What Is Fungal Acne Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What Is Fungal Acne Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
20 Jan 2023
5 mins
Table Of Content
What Is Fungal Acne Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

    What is Fungal Acne?


    Fungal acne, also known as Malassezia folliculitis, is a type of infection that occurs in hair follicles. Fungal acne is usually confused with common acne called acne vulgaris. Fungal acne often leads to small red bumps on the skin that causes itching. It also causes whiteheads on the skin. Fungal acne and common acne are different, and hence the treatment approach required to treat them also differs. 


    In this blog, we will learn more about fungal acne, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

    What are the symptoms of fungal acne?


    The following symptoms are an indication of fungal acne,


    • A sudden breakout of pimples that are small and may resemble a rash
    • A cluster of small bumps that are similar in appearance and size
    • Pus filled bumps
    • Itching
    • Small white head clusters

    What causes fungal acne?


    Fungal acne is caused when Malassezia yeast gets inside the hair follicle that is damaged or blocked. Skin damage is likely to happen when the skin is damp and hot. The skin can get hot while working out or, in the case of living in humid, hot, and dry regions. Follicle damage leading to fungal infection may also occur if there is excessive skin-to-skin rubbing, or damage due to shaving, waxing, tweezing, or plucking. Medications like antibiotics can also cause fungal acne. This is because the skin houses both bacteria and fungi. Upon taking antibiotics, the good bacteria reduce, which eventually leads to the overgrowth of the fungus responsible for causing fungal acne. A weakened immune system is also responsible for fungal acne. 

    Treatment of fungal acne


    Most people confuse fungal acne with common acne and treat it using products for common acne. However, these treatments show no results or, in turn, worsen the condition. Hence, it is important to diagnose fungal acne and treat it accordingly properly. 


    The various treatment approaches used for fungal acne include the following, 


    • Over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal treatments like creams, face washes, lotions, etc., contain ingredients like ketoconazole, clotrimazole, or butenafine.
    • Oral antifungal medications containing fluconazole or itraconazole that work by targeting the damaged hair follicles to get rid of the fungus.
    • Using anti-dandruff shampoos and antifungal body washes while bathing.
    • Bathing regularly to get rid of excessive sweat, especially after exercising.
    • Wearing loose-fitting clothes made out of breathable materials like cotton.

    When should you seek medical help if you have fungal acne?


    It is important to seek medical help if the fungal acne fails to respond to at-home treatment and if the breakout is persistent and lasts for longer than 3-4 weeks. In such cases, a dermatologist will prescribe stronger antifungal medications that will help in easing the symptoms and eliminate the fungus eventually. 



    Fungal acne is common. However, it is important to know the difference between fungal, bacterial, and common acne to treat it properly. Although fungal acne may resemble common acne, they vary. Since prevention is better than cure, it is better to follow preventive measures like taking regular showers, using antifungal products, wearing loose, breathable clothes, eating healthily, and hydrating enough.

    Written by
    Arwa. Aliakber Medical Content Writer
    AboutB. Pharm
    Tags :Fungal acneFungal acne causesFungal acne symptomsFungal acne treatmentAntifungal medications