Pityrosporum (Malassezia) folliculitis in Saudi Arabia--diagnosis and therapeutic trials

Clin Exp Dermatol. 1995 Sep;20(5):406-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.1995.tb01358.x.


Pityrosporum folliculitis (PF) is frequently misdiagnosed as acne vulgaris, resulting in unnecessary and prolonged treatment. Sixty-two patients with PF seen in the Dermatology Clinic, King Gahad Hofuf Hospital, Saudi Arabia were evaluated clinically. The diagnosis was confirmed by routine histology with haemotoxylineosin staining and Periodic acid-Schiff staining. Scrapings of the lesions, especially the molluscum-like papules, were mounted in KOH/Parker blue ink and examined under the microscope. Patients, divided into three groups as follows, were given treatment for 4 weeks: (1) 20 were treated with ketoconazole, 200 mg orally in addition to ketoconazole shampoo 2% daily; (2) 20 were given only ketoconazole, 200 mg daily, orally; (3) 12 used econazole nitrate 1% solution applied twice daily; and (4) 10 used miconazole nitrate 2% cream twice daily. Cases in groups 3 and 4, who did not respond, were given the same treatment as for group 1. All who responded were kept on ketoconazole shampoo 2% twice weekly. PF was commoner in young adult females as the female to male ratio was 2:1 while the mean age was 21.5 years. The most common site involved was the trunk (95%) in the form of papules, pustules and molluscoid lesions. The latter type of lesion yielded the highest number of spores using KOH/Parker blue ink. Biopsy was positive in 87% of the patients but is usually not necessary. Combined topical and systemic ketoconazole produced clearance of the lesions in 20 patients (100%), while systemic therapy only resulted in 75% clearance (15 of 20). Topical econazole and miconazole failed in 20 of 22 (90%) and improved only two patients. There were no significant side-effects from the drugs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Folliculitis / diagnosis*
  • Folliculitis / drug therapy
  • Folliculitis / microbiology
  • Folliculitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Ketoconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Malassezia*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / pathology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Ketoconazole