Fungal Acne: What It Is And Why It’s More Common In Summer

Fungal Acne: What It Is And Why It’s More Common In Summer

When it comes to persistent acne or breakouts, half the battle is identifying the correct type. Since fungal acne looks a lot like regular acne, distinguishing between the two can often be hard if you don’t know what to look out for. 

So to save you the pain of taking a stab in the dark when it comes to diagnosing and treating your next breakout, we’ve collated a complete guide to identifying, treating and preventing one the most common conditions: fungal acne. 

What is fungal acne?

Confusingly, fungal acne has nothing to do with fungus (or even really acne). It’s actually an infection of the hair molecule on the face and body that leads to small bumps. 

Typically, fungal acne appears as red spots or small blackheads and whiteheads (about one millimeter in circumference) across the chest, back, upper arms, and occasionally on the face. In contrast to regular acne, fungal acne can often feel itchy.

What causes fungal acne?

Humidity and warmer weather: This form of acne is usually more prevalent in countries with warmer climates, such as Southeast Asia. Why? When we sweat excessively or overheat, the yeast responsible for causing fungal acne thrives and grows.

Skin to skin contact: As yeast can spread from body to body, it has been suspected that fungal acne may in fact be contagious if you’ve come into contact with someone else who has it. 

Prolonged periods in tight clothing: We’ve all been there. After a yoga or exercise class, it’s not uncommon to go straight into running errands without changing out of your tight leggings or sports bra. But, unfortunately, this might run you into some hot water as far as fungal acne is concerned. Sweaty or clingy clothes, particularly in warm weather can be a sure-fire way to trigger an outbreak of fungal acne. It’s recommended to stay in loose clothes made from organic fabrics.

How can you treat it?

In the same way that fungal acne is easy to contract, it’s also easy to treat.

Apply an anti-dandruff shampoo: To your body, yes. In a recent interview with Allure, dermatologist Joshua Zeichner explained that zinc pyrithione, the main ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos, should be applied all over the body, left to sit (for as long as it takes to sing the alphabet), and then rinsed off. 

We recommend: KMS HEADREMEDY Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $31.95 at Active Skin

Oral medication: Oral antifungals work by penetrating our sweat glands, moving into our hair follicles, and making their way onto our skin. This can often provide a necessary and effective treatment for persistent fungal acne. 

How to prevent it?

Introduce BHAs: BHAs, such as salicylic acid, fight acne-causing bacteria and unclog pores, allowing them to reduce oil production and minimise the risk of breakouts.

We recommend: CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, $13.36 at Chemist Warehouse 

Exfoliate: Exfoliating regularly will free clogged pores and remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil that contribute to acne growth. 

We recommend: Sukin Naturals Renewing Body Scrub – Green Tea and Jojoba, $14.95 at Chemist Warehouse

Have you ever experienced fungal acne? If so, how did you go about curing it?

Have you tried any of the products mentioned?

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Comments 22

  1. What a good article – I don’t think i have experienced it in the past but the weather in NZ has being very humid so far this year so one to look out for – Thank You

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