is being treated as acne it can increase in severity and cause more problems for you. Once diagnosed, you will be offered appropriate treatment options. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute describe more about pityrosporum folliculitis, its causes, and treatment options below.


About Pityrosporum Folliculitis

Sometimes mistaken for acne, pityrosporum folliculitis (PF) is when breakouts occur on your skin. These breakouts will occur on your back, chest and/or shoulders. Often mistaken for acne, pityrosporum folliculitis breakouts occur on the back, chest, and/or shoulders. Small bumps, that may look like acne, will appear on a hair follicle. To determine whether your bumps are acne-related or pityrosporum folliculitis-related, look for blackheads and whiteheads. If you do not see any, it is likely you have pityrosporum folliculitis. Another difference between PF and acne is that pityrosporum folliculitis will be associated with itching. Once you have determined it is most likely not acne, consult a dermatologist who can provide a confirmed diagnosis and treatment options.


Causes and Treatment for Pityrosporum Folliculitis

Pityrosporum folliculitis most often occurs in young males, those with high sebum production, excessive sweating, and use of oral steroids, among others. It is not typically a sign of an underlying condition and is instead caused by an overgrowth and infection of a hair follicle. The overgrowth and infection is caused by Malassezia, a naturally occurring yeast on your skin. It gets into hair follicles and causes PF breakouts.

Since treatment options are different than options for acne breakouts, a dermatologist will need to provide a proper diagnosis. During the diagnosis, a dermatologist will gently scrape the skin of the affected area. It is then evaluated under a microscope. Based on their findings, different treatment options will be discussed such as antifungal or at-home options.

Antifungal treatments can be taken orally or in the form of an antifungal shampoo. Oral antifungal treatments will provide the quickest results and are typically the most effective. At-home treatments include shampoos that contain selenium sulfide such as Head and Shoulders. These are good treatment options for those who cannot handle the oral treatments. Keep in mind, results will take slightly longer to appear though. You may need to try both options to determine which works best for your situation. Whichever treatment you choose, your symptoms should subside within a few weeks of use. Unfortunately, symptoms subside but often do not disappear. It is likely that the bumps will reoccur, and treatment will need to continually follow.


Consult With A Dermatologist

If you are ready to get to the bottom of pityrosporum folliculitis, we can help. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help diagnose your pityrosporum folliculitis and provide appropriate treatment options. If you live in Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas, book an appointment to begin the process of working with us.

Was this helpful?

We would love to meet you and get started on a solution!