What Exactly Is Fungal Acne Then
Fungal acne is actually an infection of the hair follicle scientifically called pityrosporum folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis. No matter what you call it, inflammation and itchy, acne-like eruptions within hair follicles are caused by excess yeast known as Malassezia, which is in the same biological classification as fungi, Shereene Idriss, a cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City tells Allure.
Malassezia actually lives on everyone’s skin, Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says. However, yeast levels tend to increase during hot, humid weather or when you’re sweaty. “High yeast levels promote inflammation, which, in turn, manifest on the skin as pus bumps,” Zeichner adds.
Unlike true acne, fungal acne can be contagious in close encounters, says Lily Talakoub, a board-certified dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in McLean, Virginia. Because yeast is involved, the infection has a tendency to spread.
Some other differences include intense itching and placement. “Inflammatory acne tends to affect the face and is usually either due to increased oil production, follicular plugging, excess bacterial growth of propionibacterium acnes, or hormonal changes,” Idriss says. “Fungal acne, on the other hand, frequently appears as uniform papules and pustules on the chest and back or in areas of occlusive clothing.”
Turmeric Paste To Treat Fungal Acne
If you have fungal acne on the face, then for you this ultra-antibiotic turmeric paste can be effective. You can also add honey or milk to make the paste.
Honey is antibacterial, and milk aids in the removal of dirt that can clog pores. Milk and honey both help to remove acne scars and give you a clear, blemish-free complexion.
What Causes Pityrosporum Folliculitis
Malassezia, the yeast responsible for fungal acne, lives on everyones skin. Its only when its balance is thrown out of whack that an outbreak occurs. Pityrosporum folliculitis stems from a range of imbalances.
Your skin microbiome, the balance of beneficial and troublesome microorganisms on your skin, can shift from changes in your diet, environment, medication, workout regimen, skincare routine, or dozens of other reasons. Sometimes it will rebalance itself, and other times, youll need to step in to help it along. Yeasts love warm, wet environments, so keeping skin dry and clean during workouts and after can help. Yeasts also love sugar and carbs, so you may notice improvement after cutting back on sweets.
Not every instance of fungal acne gets scientifically investigated, but folliculitis that follows specific medical conditions grabs scientists attention. Researchers also have observed fungal acne crop up:
- After taking antibiotics
- If you have HIV and AIDS
- After spending time in intensive care
- After transplant surgery, Note: patients take immunosuppressants after transplants so the common thread seems to be a weakened immune system
Or, you could have fungal acne without having experienced any of these. There are plenty of conditions that create the ideal environment for fungal acne that scientists havent investigated yet.
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Pm Routine To Clear Fungal Acne
1.) Oil cleanse with the Albolene moisturizing cleanser to remover all makeup and sunscreen.
2.) Water-Based Cleanse with the Vanicream Gentle Cleanser. Then pat your skin dry leaving a bit of moisture.
3.) Combine a dime-size amount of Nizoral in your hands with a bit of water to activate the shampoo. Then apply the shampoo to dry skin like a face mask. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water.
4.) Evenly cover your skin with 2-3 pumps of the Cosrx HA Essence. Wait a few minutes for the essence to fully absorb into the skin.
3.) Apply an even layer of the La Roche Posay Toleraine Fluid all over your face.
Excessive Use Of Antibiotics
Excessive use of oral or topical antibiotics can lead to fungal acne. It happens when you use these antibiotics they destroy your natural layer of good bacteria on your face, hence accelerating yeast production on your skin, leading it to fungal infection.
This fungal acne can appear anywhere on your face, cheeks, nose area, forehead are the most common ones.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Fungal Acne
It is advisable to visit a dermatologist if your fungal acne condition does not improve in a few weeks with herbal remedies. To treat fungal acne your dermatologist is most likely to prescribe antifungal ointments that contain clotrimazole, ketoconazole. Depending on the severity of the condition oral antifungal medicines such as oral itraconazole, terbinafine or fluconazole may be given.
However, these drugs often have serious side effects such as nausea, gastrointestinal distress, hepatotoxicity and others. They may also interfere with certain medications. Hence, inform your doctor about your past medical records and ongoing medical treatments to avoid complications.
The Last Word
Fungal acne can be difficult to diagnose, as they are quite similar to common acne in appearance. It may last a long time or even deteriorate if you keep treating it with common acne treatments. Once diagnosed, follow a complete herbal skincare routine and Ayurvedic fungal acne treatments to naturally treat the condition. Ayurvedic herbs recommended to treat fungal acne not only prevent fungal growth but also treat internal factors causing the fungal infection.
Fungal Acne: How To Identify It
“Fungal acne can look like regular acne, but there are key differences,” Sue Y. Nabi, founder of vegan skincare line Orveda says. “Acne breakouts vary in size and tend to feature blackheads or whiteheads on the face, while fungal acne will usually appear as red bumps or pustules of the same size, but they will be visible mainly on the chest, upper arms, and back â rarely the face. Pityrosporum folliculitis normally lives in all hairy areas including the scalp, where it is the main cause of dandruff, and this happens when this fungus becomes predominant among your skin microbiome.”
And if your regular acne treatments aren’t working, that may be a sign that it’s more than just topical. “Be suspicious if acne doesn’t respond to traditional therapies that focus on bacteria and hormone imbalances,” Frank says. And Roff insists that rarely does fungal acne appear as individual bumps. “It appears more in clusters,” she says.
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Fungal Acne Vs Bacterial Acne
What does fungal acne look like? Fungal acne is difficult to discern from traditional acne. Heres how you can tell the difference between fungal acne and bacterial acne. While fungal acne can potentially happen anywhere on the body, the easiest way to tell the difference between fungal acne and traditional bacterial acne is the location. Traditional acne occurs mainly on the cheeks, jawline, and T-zone . Acne along the hairline or on your upper back, shoulders, and upper chest is more commonly associated with fungal acne.Fungal acne appears as small, uniform red bumps filled with pus. By comparison, traditional acne comedones will progress at different rates and vary in severity and size.
Fungal acne is characteristically itchier than traditional acne. It is especially worse on hot summer days.
How Does Fungal Acne Differ From Typical Acne
Regular acne is usually scattered, mainly on the face, and the breakouts have different lesions: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, etc. Fungal acne looks a bit differentit usually looks like small bumps and pustules of similar size and shape. Another difference is that acne can affect anyone, old or young. Malassezia folliculitis typically affects young adults, especially those who live in, or who have visited, warm, tropical climates because of the high temperatures and humidity .
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Unlike acne, Malassezia folliculitis is usually itchyalmost 80% of people with fungal acne have this symptom . You will commonly find fungal acne more often on the trunk than on the face . When it does occur on the face, it is usually on the chin or the sides, rather than the central face like in typical acne .
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Contact With Others & Compromised Immune System
Researchers believe that fungal acne can be contagious and that this infection can spread from person to person through physical contact. The risk of developing fungal acne also increases if you have a immunosuppressed or weakened immune system. If you are immunodeficient, it means that your body has a weakened ability to fight against a variety of infections such as bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Having a weakened immune system is something you are born with or something that develops as a result of an illness or medication. With your bodys decreased ability to fight infection, you can be more at risk for developing fungal acne like since your immune system cannot fight this infection.
Acne Cannot Be Caused By Fungus
Just the very term fungal acne is a contradiction in terms because acne is defined as a chronic condition caused by a genetic dysfunction called Retention Hyperkeratosis . RH is a disease that causes an overproduction of skin cells to get backed up in the follicle which then creates little acne seeds called microcomedones. These seeds then grow like a flower due to a number of internal and external factors like diet, products, and bacteria called triggers. If the seed becomes big enough to rupture the follicle wall, inflammation sets in but inflammation is just a symptom of acne, not the cause of it. So acne is a formation of lesions formed primarily by dead skin cells, not fungus.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Fungal Acne According To Dermatologists
Fungal acne can be stubborn and difficult to treatif you don’t use the right fungal acne products! That being said, by implementing a good fungal acne skincare routine with the right topical treatments, including antifungal medications and targetted acne medications, it is possible to treat fungal acne effectively and very quickly.
When In Doubt See A Dermatologist
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 follicle.
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 resistance to the drug, changing seasons, and changing 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.
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What Causes Small Bumps On The Forehead
Now, are you wondering what triggered fungal acne in the first place, and why are you struggling with it?
Honestly, its completely fine and yeast grows on everyones skin. It only causes problems when it starts growing excessively or in an imbalanced way.
It flourishes in human sebum and this is why people in hot/humid countries are more prone to it.
Patients with diabetes, HIV, Hodgkins disease, organ or bone marrow transplant recipients, or those with nutritional disorders, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and immunologic deficiencies are more susceptible to Malassezia folliculitis .
Continuous use of broad-spectrum antibiotics escalates the growth of yeast in the body.
Similarly, birth control pills, pregnancy, steroids, immunosuppression, and stress can cause fungal acne.
Additionally, hot weather, sweating, high humidity, and some skin care products can make it look worse.
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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Who Gets Fungal Acne
While fungal acne can potentially affect anyone, it can be more common among certain populations.
Newborns will sometimes develop small pimples on their cheeks and face. This is a form of fungal acne that comes as a result of the babys immune system and skin flora still developing. While this this is common, theres generally no need for treatment. As the babys immune system matures, the acne typically goes away on its own without leaving scars.
2. People with Suppressed Immune Systems
Those who have a condition that suppresses the immune system and those who take immunosuppressant medication may also be vulnerable to fungal acne. A suppressed immune system prevents proper regulation of Malassezia, allowing the yeast to grow freely.
3. Those Who Have Used of Antibiotics
Healthy individuals with traditional acne are often treated with a course of oral or topical antibiotics, which work to reduce inflammation while regulating P. acnes bacteria on the skin. However, antibiotics may alter the skin flora, allowing Malassezia yeasts to grow unchecked. On top of that, people with traditional acne tend to produce more oil in their sebaceous glands. More oil means more food for the fungi, which encourages their growth and results in more bumps.
4. Those Who Have Used Birth Control
Hormonal birth control has a combination of estrogen and progestin. Taking these hormones can disrupt the bodys natural hormonal balance and can help yeast to grow.
5. Menopausal Women
Fungal Acne Is A Thing And You Could Have It
- Although fungal acne has come onto the scene as a relatively new discussion, its not a new condition.
- Fungal acne looks a lot like hormonal acne or bacterial acne, but the culprit isnt the same as other types of acne. Instead, it is an overgrowth of yeast that hangs around in the hair follicles.
- Researchers have observed fungal acne crop up after events that compromise the immune system, such as certain illnesses, transplants, etc. among other causes. Or, fungal acne can occur without a major event that weakens the immune system.
- Heres how to identify fungal acne, and what to do about it.
If you have breakouts that wont budge, no matter what treatments you try, you could be dealing with fungal acne. Although the term fungal acne might be new to you, its not a new condition. In fact, its not even really acne. Thats why you can put all the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid you want on fungal acne, and it wont disappear. Heres what you need to know about fungal acne, including what it looks like and how to treat it, so you can figure out once and for all what kind of acne youre dealing with and get back to clear, radiant skin.
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So How Do I Get Rid Of My Fungal Acne
The secret is to restore the balance between yeast and bacteria on your skin.
If youre dealing with breakouts more broadly, check out our tips for preventing breakouts on your face here.
Thats everything you need to know when it comes to fungal acne. Class dismissed!
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Shilpa is a freelance beauty and lifestyle writer from Melbourne, Australia. You can keep up with her adventures over at and check out her latest articles here.