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Pityrosporum folliculitis in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Pityrosporum folliculitis in Adult

Contributors: Vivian Wong MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Pityrosporum folliculitis is an acute, intensely pruritic eruption caused by Malassezia furfur, the causative organism of tinea versicolor. The condition frequently manifests as follicular papules and pustules on the upper trunk (ie, upper back and chest as well as shoulders) of young to middle-aged adults. It also can affect the face, especially on the forehead along the hairline, the neck, and scalp.

The condition is also seen frequently in the immunocompromised, including patients on chronic oral prednisone and those with diabetes. High heat, humidity, and occlusive clothing or personal care products predispose to the condition. Recent use of oral antibiotics is also a risk factor.

Underlying conditions include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, immunosuppressive therapy, antibiotic therapy, Down syndrome, and systemic candidiasis.


L73.8 – Other specified follicular disorders

428172002 – Malassezia folliculitis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Bacterial Folliculitis from Staphylococcus aureus
  • Pseudomonas folliculitis (hot tub folliculitis)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Folliculitis due to Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Varicella (VZV), or Molluscum contagiosum
  • Steroid acne
  • Immunosuppression-associated eosinophilic folliculitis – another pruritic cause of folliculitis
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae
  • Tinea barbae
  • Keratosis pilaris
  • Arthropod bite or sting
  • Miliaria rubra
  • Acne keloidalis nuchae
  • Flat wart
  • Milia
  • Candidiasis
  • Seabather
  • Transient acantholytic dermatosis

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:03/20/2018
Last Updated:02/08/2021
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Pityrosporum folliculitis in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Pityrosporum folliculitis : Folliculitis, Primarily truncal distribution, Superior chest, Upper back, Pruritus, Smooth papules
Clinical image of Pityrosporum folliculitis - imageId=2622307. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of several follicularly based brown papules and a few tiny pustules with some postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, in an immunocompromised patient.'
A close-up of several follicularly based brown papules and a few tiny pustules with some postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, in an immunocompromised patient.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.