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Pityrosporum Folliculitis


Overview


Most people are familiar with folliculitis - it is an infection of the hair follicle that produces small pimples in the area where the infection takes place, and the pimples usually appear as a whitehead, although it can sometimes be a blackhead or have a red and inflamed appearance. Folliculitis can be caused by many different things and can take many different forms, but it is usually caused by an excess of bacteria. Pityrosporum folliculitis is a particular type of folliculitis that is different from common folliculitis. It is most commonly seen in males that are adolescents or young adults. It tends to appear on their shoulders, back and chest, and rather than being caused by a bacteria, it is caused by a type of yeast that is present on the surface of everybody's skin. This fungus used to be known as pityrosporum, but now the medical community refers to the entire class of yeasts that it is a part of as Malassezia. Malassezia can cause a variety of different kinds of out breaks. If you have been thinking that you have an itchy case of acne and have been frustrated that your acne medication isn't clearing it up, there's a good chance that your outbreak isn't being caused by bacteria, but rather it is from yeast getting down into your hair follicles.







Causes


There are a number of different things that can cause the yeast cells that usually exist on your skin without causing any problems to explode into the itchy, red rash that is pityrosporum folliculitis. If you are taking an antibiotic such as tetracylcline for an infection it can sometimes have the side effect of killing the bacteria on your skin that keeps the yeast population under control. With that bacteria gone, the yeast will flourish and cause an outbreak. Hot, humid sticky conditions can cause the typical red rash and itchy pustules, especially if the skin's pores and hair follicles are clogged by lotions, suntan oils and cosmetics. Even clothing that rubs against the skin can encourage an overgrowth of yeast. There are also a few disease states that can make the yeast overgrow on the surface of your skin, including certain kinds of cancer and diabetes, Crohn's disease, and Hodgkins Disease.







Symptoms


The symptoms of Pityrosporum Folliculitis are white headed pustules or red bumps that are itchy and spread out across the shoulders, upper arms, back and chest. When an outbreak gets too bad it can turn into a rash. It is often difficult to tell the difference between pityrosporum folliculitis and acne or another form of folliculitis caused by bacteria. This is why it is so common for antibiotics to be prescribed incorrectly for the treatment of this condition. If you have this kind of outbreak and your doctor puts you on antibiotics, pay careful attention to whether your situation gets worse, because if it does your bumps and rash are caused by yeast, not bacteria.







Treatments


There are several different options available for treatment of pityrosporum folliculitis. Once it is correctly diagnosed, your doctor will probably suggest that you try an over the counter solution first, because for many people that is all that is needed to clear up the problem. Some people just use a dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue and put it directly on their skin, allowing it to sit for about fifteen minutes a day two or three times a week. Another way of treating the condition is with any of a number of antifungal creams and lotions. The most popular of these is ketoconazole, which is also known as Nizoral. Nizolral is available as a shampoo, a lotion and an ointment. It is also available as a prescription medication that is taken orally. It is not only effective at clearing up folliculitis, but also treats other fungal and yeast-based conditions such as athlete's foot and ringworm. Many people also report success using other athlete's foot treatments such as Lotrimin.


When an over the counter treatment doesn't work, some people end up taking oral prescription medications. There are three different antifungal medications that are commonly used. All of them are in the same class of drugs, and all work the same way - they break down the membrane that surrounds the yeast cell, which makes it die. The three drugs are Ketoconazole, Econazole, and Fluconazole. All of them work best when used in combination with one of the tropical treatments, although it is important to remember that if you are taking both an oral antifungal and using a topical that once you stop taking the oral your outbreak could come back. The best way to prevent this from happening is to continue using the over the counter treatment about once a week as a preventative measure.


Some people are not comfortable using medications, especially not orally. If you would prefer a natural approach, there are a few natural remedies for killing fungus that have worked well to get rid of a folliculitis rash. These include tea tree oil treatments, vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.



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