Can You Pop Fungal Acne
There is no right or wrong way to treat fungal acne. However, it would help if you kept in mind that popping your pimples will not clear up the infection faster and cause scarring. Not only that, but it could potentially spread the disease to other parts of your body as well. If you decide to pop a pimple regardless, make sure to sterilize the area first. You can do this by applying rubbing alcohol to your skin or washing it with soap and water. After using a medicated cream, wait about 15 minutes before popping the pimple.
Ask A Dermatologist: How To Identify And Treat Fungal Acne
Fungal acne isnt hard to treatonce you know thats what youre dealing with. The challenge can be in the fact that fungal acne can look pretty much the same as regular acne. In short, the condition we call fungal acne is the result of an overgrowth of yeast, otherwise known as pityrosporum folliculitis , according to board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach. In fact, to set the record straight: fungal acne is a total misnomer”it actually has nothing to do with fungus, nor is it really acneits a folliculitis, or infection of the tiny hair follicles on the face or body, which leads to papules, small, raised, solid bumps resembling pimples, explains board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban.
We know how difficult it can be to identify and treat this type of acne, so we asked Rabach, Shamban, and board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner to break it all down for you. Below, discover what fungal acne looks like, what can cause it, and of course, fungal acne treatments to be aware of.
Meet the Expert
- Ava Shamban, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles.
- Morgan Rabach, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
Common Causes Of Fungal Acne
The yeast that causes fungal acne is present in every human body. However, it is more prevalent among adolescents, possibly due to the increase in production of sebum in the sebaceous glands during puberty.
Here are some of the main triggers for fungal acne:
- Excessive sweating can cause fungal acne. Hence people living in hot and humid climates are more prone to it as the yeast thrives on sweat. Heavy workouts can also cause it.
- Since fungal acne can be contagious, and yeast has a tendency to spread, it can be spread through close body contact with others.
- Wearing restrictive clothing or sweating under our garments and not showering to wash off the sweat can also be a trigger.
- The use of antibiotics and immunosuppressants are also a cause.
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What Is The Best Cleanser For People With Fungal Acne
People with fungal acne should look for a cleanser that includes salicylic acid and green tea extracts. Salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent used for fungal skin infections. It causes exfoliation of the skin’s stratum corneum layer, removing dead skin cells and fungi. Green tea is rich in catechins, antimicrobial and anti-fungal, and helps destroy bacteria and fungi spores. In one study, subjects with Malassezia infection underwent bath therapy using green tea extracts three times a week over four weeks. Results showed that all subjects experienced a significant reduction in their skin symptoms,
Can Covid Masks Cause More Fungal Acne
Yes, they do. The best environment for fungi is humid, warm places. The mask’s area acts as an incubator, providing the best environment for the skin fungi to flourish and cause acne breakouts under the mask. The fungi that accumulate on the skin under the mask and in the hair follicles clog the skin pores and trigger redness and inflammation.
The single-use surgical masks, made of plastic and other synthetic cloth masks, increase the heat and humidity in the moist environment under the masks and increases the risk for maskne.
Using antibiotics to treat pimples under the mask can paradoxically crease the risk for fungal maskne. Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin and oral antibiotics minocycline and doxycycline destroy the bacteria allowing fungi to overgrow and take their place.
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What Is Fungal Acne Or Yeast Folliculitis
Fungal acne is caused by yeast, a type of fungus that naturally lives on your skin. The problems appear when the body cannot balance this fungus, and an overgrown yeast occurs. Such overgrowth will affect the hair follicles, causing an infection that looks similar to acne.
Sometimes it might appear on people who had regular acne and they misdiagnose it and treat it improperly. It is a very itchy condition that many people have to deal with.
How Is Fungal Acne Diagnosed
If you believe you have symptoms of fungal acne, you may want to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the skin.
To determine if your symptoms are a result of fungal acne, a dermatologist will ask you about the symptoms youre experiencing. This will likely include:
- how long youve had the breakout
- what youve used to treat it
- what symptoms youre experiencing
In some cases, the provider may also want to do one of the following:
- They may do a simple, painless skin scraping and examine the scraping under a microscope to look for any yeast responsible for fungal acne.
- They may take a skin sample, or biopsy. This is a simple process done in the office. The sample will be sent to a lab where it can be tested to confirm the fungal acne diagnosis.
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Here Are Some Ways You Can Treat ‘fungal Acne’
Since MF is a fungus, it’s not treated like regular acne. Here are a few things that you can do to help manage your breakout:
- Exfoliate your skin. Like most breakouts, you have to remove oils, dead skin, and bacteria to clear your pores.
- Try over-the-counter anti-fungals. Certain types of anti-fungal creams can help manage your breakout. Hack: Try using your anti-dandruff shampoo!
- Manage your microbiome. The skin on your face is incredibly sensitive. You must practice proper skin hygiene through regular washing with warm water and weekly exfoliation.
- Talk to your dermatologist. It’s possible your breakout needs medical intervention. A dermatologist can assist by providing prescription anti-fungal medication that helps to treat your MF.
C Essential Oils For Fungal Acne
Recent research shows that certain invasive fungal infections are unresponsive to the known fungal treatments. Whereas, plant derived medicines and extracts have exhibited better results while treating such conditions. This has led to the acknowledgement of antifungal properties in the essential oils mentioned below.
1. Virgin Coconut Oil
One of the innumerable benefits of virgin coconut oil is its antifungal nature. Regular application to the affected areas can prevent the growth and spread of the fungus on your skin.
2. Tea Tree Oil
A potent fungicide, terpenes or terpenoid phenol present in tea tree oil, makes it an indispensable fungal acne cure. It attacks the fungal cells and prevents them from proliferating. Tea tree oil also contains powerful antioxidants that help improve your overall skin condition within a short time of application.
3. Turmeric Oil
The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of turmeric oil is not a new discovery. Curcumin present in turmeric extracts and oils is highly effective in suppressing fungal growth. Application of turmeric oil on fungal acne can permanently heal the lesions. Turmeric also helps brighten your skin and prevents the formation of acne scars.
4. Thyme Oil
5. Clove Oil
6. Oregano Oil
7. Eucalyptus Oil
8. Peppermint Oil
The antifungal abilities of peppermint oil is highly useful in treating fungal acne. It is safe for regular use and can completely heal fungal infections on face, forehead and other parts of your skin.
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What Causes Fungal Acne
When your skin is hot and damp, it is more likely to be damaged. This can happen when youâre exercising for long periods of time or if you live in a hot, humid area.
Damage or irritation to the hair follicle causes inflammation. This lets germs get into the area and cause an infection. This is what usually causes pityrosporum folliculitis, or fungal acne.
This might happen from:
- Clusters of small red bumps
- Spots on your forehead and chin, and the sides of your face
- Spots on your chest, back, neck, and arms
- Acne that doesnât respond to treatment
- Irritated hair follicles
Sometimes people who have pityrosporum folliculitis also have acne and other types of fungal infections like seborrheic dermatitis and tinea versicolor.
Whats Causing My Fungal Acne
So why are you getting a yeast infectionon your face? There can be a few reasons. Yeast grows in moist, warm environments.
You can create the perfect habitat for yeast to grow by:
- Not showering after a workout. Even if you dont think you sweat much, without rinsing off, the perspiration on your face, back and chest can keep your skin just wet enough for yeast to grow.
- Wearing wet gym clothes too long. Change your clothes as soon as you finish your workout. Leaving them on creates a moist environment for yeast.
- Dietary changes. Some carbohydrates, like sugar, feed yeast. If you regularly eat a lot of added sugar, you could be setting yourself up for fungal acnebreakouts.
- Compromised immune system. This is a rare cause, but if you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, it may be more likely for you to experience fungal acne.
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Where Is Fungal Acne Located
Because Pityrosporum and Malassezia fungi depend on oil for survival, fungal acne is most common in oil-rich areas of the face and body such as the forehead , sides of the nose, chin and the upper back, chest, and shoulders. It can pop up in the same areas as traditional acne and seborrheic dermatitis and can even occur simultaneously. If you’re not sure what skin condition you have, consult your local physician, or seek a dermatologist.
Pityrosporum folliculitis in a 34-year-old construction worker. The condition developed after working in a hot, humid environment for a few days. .
How To Prevent And Treat Fungal Maskne
Everybody needs to use a covid mask. That said, the type of mask is important.
The best prevention of fungal acne would be using cotton masks that are preferably infused with anti-fungal copper and silver. The treatment should include a gentle cleanser that has anti-fungal effects.
Cleansers with salicylic acid and green tea extract can be helpful and are readily available. Same as with other types of fungal acne, the use of Nizoral shampoo every other day is expected to be an excellent addition to your skincare routine.
The best over-the-counter treatment creams for maskne contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Topical or antibiotics should be avoided.
Fungal acne/folliculitis can last for many weeks, months, or even years if not treated correctly. If treated with the right products, it can begin clear in as little as a few days, with significant improvement in just a matter of weeks. More severe cases may take longer but typically do respond with these same treatments.
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Why Do You Have Fungal Acne
Oils and fatty acids
Malassezia fungi live on everyone’s skin. When yeast feeds on large amounts of human sebum, Malassezia fungi becomes problematic. So oils and fatty acids are one of the reasons for fungal acne.
Hot and humid weather makes us sweaty. And also, Tight-fitting clothing can trap sweat and sebum. I mentioned that the sweaty essentially provides a way for Malassezia to grow into fungal acne.
Yeast is not a great treat in treating fungal acne. So if you are using a serum or essence made with fermented ingredients, it makes you fungal acne.
Diet is not typically the initial cause of fungal acne. If you have high sugar content in your diet, it will be a contributing factor!
How Is It Treated
Remember, because this condition is caused by the yeast Malessezia furfur, it will not respond to the traditional antibacterial and anti-inflammatory acne treatments. Anti-yeast and antifungal treatments are needed. For mild disease, you can start by using a topical antifungal cream or lotion, applied daily to the affected areas. For a more prolonged or significant outbreak, your dermatologist may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. Maintenance treatment may be needed as well because this condition can recur, especially when the environment is right for the yeast to proliferate.If youre struggling with facial breakouts that arent improving or responding to over-the-counter treatments, see a board-certified dermatologist to help find the best treatment and tailor a skin care regimen thats right for you.Susan Massick is a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an associate professor in the Ohio State College of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter .
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Should I See A Skin Doctor For Cystic Acne On My Cheek Or Can I Use Otc Products
Cystic acne happens when an infection/inflammatory process goes deep into your skin. If a cyst bursts, the infection can spread, causing more breakouts. By definition, cystic acne tends to scar. Hence if your cystic acne looks very red, angry and inflamed like that 2 big zits on the chin:Its best to nip it in the bud early by seeing a dermatologist/doctor for effective treatment.
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How To Know For Sure That You Have Fungal Acne
A few things can clue you in that youre dealing with fungal acne:
- Your acne doesnt respond to over-the-counter or prescription acne treatments, or they make the problem worse
- Your acne feels itchy or burns to the touch
- You have other signs of fungal overgrowth, like dandruff, tinea versicolor, psoriasis, eczema, etc.
The only way to know for sure whether your acne is fungal or bacterial is to have your dermatologist grab a sample of the surface skin cells and test them. Dont worry it takes a few seconds and its painless.
While youre waiting for answers, you can experiment with over-the-counter and natural ways to fight fungus in your body .
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How To Treat Fungal Acne
Fungal acne typically does not respond to traditional acne medications, but it can be improved with the use of topical antifungals, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. If you suspect you have fungal acne, try using a dandruff shampoo as a body wash. These contain anti-fungal ingredients like pyrithione zinc or selenium sulfide, which help balance your skins pH levels and decrease yeast on the skin. Both he and Dr. King suggest Dove Dermacare Scalp Dryness and Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for sensitive skin types. With any product, the key is to let the product sit on your skin before rinsing off.
Other similar products containing active ingredients might also do the trick. Look for an antifungal cream with econazole nitrate, ketoconazole, or clotrimazole, and apply it to the affected area twice daily, says Dr. King. Dont use topical or systemic antibiotics. This can deplete bacteria on the skin and allow yeast to grow unchecked.
If these treatments are not working, see your board-certified dermatologist, who can confirm the diagnosis, and if needed, prescribe an oral antifungal medication. This prescription will usually work much faster because it penetrates more effectively into the follicle, says Dr. King.
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What Triggers ‘fungal Acne’
MF is caused by a buildup of yeast, which throws the sensitive microbiome that is your skin out of whack, leading to its development. However, there are a few conditions that can trigger fungal acne. It’s most common in:
- Those who have recently taken antibiotics
- People who have HIV/AIDS
- Those who have recently spent time in the intensive care unit
- Recent transplant patients due to immunosuppressants
However, it’s important to mention that the yeast responsible for producing fungal acne is present in everyone’s bodymeaning everyone is susceptible to this condition.
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When In Doubt See A Dermatologist To Get Rid Of Fungal Acne Quickly
If your symptoms still persist after about three weeks, its time to see a dermatologist. Theyll be able to confirm your diagnosis and may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, which will work faster to treat the breakouts than a cream or shampoo because topical treatments may have a harder time getting into the follicle8.
Unfortunately, theres always a risk of recurrence with fungal acne after its treatedespecially right after it clears up, Dr. Chung says. Its not totally understood why, but drug resistance, switching seasons, and changing lifestyle habits are all thought to play a role in the recurrence of it.
As a preventive measure, she tells her patients who deal with fungal acne to use an antifungal product in place of normal body wash as often as once a week, though she adds that theres no magic number for how often to work it into your routine. Once your system has recovered, you can ease off on the antifungal wash, but stopping it altogether might put you at risk for a recurrence.
Antifungal products are touted as being safe for use when you have fungal acne, but that doesnt mean other products are full of yeast. Dr. Chung explains that labeling just means that those products wont contribute to the growth of fungus. As long as youre doing other things to keep the growth of that fungus in check, you shouldnt feel pressured to seek them out.