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Fungal Acne Is A Real Thing With Real Solutions: A Guide To Defeating It

We all know about facial acne. You probably had it when you were a teenager and you might still be experiencing it as a young adult. But what of body acne? Perhaps you are getting some pimples here and there and you are wondering why that is. Or maybe you are breaking out more severely in a concentrated area and are desperately seeking a solution. Whatever your problem is, we have devised this guide to help you cope with it.

Fungal acne can be caused by sweating especially if you are staying on under a moist and warm environment.

One possible explanation of pimples on your back and chest area is fungal acne. Don’t worry, it is not as bad as it seems, but certain steps must be taken to cure it successfully. The solutions are fairly simple, and quite logical, but it takes some reflection to pinpoint the exact sources of the problem in your own life. We want to help you do just that.

The Essence Of Fungal Acne

Fungal acne is a nickname for something much more complex that goes by the name of Malassezia folliculitis. Too complicated? Then you can also call it Pityrosporum folliculitis. Jokes aside, fungal acne is typically caused by a yeast1 of the fungal variety which develops in the place from which your hairs grow. As with most bodily fungi, this development turns into a quite unpleasant sensation for those that are afflicted. When this happens, you usually end up feeling itchy, uncomfortable, and irritated, with your skin turning red and bumpy. The result is something that looks an awful lot like acne.

Indeed, fungal acne looks like acne yet it is not exactly acne2. It is actually an inflammation of the follicle in which it manifests, and it may also not look like regular pimples. First of all, fungal ‘acne’ is really uncomfortable and itchy, which is not really the case with regular breakouts. This, alone, should give you the hint that it is a rash-like infection, rather than a normal zit breakout. Secondly, you will rarely find fungal acne on your face, as you would with the normal kind. Rather, it is usually found on more ‘active’ parts of your body3, such as your back. It also tends to concretely appear in areas where your clothes become particularly tight and create friction with your skin. The pimples themselves are usually very small and sport a whitehead.

The relatively good news is that we all have this sort of fungus4 on our body. The problem only occurs when a suitable environment is provided for the fungus to thrive and develop further5. For instance, when your body is warm and moist, such as after a workout or during a visit to the beach, you may get this sort of infection which shows up as tiny pimples. Funnily enough, if other people around you are physically providing a suitable environment for this kind of fungus, you may get it from them, as well. After all, fungus is a type of yeast, which is a substance that spread from person to person. This does mean that your fungal acne may not be due to problems you have caused for yourself. Nevertheless, you can get rid of it only by changing some of your daily routines and clearing it up for yourself.

What Can You Do About It?

It becomes obvious that the main step you can take, which is also the easiest, is to just wash yourself better than usual. You can even be advised to use an anti-dandruff shampoo6 such as the Selsun Blue kind, which you can spread onto the affected area, allowing it to soak in for a few moments, and thoroughly removing it afterwards.

There are also medications which can speed up the recovery process, while things like topical sulfur can really begin7 to diminish the symptoms. The edible medications are usually suggested in order to specifically target the infection from the inside. There are even certain tricks, like exercising the day after ingesting the medicine, in order for the body to efficiently sweat the drug into the follicle system.

The Verdict On Fungal Acne

The important thing to remember is that while it sounds quite disturbing, what we dub as fungal acne is actually one of the more innocent and easy-to-shake-off kinds of breakouts. Pretty much all you have to do is try to maintain better hygiene and wash up well every time you sense that you’ve been active and sweaty. Wash your clothing, and especially your gym attire, as regularly as possible. Opt for a salicylic acid-based douche gel and look for exfoliating wet wipes that you can take with you on the go. Also, try to stay clear of people who seem to not invest as much effort into their hygiene or who appear to be suffering from fungal acne. Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut ties with them forever – just avoid hugging them for a while. Speedy recovery!


  1. Thayyikkanu A.B., Kindo A.J., Veeraraghavan M. Malassezia—Can it be ignored?. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2015;60(4):332-339.
  2. Rubenstein R.M., Malerich S.A. Malassezia (Pityrosporum) Folliculitis. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2014;7(3):37-41.
  3. Prohic A., Simic D., Sadikovic T.J., Krupalija-Fazlic M. Distribution of Malassezia species on healthy human skin in Bosnia and Herzegovina: correlation with body part, age and gender. Iranian Journal of Microbiology. 2014;6(4):253-262.
  4. Saunders C.W., Scheynius A., Heitman J. Malassezia fungi are specialized to live on skin and associated with dandruff, eczema, and other skin diseases. PLOS Pathogens. 2012;8(6):e1002701.
  5. Coleman J., Johnson S.M. The importance of recognizing yeast acne Malassezia versus Priopionibacterium. Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society. 2017;113(7):164-165.
  6. Bulmer A.C., Bulmer G.S. The antifungal action of dandruff shampoos. Mycopathologia. 1999;147(2):63-65.
  7. Gupta A.K., Nicol K. The use of sulfur in dermatology. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2004;3(4):427-431.
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