Is Fungal Acne a Real thing?

By Dr Chytra Anand, Celebrity Dermatologist & Beauty Guru, Popularly Known as Dr Fix it!

There is nothing called as fungal acne. It is more of a social media terminology than an accepted medical terminology. When people describe fungal acne, what they’re talking about is breakouts which are itchy and acne-like eruptions that happen within hair follicles. These are caused by a yeast known as Malassezia Folliculitis of Pityrosporum Folliculitis. It is an infection of the hair follicle which people think of as acne breakout. Malassezia yeast lives on everybody’s skin, but when there is a change in the skin pH or increase in the heat or the weather gets humid, or when we get sweaty, and immunity becomes low, the Yeast tends to increase and leads to inflammation. Fungal acne looks like pus bumps on the skin. It affects the body area rather than the face. A point to note and watch out for is this condition can be contagious in close encounters because the yeast tends to spread. So, Dr Chytra Anand, Celebrity Dermatologist and Beauty Guru, gives you detailed information about fungal acne.

How to differentiate acne from fungal acne?

Fungal acne looks very similar to your regular bacterial acne. Still, there will be more of this on the body area, especially on the chest and back in areas where one is wearing occlusive clothing, and it is also intensely itchy in nature. Acne’s regular type is inflammatory and tends to affect the face more and is caused due to the increased of oil production or excessive bacterial growth or hormone changes, or clogging of the pores.

How does fungal acne look?

Fungal acne is tiny dots that can be pus-filled. They look more like whiteheads but very small, and a vast number of them are clustered in areas like the chest and the back.

How is fungal acne treated?

Fungal acne is treated with antifungal medications. In mild cases, your dermatologist will prescribe a fungal body wash or an antifungal shampoo to be used as a body wash and to be left on the body for 3 to 5 minutes daily. If this does not settle, then oral antifungal medications will be prescribed. It is suggested to work out 24 hours after taking oral antifungal medicine because when they sweat, the oral medications are secreted in the sweat, which will then coat the entire hair follicle, making this a more effective therapy. Also, it is better to keep the body areas dry and use clothing that allows the skin to breathe when they have fungal acne.

How to avoid fungal acne?

  • It is hard to prevent fungal acne from happening because the fungus lives on everybody’s skin. But keeping a few points in mind can help prevent constant recurrences.
  • Keep your skin dry.
  • Immediately after the workout, take off sweaty clothes.
  • Shower with a salicylic acid cleanser or an exfoliating cleanser with glycolic acid or lactic acid to help exfoliate and keep the skin smooth.
  • If you are prone to fungal Acne, use your anti-dandruff shampoo as a shower gel once to twice a week as a preventive measure.
  • Increase Probiotics in your diet: Have more buttermilk or yoghurt or take Lactobacillus supplements that can help increase your immunity.
  • Drink enough fluids to flush out the toxins from your body.
  • Avoid occlusive products like petroleum jelly or heavy oils on areas that are prone to fungal acne.
  • If you’re having recurrent breakouts, see your Dermatologist and clear it with a prescription.