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Fungal Acne vs Closed Comedones: What’s the Difference?

A baby’s cheek shows signs of neonatal acne.

Have you noticed acne or bumps on your little one’s skin?

Fungal acne and closed comedones can look similar to each other, especially if you don’t have a background in dermatology. To make things more complicated, fungal acne can sometimes cause closed comedones.

Recognizing exactly what those bumps are is the first step to controlling the symptoms. Are closed comedones fungal acne? They can be, but aren’t always. Because fungal acne and closed comedones are related but distinct, it’s important to understand the differences between them.

Let’s look at what each of these skin conditions is, what makes them different, and options for controlling their symptoms.

What is Fungal Acne?

In the simplest terms, fungal acne is caused by a fungal infection. More specifically, it involves a yeast called Malassezia. This yeast feeds on sebum, an oily substance that comes from the sebaceous glands present in every person.

Sebum is natural and beneficial. Unfortunately, it can also fuel the Malassezia yeast. Today’s Parent explains that newborns have higher levels of Malassezia than people in other age groups. That can make the overgrowth of yeast, and fungal acne, more common for babies.

The yeast can enter hair follicles and sebaceous glands. When it does, the body produces an immune response. That includes inflammation, which leads to small red bumps called papules.

As the Cleveland Clinic points out, those bumps can eventually become whiteheads. And a whitehead is a closed comedone.

If you’re wondering if you or your child has Malassezia folliculitis fungal acne vs. closed comedones, the answer can be both. A key difference between fungal and other types of acne is that fungal acne often causes itching. The presence or absence of an itching sensation can help you tell the difference.

What are Closed Comedones?

A closed comedone is a type of pimple, commonly called a whitehead. That name is very descriptive, as whiteheads look like a raised bump with a whitish interior. They can be caused by fungal acne, or without an infection when sebum and dead skin clog a hair follicle.

Remember that fungal acne is a specific type of acne, while a closed comedone is a specific type of pimple. Is your skin condition closed comedones or fungal acne? Sometimes, it can be both.

Wondering about acne on your child’s face? It could be neonatal acne.

Shop Happy Cappy Shampoo

Are you confident that your child is experiencing neonatal acne? Happy Cappy’s Baby Shampoo for Cradle Cap and Seborrheic Dermatitis can help.

By using it as a facewash, you can soothe neonatal acne.

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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