Sative Magazine

My Acne Won't Go Away

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For many people, any deviation from clear skin means it's time for a treatment plan, especially when it comes to acne. Those inflamed bumps may be frustrating to manage, but what if you have tried most of the acne treatments products but to no avail. Nothing seems to be working.


Sometimes, what you think is acne, might be something entirely different. There's a condition that can look weirdly similar to what we think of as "regular acne" (whiteheads, blackheads and red bumps). But is the result of an overgrowth of yeast in your hair follicles. It's better known as Fungal acne. And, sorry, your typical acne products won't get rid of this stuff.


Fungal acne is a misnomer. Fungal acne has nothing to do with fungus, nor is it acne. Medically it's known as Pityrosorum Folliculitis. It is an infection of the tiny hair follicles on the face or body. Leading to papules, small raised solid bumps resembling pimples.


Fungal acne is not hard to treat. The challenge can be in the fact that fungal acne can look the same as regular acne.

What causes Fungal Acne?

Regular acne is caused by clogged pores, while the source of the clogging can vary between people who have it (hormones, skincare products, diet, medication and stress). The acne itself is the same.


Fungal acne is a result of a yeast called Malassezia. It's natural for Malassezia to be living on your skin. Trouble comes when there's an overgrowth of it. That is when the infection of hair follicles develops, and acne-like symptoms show up.


One sign your acne is "fungal" and not the regular variety is if it's itchy, likely from an immune response to the presence of the yeast in your pores. 

Fungal acne can be persistent, worsen with sweating, and flare in hot and humid temperatures. Your dermatologist will be able to diagnose this condition by its appearance, clinical symptoms and the lack of improvement with traditional acne medications. Skin scraping for yeast can be performed to confirm the diagnosis, if needed.


What does fungal acne look like?

These breakouts tend to be small, uniform red bumps arising from the hair follicles, often in symmetric rows on the forehead, scattered on cheeks and, occasionally, on the upper back and upper chest. Fungal acne differs from traditional acne in that you won’t see the blackheads, pustules or deeper, painful nodules and cysts.


How do you treat Fungal Acne?

Treating fungal acne requires targeting the overgrowth of yeast on your skin. Like any other annoying skin issue, it's hard to set a timeline for how long fungal acne can last. 


But, the right treatments can dramatically cut down on the recovery time. When you treat the condition with anti-fungal washes and creams, you'll begin to see improvements in about two to four weeks.


You can also use dandruff shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide. Rinse your skin several times a week with these dandruff shampoos while you're having a breakout.

How To Avoid Fungal Triggers

Since the yeast that causes fungal acne lives naturally around your hair follicles, there is only so much you can do to prevent it.


I suggest washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser like our Goat Milk + Turmeric soap to remove oil, dirt and other build-ups on the skin. Also, apply a lightweight moisturiser like our Brightening Daily Moisturiser Cream, morning and night, to reinforce your protective skin barrier.


Since everyone has Malassezia yeast on their skin, you can't get rid of it completely. Instead, your goal is to find a routine that helps you keep the yeast in check.


Some of these strategies may be beneficial in taming an overgrowth of Malassezia:

  • Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing for long periods.
  • Shower and change into clean clothes after a workout or any activity that causes sweating.
  • Use anti-fungal shampoo a few times per week as a body wash to prevent breakouts.
  • Consider using anti-acne products and exfoliating body washes as well. Yeast feeds on oily skin and may grow more if not properly managed.


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1 comment

Hello 👋🏽!

Absolutely love the article. Now that I think about it, I think I have had or have fungal acne 🥲! Out of the blue I started having pimples on my right chick one after the other around the same spot and gets itchy after heat interaction, even my whole body. And also just realising I get a lot dandruff especially after I cut my hair. Definitely going to be using the recommendation because it’s no fun at all. I have tried a cream from my doctor not even sure if it works but will give the recommendations a try especially the shampoo. Chile, thank you!


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