Unlike other kinds of folliculitis, pityrosporum folliculitis is not caused by bacteria. In this case, the blame goes to yeast. Also known as pityrosporum, the pesky little fungus is famous for all the wrong reasons. It manages to penetrate the skin next to your hair strands and goes deep within the epidermis until it encounters the hair follicles.
Once the yeast passes through the cell wall of the follicle, it multiplies and, because of the sheer number of yeast cells, the follicle can no longer function properly.
The result is a rather ugly and itchy acne – like eruption on the surface of your skin. Be careful, it can easily be mistaken for the real acne, fooling your dermatologist into prescribing you a useless antibiotic for your skin problems. Yeast is not sensible to antibiotics because it is not a bacterium. When the “acne” will not disappear, your attending physician might want to check for pityrosporum folliculitis.
You have to keep in mind that this kind of yeast is present all over your skin. It is a normal saprophytic fungus, causing no harm to some people and pityrosporum folliculitis to others. Of course, it is a different yeast than the one that is a part of the baking process.
It usually manifests itself in the cape distribution (upper chest, upper back), the pimples being uniform and pinhead sized. It affects youngsters and middle – aged people of both sexes and it is often encountered in persons which a tendency for seborrheic dermatitis or severe dandruff.
One important thing about pityrosporum folliculitis is that it is not an infection in itself. This brand of the annoying condition is merely an exacerbation of something that is already there in normal quantities. This overgrowth of yeast is influenced by external factors, such as permanent humidity or heat, and by the low resistance of the host.
There are no fully investigated reasons as to why some people develop pityrosporum folliculitis and others do not, but there are some things that can indicate the probability of you being one of the unfortunate ones:
- If you sweat profusely, you should refrain yourself from using clothes that do not “breathe”, like synthetics. Yeats grows preferentially in hot, humid and sweaty environments, thus making the skin beneath your bathing suit or cycling costume the best place to develop.
- When sunbathing, you must pay attention to the kind of sunscreen you use: if it is too greasy, it will give the yeats on your skin just the right kind of nutrients to grow happily. Also, if you use emollients (body oils or creams), they should be hydrating, but not overly so because your own body already produces its own oils and yeats feeds on skin oil. However, you cannot control your production of oil, since it depends on hormonal factors.
- Decreased immunity: due to a debilitating cold, or a more serious disease, your body cannot fight infection properly. Among other things that you could catch, yeast is the least important. However, you have to be aware that it is also the one that you will surely have, since it is already on your skin.
- Stress and fatigue: both lead and are caused by decreased immunity. In turn, the lowered immunity allows the yeast to develop, causing pityrosporum folliculitis.
- Diabetes: this serious illness causes changes in your hormone levels, therefore disrupting your body oil production. It can modify the composition of the oils or just their quantity. Anyhow, it generates an appropriate environment for pityrosporum.
- Oral medication: steroids (prednisone) or contraceptive pills have startling effects on the production and distribution of hormones in your body.
- Obesity: if you are overweight, you tend to sweat profusely and to overheat. Make sure you always use natural fibers clothing to allow your skin to cool.