No matter what the society tells you, having an acne breakout is pretty common – and not only in the teen years. They are not the end of the world and disappear soon enough with the right treatment. However, sometimes camouflaged within your usual zits there can be something else which does not budge so easily – fungal acne.
Fungal acne looks a lot like the general bacterial acne, but is caused by an overgrowth of yeast present in your skin. They inflame the hair follicles and cause tiny, acne-like, puss-filled eruptions, mostly in the oily regions of your body – back, chest, and T-zone (forehead, nose and chin).
Why does fungal acne happen?
It is common for yeast, which is a fungus, to exist on human skin. But sometimes they get a spurt of reproduction and can lead to fungal acne, technically known as pityrosporum folliculitis or malassezia folliculitis. There can be a number of reasons behind the overgrowth of yeast and incidental breakout of fungal acne on your skin.
- Excessive sweating – Yeasts basically love moisture and warmth. So your skin becomes an ideal breeding ground for them under humid weather or if you wear sweaty gym clothes for too long.
- Everyday diet – If you are already prone to excess oil and sebum production and have a lot of sugar and carbs in your diet, your chances of getting fungal acne are higher.
- Taking antibiotics – When your bacterial count goes down due to a dose of antibiotics, there is nothing to keep fungal growth in check by balancing it out.
- Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions, like HIV, diabetes, some other chronic, and autoimmune diseases can also be a reason behind frequent fungal acne growth.
How can you prevent or treat fungal acne?
Fungal acne does not go away with the treatment of regular acnes. They can be hard to differentiate, but fungal ones are accompanied by inflammation and itching redness, unlike in usual cases. Here are some of the ways you can prevent or treat fungal acne:
1. Wear light, breathable clothing – Body-tight clothing or non-airy materials like synthetic, latex or polyester prevent the skin from breathing and keeping dry. Switch to cool and comfortable cotton or linen clothing if you have a tendency of fungal acne.
2. Exfoliate your skin regularly – Exfoliation on a fairly regular basis will keep your skin pores clear and open, not letting oil settle in them. Since yeasts feast on oil traps and body sebum, this will help you steer clear of yeast overgrowth.
3. Tropical treatment – Using over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo on your body can often work of a home treatment. Many dermatologists suggest Selsun Blue, marketed as an anti-dandruff shampoo with active ingredients of pyrithione zinc or selenium sulfide. The trick is to let the product rest on your body for five minutes before rinsing it off. Anti-fungal foot creams with elements like ketoconazole or econozole nitrate used to treat athlete’s foot can also work.
If none of these actions work, it is best to consult a dermatologist. They will run a simple sample test to diagnose if you have fungal acne and will prescribe your medication accordingly. If you are in doubt and do not want to mess with your breakouts, you can see the doctor straight away.