Demystifying Skin Issues: Understanding Closed Comedones vs Fungal Acne

Technically, fungal acne is not acne so here we will learn about closed comedones vs. fungal acne. That is a result of a very distinct cause.

Bacteria are to blame for clinical acne. A bacterial overgrowth that soon develops into acne and pimples can be brought on by clogged pores brought on by pollution, dead skin cells, sebum, and heavy skin care products.

Conversely, yeast overgrowth causes fungus to cause acne (Malassezia). Your skin naturally contains yeast. You may develop acne, though, if the hair follicles become overgrown.

What is fungus-induced acne resemble? Little red pimples can appear on your chest, upper back, forehead, cheeks, or fungus acne.

What are Closed Comedones and Comedonal Acne?

A specific type of acne is one with comedones. Comedonal acne is less severe because it doesn’t result in cysts and nodules like inflammatory acne does.

Open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones are the two types of comedonal acne (whiteheads).

Contrary to popular belief, dirt doesn’t turn blackheads black. The blackness you observe results from the dirt obstructing your pores and oxidizing since the acne is open.

Also, whiteheads aren’t necessarily white. Closed comedones and fungus acne can both frequently appear as red pimples, making them quite similar.

What causes fungal acne

Your skin is more susceptible to harm when it’s warm and wet. This may occur if you live in a hot, humid climate or exercise for extended periods.

Inflammation results from injury or irritation to the hair follicle. This allows bacteria to enter the region and spread illness. This is the typical trigger for pityrosporum folliculitis, often known as fungal acne.

The other causes of fungal acne could occur because of:

  • Sweating and exercise
  • Tight clothing
  • Tight equipment
  • Skin rubbing
  • Fungal acne affects boys and men more than it does women.

What causes closed comedones

Closed comedones (whiteheads) are non-inflamed skin lesions that develop when oil and skin debris clog skin pores. To help remove the clog and enhance your appearance, they can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription lotions and physical extraction.

Closed comedones vs. fungal acne: what are the differences?

Closed comedones vs. fungus acne have extremely similar appearances. They appear as tiny red pimples on your forehead, upper back, or cheeks. But they are in no way comparable. One is that many factors bring them on.

Yeast overgrowth is the cause of fungal acne. In contrast, closed comedones develop due to an overproduction of sebum in a layer of skin.

Closed comedones vs. fungal acne require completely different approaches to therapy.

 How to Treat Fungal Acne and Closed Comedones

Your therapy method can only be successful if you mistake fungal acne for closed comedones. Because of this, it’s crucial to determine the type of acne you have before beginning any treatment.

Topical retinoids and drying agents are effective treatments for comedonal acne. Also, reducing the excessive oil production in your skin can successfully treat comedones.

You might require a prescription for systemic antibiotics if you have closed comedones and inflammatory acne. As an alternative, hormonal medications (such as contraceptives) can potentially aid in treating severe acne.

But antibiotics won’t help you much if you have fungal acne. You will require anti-fungal medicine instead. Try a topical antifungal cream first, but you could need more if your condition is serious.

Also, under the guidance of a board-certified dermatologist, you might need to attempt oral antifungal medication if your skin doesn’t respond to topical therapy.

Remember not to pop pimples no matter what form of acne you have. Open lesions are more problematic than acne since they are so easily contaminated.

When an open zit heals, it may leave a scar or melanin spots, which cause the surrounding skin tone to shift. Because of this, it is preferable to put your faith in a treatment alternative.

Fungal Acne Treatment

Spending time in damp or humid environments increases the risk of developing fungal acne. The breeding habitat for bacterial acne is warm, damp skin. You should take certain precautions to reduce your chance of developing fungal acne if you exercise frequently, participate in sports, or reside in an area with excessive heat and humidity all year.

Try to shorten the period you perspire heavily. Shorter sessions or other kinds of exercise may result from this. Keep your skin from chafing during exercises by using comfortable, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable material, such as cotton.

After working out, take a shower and put on dry clothing as soon as you can. Taking a chilly or cold shower after exercising can help you stop sweating. You should visit your doctor for prescription antifungal medications or topical antifungal treatments for fungal acne because fungus-related acne is essentially a yeast infection. Make sure to apply any creams or ointments in the direction that your hair naturally grows.

Avoid rubbing the lumps while waiting for your fungus acne to disappear. This makes it more difficult to cure the infection and can spread it.

Closed comedones treatment

Treatment for comedones acne can be quite difficult. This kind of breakout is frustrating since treatment methods can take many weeks to a few months to start working.

Changing to a healthier lifestyle is the first step. Limit your intake of sweets, dairy products, and harmful fats. If you smoke, give it up. Make careful to cleanse your face at most twice each day.

Next, try a topical medication available without a prescription that has one of these active ingredients:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Retinoids
  • Also, opt for oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers, and cosmetics.

If over-the-counter remedies are ineffective, a prescription-strength drug can help. They could consist of hormone therapy, prescription-strength retinoids, or antibiotics. Dermatologists can also do electrosurgery, cryotherapy, or microdermabrasion, which involves freezing the skin’s surface to eliminate comedones.

Red and blue light treatment is a relatively modern but professionally tested way of treating acne. Red light reduces inflammation and promotes healing, while blue light eliminates acne-causing germs on the skin.


Acne caused by fungi and comedones is not the same thing. In the clinical sense, fungal acne is not acne, as we have already discussed.

Malassezia, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis, is a fungus that affects the hair follicles, where comedonal acne is brought on by a concoction of bacteria, oil, and clogged pores.

Because of this, the methods of treating these two skin disorders are highly dissimilar. Determining which illness you have might be challenging, but speaking with a doctor or dermatologist can help you receive the right diagnosis and the best possible care.


1. How do I know if I have comedonal or fungal acne?

These tiny papules or pustules resemble a mini-acne outbreak. While comedonal acne can include lesions of all shapes and sizes, fungal acne typically has a more uniform appearance. Redness, irritation, and occasionally a stinging feeling are typical signs of fungal acne.

2. How do you know if comedones are closed?

A closed comedo is like a menacing whisper compared to an inflamed, angry-red pimple, the skin-care equivalent of a scream. Closed comedones are white or skin-colored bumps that progressively enlarge beneath the skin’s surface until they are large enough to be seen in profile. They appear to have no head and are impossible to pop.

3. What type of acne are closed comedones?

Whiteheads: Often called closed comedones, develop when an entire hair follicle is obstructed. Blackheads, also known as open comedones, are dark spots on the skin that develop due to surface pigments accumulating in the pores. Some individuals think that the dots are dirt.

4. Are closed comedones permanent?

Closed comedones can occasionally disappear on their own without requiring much care. However, they typically don’t.

5. Is fungal acne common?

Malassezia yeast fungus infects hair follicles, causing fungal acne, a common skin ailment. The disorder is also known as Pityrosporum folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Hanif is the Director of Aesthetic Medicine. She is a board-certified physician in Aesthetic Medicine who specializes in using non-surgical alternatives in order to enhance one's appearance through Botox and fillers.

Read More