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Fungal Acne Causes & Remedies to Keep it Under Control

August 14, 2018 | By Lorena Jiménez
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Acne is a skin condition affecting a big chunk of the population and even though it is mostly present in younger crowds, there is no age limit to stop suffering from it. Not only many people are affected by it, but acne also has many different triggers.

From hormonal unbalance, to an excessive oil production, stress, bacteria, lifestyle habits among others can be the main cause of acne. Types of acne and causes can be very different, but today we are going to talk about one specific type of acne that is very feared among acne sufferers, fungal acne.



Fungal acne might sound like a very scary thing, with such a strong implication attached to its name and in fact it might be one of the most difficult acnes to deal with. Not so much because it is difficult to treat, but mainly because it is difficult to identify, and might get many times confused with bacterial acne. That is why today we will be talking all about fungal acne causes, treatments and how to identify it.
What is Fungal Acne?
‘Fungal acne’ is in fact a skin condition that looks a lot like acne, but it is not acne itself. Acne is generally an inflammation of the sebaceous glands or hair follicles caused by bacteria, while fungal acne is due to an infection, to be more specific, an infection of the hair follicle, produced by Fungus Pityrosporum. I am guessing you can already see where the name is coming from and if so, you are indeed correct.

Fungus Pityrosporum is a type of yeast that is naturally present on the skin. Yet while we all have it, we do not all suffer from this skin condition, due to the fact that it is not the presence of this yeast the one that causes the acne itself, but the exponential increase of its levels that then proceed then to infect the hair follicles.

We can safely say then that fungal acne causes lay on the disturbance of the skin´s yeast levels, causing then this condition, also known as pityrosporum or malassezia folliculitis. A skin condition named after its main causing agent, Fungus Pityrosporum also known under the name of malassezia. This type of yeast is present on the skin, but develops even quicker in areas with a high concentration of sebaceous glands, being sebum one of the main feeding agents of this type of fungi. Which is the reason why fungal acne causes more bumps and appears often in oilier areas such as T zone, scalp or areas of the upper body that might be prone to sweat and wear occlusive clothing.
Main Fungal Acne Causes?
There are many causes that can trigger fungal acne, since in fact this condition can appear the moment the yeast levels are disrupted causing the imbalance that might then later on develop in this skin infection. As we mentioned this type of fungi feeds of fatty acids, so any situation where the disrupted levels of malassezia are exposed to excessive amounts of sebum, oil derivatives or dirt as well as heat and humidity, like most other types of yeast, it will subsequently grow.

Without further due, these are some of the biggest factors that can cause fungal acne:
  • Hot and humid temperatures, specially sudden ones to which your skin might not be used to
  • Excessive sweat specially if wearing occlusive clothing, specially if not properly cleansed
  • Stress, fatigue, overuse of antibiotics or certain medicines for extended periods of time, anything that will weaken your immune system, including certain illnesses
  • Excessive oil on the skin, oil that could be naturally produced or coming from the use of products that might be too greasy or occlusive on our skin
  • Disruption of the Skins ph levels


It is important to know that even when some of these factors are of course things that might happen every day and you might not be able to avoid. That does not mean you will get fungal acne from them, it just means there are certain causes that potentially influence its development if the yeast levels on the skin are disrupted, making skin more prone to suffer from this disease. So it is important to keep the skin clean, balanced and allow it to work properly or provide the correct treatment in order to prevent or treat these types of conditions.
How to Treat Fungal Ance?
The key factor in treating this condition, is to first be able to identify it properly, which might possibly be one of the most difficult tasks. Fungal acne many times is confused or misdiagnosed even by physicians, as regular acne. A wrong diagnosis can really worsen fungal acne, since if we treat Fungal Acne with the ingredients or even antibiotics used for bacterial acne, the symptoms will most likely worsen.

Once we have the proper diagnosis the path will get much easier. The correct treatment will heal some of the symptoms quite fast, but it is important to know that while antifungals prescribed by a dermatologist will improve this skin condition, its use is meant to be a short term solution to help you control the infection. Once the skin is back to normal your best bet is to find a good skin care regime that will prevent these type of infections from occurring again.

Prevention is always better than cure and for that I am going to give you some pointers in what kind of skincare routine and products you should follow, to keep your skin healthy and safe from this condition:

1. Cleansing and toning: As you probably know after reading this article, cleansing well the skin to get rid of excess dirt and sebum is a very important step to prevent the yeast from growing excessively. At the same time it is important to keep the skin protected and cause the least irritation possible to not disturb its PH levels. For that make sure to use a low PH cleanser and a balancing and hydrating, but light toner, like [KLAIRS] Supple Preparation Unscented Toner since the fungi that causes this skin condition tends to survive better in more alkaline PH levels. From this step take out that if your skin might be at risk of developing fungal acne, you should cleanse well, but balance the skin back even better.

2. Treating and hydrating: Either through a prescribed treatment OR the help of cosmetic products, such as certain chemical exfoliants, you can keep this condition at bay, by controlling and regulating the sebum production and getting rid of the dead skin cells, while hydrating and replenishing the skin at the same time. You can use products like [KLAIRS] Midnight Calming Sheet Mask among products containing a safe amount of AHA or BHA to help on this step. Keeping in mind the importance of PH and skin balance in this specific condition, the treatment should not be harsh on the skin and the hydration should be provided without any excessive occlusion or oiliness, preferably with completely oil free products, to not further feed the main source of the problem. In terms of prevention fresh and light products such as [KLAIRS] Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop and [BY WISHTREND] Vitamin 75 Maximizing Cream, will be great to incorporate to your routine.
Well, I am sure that I was a lot to go through, but as I always say information is a key factor to be able to go resolve the problem. So if this type of condition ever comes around, we hope not, you will be able to attack the source of the problem to get your skin back to health in no time.
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