How To Get Rid Of Fungal Acne?

fungal acne on face

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    Have you ever experienced acne that wouldn’t mitigate, no matter what anti-acne treatment you use? If yes, it must be fungal acne, which differs from the most common acne vulgaris. Fungal acne usually affects your face, back and shoulders.

    Since fungal acne differs from acne vulgaris, it doesn’t respond to anti-acne treatment. However, some treatments are tailor-made for fungal acne. This article discusses fungal acne, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

    What is Fungal Acne?

    It’s a type of acne caused due to yeast overgrowth in the skin’s hair follicles. This type of acne is commonly known as malassezia folliculitis or pityrosporum folliculitis. Due to breakouts caused by fungal acne, skin can become irritated and itchy, and many find it stressful.

    What does Fungal Acne Look Like?

    At first glance, it resembles typical acne; however, the spots are red bumps (papules) or pustules (white heads), often between 1-2 mm. Moreover, they come in waves and itch more than typical acne.

    It occurs mainly on the upper chest, forehead, frontal hairline, and face temples.

    Fungal Acne vs Acne Vulgaris

    The differences between fungal acne and acne vulgaris are:

    Fungal Acne

    Acne Vulgaris

    Caused due to yeast overgrowth

    Caused due to clogged pores

    Causes skin itching

    No itching

    Not treatable with antibiotics

    Treatable with antibiotics

    Occurs on the chest, forehead and back

    Face, chest and neck


    We must remember acne vulgaris and fungal acne are two distinct conditions and that treatments vary. So, continued anti-acne treatments for fungal acne may worsen the condition.

    Causes of Fungal Acne

    Yeast and bacteria are present in our skin in balanced amounts. When there is a yeast imbalance, it causes fungal acne. This overgrown yeast infects hair follicles in the skin and causes acne that is itchy and clustered.

    Various conditions that may disturb fungal natural balance are:

    • Medicines: Medicines like antibiotics may reduce the bacteria in your skin but triggers fungal overgrowth, leading to fungal acne.
    • Trapped moisture: Prolonged use of sweaty clothes without washing them promotes yeast growth. Sweaty, unwashed clothes may carry a fungus that causes fungal acne.
    • Weakened immune system: The likelihood of developing fungal acne may be higher in people with weakened immune systems.
    • Tight clothes: Wearing unbreathable clothing frequently might lead to increased sweating and wetness, which encourages the yeast to develop quick

    Symptoms of Fungal Acne

    As it is confusing to differentiate between fungal acne and acne vulgaris, it’s best to understand how to distinguish between them.

    Here’s how to identify whether you have fungal acne:

    • Itching: It’s the most common symptom.
    • Size: Fungal acne typically results in pus-filled pimples similar to bacterial acne.
    • Clusters: It’s a group of tiny whiteheads on the skin.
    • Location: Fungal acne often occurs on the arms, back and chest.

    Additionally, fungal acne may lead to dandruff and psoriasis.

    When to Visit a Dermatologist?

    Consult a dermatologist if you’ve tried home remedies for your suspected fungal acne or the outbreak lasts longer than 3 weeks. Topical treatments may not be as effective in curing the illness as prescription antifungal drugs. And if the symptoms come back soon after you believe they have gone away, think about scheduling another consultation with the dermatologist.

    Home Remedies for Fungal Acne

    Fungal acne is very annoying to deal with—thankfully, you can try a few home remedies:

    1. Turmeric: Put a thick layer of raw turmeric paste to treat the fungus. For added advantages, mix it with some milk or honey. Milk may help remove dirt and unclog pores, while honey has antimicrobial properties.
    2. Black pepper: Black pepper is generally used in food and medication for its potency.  You can mix honey and black pepper powder and apply the paste to the affected areas.
    1. Ginger: Ginger is a multipurpose herb used in Indian cooking, and is effective for everything—even treating skin fungus infections and colds. Its widespread use in cosmetics, oral hygiene products, and cutting-edge antifungal medications results from its ability to prevent fungal development.
    1. Guava leaves: Guava leaves offer diverse medicinal uses, and applying its paste to your skin can prevent fungus infections. Those with weakened immune systems benefit from its immunity-boosting properties, which help them better combat fungus infections.
    1. Avocado leaves: Superfood avocado and its leaves are utilised in various antifungal medications. To treat facial fungal acne, apply a paste made from avocado fruit and leaves.


    The efficacy of these home remedies is not scientifically proven and all evidence is anecdotal. Please remember that every individual’s skin type is different and thus, the impact of any treatment also varies. We strictly recommend that you visit a qualified dermatologist and get a consultation before trying out any home remedies as it may worsen your skin condition.

    Treatment Options Available for Fungal Acne

    Body wash: Dandruff shampoos with ingredients like pyrithione zinc and selenium sulphide can be used as a body wash to treat fungal acne on the chest and back. You can use it multiple times a week while suffering from a fungal acne breakout.

    Seeing a dermatologist: It is highly recommended to consult a dermatologist if the fungal acne doesn’t disappear. Consulting a dermatologist will help combat this acne with medication and prevent future breakouts.

    OTC antifungal treatments: Many OTC antifungal creams and ointments are available for fungal acne. Look for items that contain butenafine, clotrimazole, or ketoconazole.

    Must Read: Acne Treatment

    Prevention Tips for Fungal Acne

    Even though one cannot entirely avoid fungal acne, the following tips may lessen the likelihood of recurrent infections:

    • Airflow is made possible by breathable materials, which can lessen the warm, wet conditions that favour fungus Consider wearing similar clothing.
    • Use a dandruff shampoo frequently. This daily rinse might support preserving a balanced yeast population on your skin. You can reduce how frequently you use the shampoo as a body washes to as little as once per week once the breakout has cleared up.
    • After a sweaty workout or a long day at work, a simple rinse can help minimise yeast growth problems.

    The best way to treat fungal acne is by understanding its symptoms and seeking advice from a trusted dermatologist.


    We trust that you now understand that fungal acne, an infection in the hair follicles, is different from common acne and requires specialised care and treatments. We strictly advise you to see a qualified dermatologist in case you notice clusters of small, red bumps that can be itchy. Timely intervention is necessary.
    Book your appointment now!

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    About The Author

    Kushneet Kukreja

    Kushneet Kukreja

    A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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